Each weekday morning I get an email from the Poynter Institute, a non-profit journalism school and research organization located in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The email, from Al Tompkins, a senior faculty member at Poynter, contains information about topics that could or should lead to stories about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
On Thursday morning, the lead item of that email had this headline:
“Within a month, the US will run out of people who want a COVID-19 vaccination.”
My immediate reaction to that headline can be summed up in one word.
Since the COVID-19 vaccines first started becoming available late last year, demand for them has been far greater than the supply.
Pennsylvania, from the start, was among the states most challenged by the distribution process.
Many people here were deeply frustrated by the lack of available appointments. After I wrote a column about my wife and I getting our vaccines in February, I spoke to some readers older than we are who were very angry — one was in tears — over their troubles getting their first shot. They wanted to know how they could get their turn.
The Poynter posting went on to give details of a recent Kaiser Family Foundation study which, among other things, said we are shifting away from the logistics of where and how to get a vaccine toward “why you should get one.”
We always knew there were going to be those who would refuse to get the vaccine. Some people oppose vaccines in general, and these COVID-19 vaccines, developed more rapidly than others, were always going to be a hard, if not impossible sell for them.
It’s beginning to look like we underestimated how large that group would be.
The latest data from the CDC shows that as of April 19, almost 131 million adults (or 50.7% of all adults), had received at least one vaccine dose. The Kaiser report says about 27 million Americans are still “somewhat enthusiastic” about getting a vaccine.
But even if most or all of those end up going for it, the report said, we’d be talking about 61 percent of Americans fully vaccinated.
The good news, I guess, is that there are still people who want a vaccine but have not yet signed up. We want to help.
On Wednesday, The Daily Item published a lengthy list of places to call to set up a vaccine appointment. That list is also available on our website. It includes phone numbers and emails. We will keep that list updated and available.
Probably the most positive news from that Kaiser report came in this paragraph from the Poynter email:
“We also know that, over time, people have moved from the “wait and see” group to the vaccine enthusiasm group, suggesting that the 61% may be a floor, not a ceiling. If about a third of the “wait and see” group moves into the enthusiasm group (comparable to what happened last month), the “outer edge” of vaccine enthusiasm would increase to 170 million people (or 66% of all adults).”
That’s good, but it would still leave us with 34 percent unvaccinated.
We need to do better.
We all want things to get back to as close to pre-pandemic normal as possible.
Getting vaccinated will be both an actual and morale-boosting shot in the arm.
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