With the penetration of Covid vaccination in the US likely to fall short of Joe Biden’s target of 70% for July 4, pandemic analysts are warning that vaccine incentives are losing steam and That “two Americas” may emerge as the aggressive Delta variant becomes the dominant strain in the US.
Efforts to increase vaccination rates have been through a variety of incentives, from free burgers to free beer, college scholarships, and even million-dollar lottery prizes. But efforts to entice people to shoot have lost their initial impact or failed to land effectively.
“It’s just not working,” Irwin Redlener, Columbia University’s Pandemic Response and Resources Initiative, he told Politico. “People don’t believe it. The incentives don’t seem to be working, whether it’s a donut, a car, or a million dollars. “
In Ohio, a program offering five adults a chance to win a million dollars increased vaccination rates by 40% for more than a week. A month later, the rate had fallen below what it was before the incentive was introduced, Politico found.
Oregon followed Ohio’s lead in prize money, but saw a less dramatic rebound. Preliminary data from a similar lottery in North Carolina, launched last week, suggests the incentive isn’t increasing vaccination rates there, either.
Public officials are sounding the alarms that the window between improved vaccination penetration and the threat of the more severe Delta variant, which accounts for about 10% of cases in the United States, is beginning to close. The Delta variant appears to be far more contagious than the original Covid-19 strain and has wreaked havoc in countries like India and the UK.
“I certainly don’t see things getting better if we don’t increase our vaccination rate,” Scott Allen, of the county health unit in Webster, Missouri, told Politico. The state has seen daily infections and hospitalizations that have nearly doubled in the past two weeks.
Overall, new Covid cases in the US have leveled off at a daily average of around 15,000 after falling as the nation’s vaccination program intensified. But the number of first-dose vaccines has dropped to 360,000 from 2 million in mid-April. A quarter of them are newly eligible 12-15 year olds.
Moreover, pandemic researchers warn that an image of “two Americas” – the vaccinated and the unvaccinated – is emerging that in many ways could reflect the political divisions of the red state and the blue state.
Only 52% of Republicans said they were partially or fully vaccinated, and 29% said they had no intention of getting vaccinated, according to a CBS News / YouGov Poll. 77% of Democrats said they were already vaccinated, and only 5% responded that they resisted the vaccine.
“I call it two Covid nations,” Peter Hotez, a vaccine researcher at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, he told BuzzFeed News.
Bette Korber, a computational biologist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, said she expected the Delta variant to become the most common variant in the United States in a few weeks. “He’s moving really fast,” Korber told Buzzfeed.
On Friday, President Biden called on Americans who have not yet received a vaccine to do so as soon as possible.
“Even though we are making incredible progress, it remains a serious and deadly threat,” Biden said in a statement from the White House, saying the Delta variant leaves unvaccinated people “even more vulnerable than they were a month ago.” .
“We are heading, God willing, to the summer of joy, the summer of freedom,” Biden said. “On July 4 we will celebrate our independence from the virus at the same time as we celebrate our nation’s independence. We want everyone to be able to do that. “
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism