US sees large drop in vaccinations for first time since February

Despite more populations being eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, there has been an 11 percent decrease in the last week.

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According to new data, the number of vaccinations delivered in the United States has dropped since February.

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The Washington Post reported even though the age and health restrictions have eased, approximately 3 million Americans are receiving their vaccinations daily, marking an 11 percent decrease in the seven-day average. Previously, the country only experienced a drop in vaccinations when severe winter weather forced vaccination sites to shut down and delayed shipping of products.

This latest regression coincides with one of three vaccinations being temporarily barred from use. The vaccine produced by Johnson and Johnson has been put on pause after a small percentage of people experienced deadly blood clots after receiving the shot. According to the Post, other contributing factors to the decline include a lowering demand for the vaccine and vaccine hesitancy.

Maryland residents receive the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine through the Anne Arundel County Department of Health at a community COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the Metropolitan United Methodist Church March 23, 2021 in Severn, Maryland. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

“This will be much more of an intense ground game where we have to focus on smaller events more tailored to address the needs and concerns of focused communities who have different sensitivities and different needs,” said Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Bluegrass State has administered 2,934,874 vaccines.

The hassle in scheduling an appointment has also deterred many from getting the vaccination. Nirav Shah, lead staff in Maine’s health department and president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, shared with the newspaper the importance of walk-in vaccination sites, free rides, and door-to-door outreach.

“What we’ve all seen in the work that we’ve done is it’s not enough for [the] vaccine to be in a state, it’s not enough for it to be at a vaccination site or at the doctor’s office,” said Shah in a press call.

Despite the nationwide average dropping, the Washington Post reported daily vaccinations are still rising in Delaware, California, Hawaii, Kentucky, and Utah, in addition to the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The sharpest decline has been in Maine, Alaska, and New Hampshire.

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The CDC reported as of Thursday, 89,245,776 people or almost 27% of the U.S. total population are fully vaccinated. Nearly half of all Americans have gotten at least one vaccine. After an initial rocky roll-out under the administration of former President Donald Trump, the current Commander In Chief Joe Biden has shifted the outlook on the path to ending the pandemic. theGrio reported Biden has reached his promised milestone of administering 200 million coronavirus shots in his first 100 days in office as the White House steps up efforts to inoculate the rest of the public.

According to NPR, the President suggested companies allow employees to use paid-time-off to get their COVID-19 vaccine as he celebrated administration success.

“No working American should lose a single dollar from their paycheck because they are doing their patriotic duty to get vaccinated,” Biden said. He continued to add, “we still have some work to do” to get more Americans vaccinated, saying that “the broad swath of Americans hasn’t received a shot.”

President Biden
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the COVID-19 response and the state of vaccinations at the South Court Auditorium of Eisenhower Executive Office Building on April 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. As of today, President Biden said the United States has distributed 200 million shots of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Fully vaccinated people who continue to adhere to social distancing guidelines mandated by the CDC are at low risk for contracting the coronavirus. CNN reported the chance for “breakthrough infections” is relatively low. According to the report, of 417 employees at Rockefeller University who were fully vaccinated with either the Pfizer or Moderna shots, two of them, or about .5%, had breakthrough infections later. The data was published on Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

“We have characterized bona fide examples of vaccine breakthrough manifesting as clinical symptoms,” the researchers wrote in their study according to CNN. “These observations in no way undermine the importance of the urgent efforts being taken at the federal and state levels to vaccinate the U.S. population. They also lend support to efforts to advance a new vaccine booster (as well as a pan-coronavirus vaccine) to provide increased protection against variants.”

The two breakthrough infections were both in women, one, a healthy 65-year-old who was directly exposed to the virus by their unvaccinated partner. She received her second dose of the Pfizer vaccine on February 9 and  tested positive for Covid-19 on March 17. The other, a healthy 51-year-old woman who received her second dose of the Moderna vaccine on February 19, tested positive for Covid-19 on March 10.

CNN reported the CDC has received less than 6,000 reports of breakthrough coronavirus infections among more than 84 million people fully vaccinated nationwide and experts say the results are expected since no vaccine is 100% effective.

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