Targeting vaccine toward ages most at risk has paid off

Personally, I find the geographical disparity in the percentage of the population vaccinated at the feet of former President Trump who continues to discourage vaccination even tho he was both ill, and later vaccinated. It’s absurd that this health issue was made partisan so that the facts are being ignored by many of those who are declining the shots.

The Health 202: Vaccinating people by age worked, from the Washington Post

 By Paige Winfield Cunningham
with Alexandra Ellerbeck

It’s clear President Biden will fall short of his goal of getting 70 percent of American adults vaccinated by Independence Day, now just six days away.

But the nation’s coronavirus death toll is still plummeting despite the slower-than-hoped-for vaccinations. And the White House argues that prioritizing the shots based on age  the basic strategy taken by most states, with some exceptions  was the right one.

“It’s clear from the numbers this strategy has worked,” Jeffrey Zients, head of the White House coronavirus task force, said during a briefing last week where he conceded the original targets wouldn’t be met and laid out some revised goal posts. “Looking at Americans 65 and older, we have 87 percent with at least one shot.”

“We are entering a summer of joy, a summer of freedom,” Zients added.An injection of the Pfizer vaccine at a hospital in Providence, R.I. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)An injection of the Pfizer vaccine at a hospital in Providence, R.I. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)Forty-six percent of Americans have been fully vaccinated

Add in the 33 million people who have tested positive for the virus, and around 56 percent of the country may be immune from it. 

That’s still below the 60 to 80 percent needed to reach “herd immunity,” the point at which enough people are immune that the virus no longer spreads. And daily administration of vaccines has been steadily declining over the past two months, to the point that fewer than 800,000 people are now getting a shot every day.

But, as White House officials noted, the people who most needed the vaccines have largely received them. That includes people in older age categories, who have higher immunization rates than younger people.

The White House said that for those 27 and older, it still expects to meet its July Fourth goal of 70 percent with at least one shot. And although officials are strongly encouraging younger people to get the vaccines, this group has far less risk of serious illness from the coronavirus; 0.5 percent of covid-19 deaths in the United States have been among people younger than 30, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That’s a big reason deaths have fallen so sharply.Deaths from the coronavirus have been hovering around 300 per day, levels not seen since March 2020, when the disease was first starting to take off in the United States. 
Cases are also way down:
There are vaccination disparities beyond just age.

Sixteen states plus D.C. have met Biden’s 70 percent target, officials have stressed. Not surprisingly, they’re mostly along the coasts.

But other states have a long way to go. According to The Post’s vaccine tracker, 15 states won’t reach that target until 2022 given their current vaccination rates. North Dakota, Louisiana and Mississippi aren’t on track to get 70 percent of adults vaccinated until a year from now.

County-level data: 

There are also racial disparities in who is getting vaccinated.

Ahh, oof and ouchAHH: The FDA is under pressure to grant full approval to coronavirus vaccines.

Although the safety of the coronavirus vaccines has been established through rigorous testing and reams of real-world data, the vaccines are still only authorized for emergency use rather than a full, permanent approval. Some experts say full approval would combat vaccine hesitancy and make it easier for workplaces to require shots.

A Kaiser Family Foundation poll from May found that nearly one-third of unvaccinated Americans said they would be more likely to get a shot if it were granted full approval. 

“Some unvaccinated people view the current emergency use authorizations for the vaccines as an indicator they are still experimental and not fully tested, despite the rigorous process that went into those authorizations,” the Hill’s Peter Sullivan writes.

More than 300 million doses of the mRNA vaccines have been administered in the United States with an impressive safety record.

Pfizer submitted the data for full approval of its vaccine on May 7. Moderna followed suit on June 1. 

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