As of this past week, all adults in the United States are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines. By May, President Biden has said there should be enough shots available for everyone to get immunized, according to USA Today. But that does not mean May is when every American is going to be fully vaccinated against the virus that has put our lives on hold for over a year.
It would not be possible to get a shot in the arm of every American by May — as USA Today reports, there simply are not enough vaccinators for this to happen. So, the first goal is herd immunity, which can be achieved when 70 to 90 percent of U.S. citizens are vaccinated — something that could be realized by July of this year, if about 1.59 million shots are administered each day. But remember, the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require two doses.
It’s worth noting that some experts believe no matter if herd immunity is technically reached, that doesn’t mean the virus will be non-existent, with Dr. Michael Mina, assistant professor of epidemiology at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health, telling GBH, “This isn’t going to be measles, where we actually eliminate the virus from our communities across the country.”
Still, for transmission to go down, it would obviously be highly desirable for all Americans to be vaccinated.
What hurdles to full vaccination exist
As The New York Times reports, half of all eligible Americans — so not kids — have been inoculated against COVID-19. The other half may not want to get shots, with pausing the Johnson & Johnson vaccine distribution making hard-to-reach populations, such as prisoners, difficult to reach (via CNBC).
Consider too that the potential side effect of blood clots could have scared off those who may otherwise have been ready to get vaccinated.
Of course, for every American to be vaccinated, children would need to be eligible to receive shots. New York Magazine reports with trials currently being conducted, kids age 12 and over could get immunized in the next few months.
But younger kids may not be eligible until early next year, with Dr. James Wood, pediatrician and professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine, saying, “Getting kids vaccinated all the way down to infant years is going to be a key for the whole community to be protected.”
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