Most of the leading Republicans think people should get the COVID-19 vaccine now. These include:
OTHER REASONS WHY VACCINATION RATES WILL GO HIGHER
With most leading Republicans in favor of vaccination, more and more Republicans are beginning to get vaccinated. There are many other reasons why vaccination rates will probably rise to 80% nationwide. These include:
- Other issues will arise that Republicans will be able to channel their political energies into. In the past when a particular issue wasn’t benefitting with their political agenda and was actually hurting them, they usually moved on to other issues with greater traction.
- Governors of GOP states have big incentives to get people vaccinated. It will help their economies, jobs and businesses. This will incentivize the state’s residents to actively engage with their surroundings economically and culturally since there will be no fear of an outbreak. Citizens missing 1-3 weeks of work has a terrible impact on business owners; plus it equates to lost wages for a lot of people. Also, vaccinations will reduce healthcare costs and deaths. Large mortality rates are a huge political liability, especially if they were preventable.
- Being anti-vax isn’t a strong fit with their ideological framework. Conservatives generally are in favor of public safety.
- Some of the Republican anti-vax sentiments are related to RNA. Some of this dislike is because it’s a new technology, and some argue or worry that it hasn’t been tested for numerous years unlike other vaccine platforms. In about 1 1/2 to 3 months when the Novavax vaccine (that uses a tried and true technology) is available, that worry will no longer be valid and those against RNA vaccines will lose their main argument.
- Over the course of the next 12 months, deaths and hospitalizations are going to gradually result in higher and higher vaccination rates. For example, this Alabama doctor said that after someone dies of Covid, their family members usually get vaccinated soon after. Even if people are hospitalized and survive, most of their family and friends will realize COVID-19 is serious and will get vaccinated. https://news.yahoo.com/johnson-johnson-vaccine-may-less-080034738.html
- People getting long COVID-19 will also be the catalyst for their friends and family to get vaccinated. When they realize that they could get long-term chronic fatigue and body pain, many will decide to avoid the risk. A study of 2 million patients found that infected people who have COVID-19 symptoms, but are not hospitalized, 27.5% of them develop long COVID. Even people who are infected and have zero symptoms, 19% of them later develop long COVID-19. This means that in the coming months, many will come into contact with friends, family and colleagues who have long COVID-19. Such people will be akin to walking advertisements for vaccination. Also, a study found that 11% to 15% of infected youth could have long Covid.
- Even people just being sick in bed for a week will lead to more vaccinations. Some don’t have sick days at work, and not being vaccinated will likely hurt their savings. Other people don’t have enough sick days to be out for 1 to 4 weeks. Most don’t want to get sick with COVID-19 and unexpectedly miss key life events or have to cancel/skip planned events. This includes missing vacations, athletes missing key sporting events or tournaments, performers missing performances. For example, the top league in college football, the SEC, will make teams forfeit games if they can’t field a full squad for a game. In college football, a single extra loss can result in a team not making the playoffs and having no shot at the championship.
- Factors related to friends and family will also increase vaccination rates. In addition to verbal pressure, some people won’t allow unvaccinated people to come to their parties, weddings, funerals and other social events. For example, star actress Jennifer Aniston won’t be in the same space as her unvaccinated friends because they are risky.
- The unvaccinated also risk being ostracized in various ways. For example, some are saying they are unpatriotic and un-American. After a rock musician spread Covid misinformation, his booking manager, music manager and band quit en masse. The unvaccinated also risk being ridiculed. For example, the guitarist from Queen said people who refuse to be vaccinated are “fruitcakes.” Whether or not you think those things are fair or appropriate, most people don’t want to be ostracized or ridiculed, and this will motivate some of them to change.
- Influence from athletes, musicians and others who their fans respect.
- Not being able to do things like go on cruises, travel, eat at restaurants, attend concerts and other desirable events and plans. For example, certain bars are already demanding proof of vaccination to enter. The whole city of New York is requiring people to be vaccinated for indoor dining, gyms, theaters and concerts. The entire country of France requires vaccination for indoor dining and bars. Very high numbers of tourists and business people visit places with such requirements, and many will get vaccinated so they can eat indoors or go to shows. Another example is the Pac-12 sports league won’t allow coaches to attend its media day if they’re not vaccinated.
- When people go in for their annual physical or for another doctor’s visit, their doctor will try to persuade them to get vaccinated. Louisiana
- The incentives being offered (lotteries, free stuff etc.) by governments and businesses to get vaccinated.
- Mandates by states, cities, federal government departments and schools, including universities. The US military is requiring vaccinations. Likewise, some businesses are requiring their employees to be vaccinated or get fired, which is exactly what took place with the Minnesota Vikings football team. This news report from late July found that a slew of mandates had been recently implemented. A poll found that 2/3rds of people said their employer was encouraging people to get vaccinated. After the FDA moves from emergency use authorization of COVID vaccines to full approval in the next few months, more employers will move from encouraging to mandating.
- Also, the unvaccinated will find themselves subject to other impediments and restrictions. E.g. in all NCAA sports, unvaccinated players are subject to contact tracing, regular testing and quarantine rules. If they’ve been near someone with COVID-19, they miss practice and games for 10 to 14 days. Even if they haven’t been around a sick person, they must be quarantined before traveling to events. This year, Covid infections caused the NC State baseball team to be ejected from the College World Series when they were just one game away from the championship round. If 85% were vaccinated, they wouldn’t have even been subject to tests, they likely wouldn’t have had an outbreak and even if they had an outbreak, the vaccinated players would have been allowed to play. Less than 50% of the players were vaccinated, so they weren’t even close to the 85% requirement. At many colleges and high schools, unvaccinated students must get tested monthly and be quarantined and miss school if they get infected. When LSU announced such rules, many students rushed to get vaccinated.
- With the original virus, experts estimated that between 75% and 80% of people needed immunity in order for a population to reach herd immunity. However, the Delta variant is 100% more contagious than the original virus. As a result, experts think about 85% of people will need immunity for herd immunity to occur. Governments and healthcare systems will do everything they reasonably can to get as close as possible to herd immunity. With a higher threshold needed due to Delta, governments and health systems will be trying to achieve higher vaccination rates than they previously planned to reach.
- High vaccination rates result in reduced costs for insurers by minimizing doctors visits and hospitalizations. One major way in which insurers can motivate people to get vaccinated is to offer them significant discounts on their policies if they’re vaccinated. Also, some employers are charging unvaccinated people an added insurance premium of $50 on each paycheck, meaning about $1,200 per year. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/audio/2021-08-03/max-nisen-on-insurance-discounts-for-vaccinations-podcast
- Prior to the Delta variant, case counts were declining so rapidly and to such low levels that most unvaccinated Americans probably felt they didn’t need to be vaccinated because of the very low level of risk. The Delta variant has more severe impacts on people than the original virus due to having viral loads that are on average 1,000% higher than the original.. It also is causing case counts to skyrocket and is putting unvaccinated people in grave danger. As they realize the likelihood and severity of this danger, some of them are shifting their opinion and getting vaccinated.
- A poll found that 30% of unvaccinated adults would be more likely to get vaccinated if one of the vaccines authorized for emergency use receives full FDA approval. The FDA will probably do this in the next 2 to 4 months, so that alone could increase the vaccination rate by 5% to 8%.
- While attacking anti-vaxxers, Geraldo Rivera said, “We too have rights: to deny the unvaccinated access to our home, school or business.” Related to his point, this is a situation in which majority rule will probably win out. This becomes increasingly true the higher that vaccination rates rise. When the split is 45% vaccinated to 55% unvaccinated, the vaccinated don’t feel highly confident exercising their right to deny unvaccinated people access to their homes, schools and businesses. But some of them still will in order to protect themselves, their families and their employees. https://www.yahoo.com/news/fox-news-geraldo-rivera-says-212701012.html
When the split becomes 55% vaccinated to 45% unvaccinated, the vaccinated feel much more confident exercising their right. In addition, they have majority rule at places where the decision is made by a group. When the split reaches 60% vaccinated to 40% unvaccinated, confidence goes even higher and more people and places implement restrictions on the unvaccinated. If the split reaches 70% to 30%, it will likely be a tipping point where restrictions on the unvaccinated become widespread and constant. That in turn would probably result in a 75% vaccination rate, at which point restrictions would likely become the norm and result in increasingly higher vaccination rates.
CURRENT VACCINATION RATES
As of July 26th, over 57% of the American population has had at least one dose of the vaccine, with over 342 million doses administered. Almost 50% have been fully vaccinated.
Children under 18 represent 24% of the total US population. Only 14.3% of them have received their first dose because people under 12 years old are not approved to be vaccinated yet, and people ages 11 to 17 were only recently approved. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/01/28/960901166/how-is-the-covid-19-vaccination-campaign-going-in-your-state
In late June, 65% of American adults reported they had received at least one dose. Of people who are 18 years or older, 70% have received at least one dose as of July 26th. Of the 30% who are completely unvaccinated, 19% say they will probably or definitely get vaccinated. 19% of 30% translates to roughly 6% of people 18 and older. That alone would bring the total to 76%.
With the 16 different factors described above that will influence people to be vaccinated, it’s reasonable to think rates among those 18 and older will increase another 4% to 9% for a total of 80% to 85%. As noted earlier, 30% of unvaccinated people said they will be more likely to be vaccinated if the FDA gives full approval to one of the vaccines that now is authorized for emergency use. Since the FDA is going to do this by January, 2022, it will probably increase the percentage of the total rate.
After vaccines are approved for people under 12, it’s also reasonable to think that child rates will rise to a level that is fairly similar to adult rates. In fact, usually the rates of vaccination for children are much higher than for adults. One of many reasons for this is mandates by most schools that require children to be vaccinated in order to attend academic institutions. Another reason is that if adults believe in the vaccine enough to be vaccinated, they will probably have their children do the same.
Another poll found that 77% of Americans believe that vaccinations will have a positive effect on the US economy. Americans are usually supportive of their economy and will aid it in whichever way they can; another reason why the 80% to 85% mark is achievable. https://www.pewresearch.org/science/2021/03/05/growing-share-of-americans-say-they-plan-to-get-a-covid-19-vaccine-or-already-have/ https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/covid-vaccine-tracker-global-distribution/#us
In August of 2021, a Bloomberg News columnist stated that reaching an 80% vaccination rate within the US was “realistic” in part due to the increasing use of strict vaccine mandates by businesses and varied institutions. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/audio/2021-08-03/opinion-biden-s-vaccine-push-looks-like-a-win-radio
Overall, the vaccination rate in the US will probably be very high within the next 10 months. Most of the factors described above that will cause vaccination rates to increase are also present in other countries. For example, the number of 18-to-21-year olds in UK who said they would not get vaccinated dropped almost in half in one month from 9% in June to only 5% in July. https://www.yahoo.com/news/covid-vaccine-hesitancy-falling-among-142818389.html
Moreover, the majority of other countries don’t have a situation where members of a major political party have shown vaccine hesitancy as a political gesture. So they don’t even need to overcome that hurdle. As a result, many of them may be able to reach levels of 80% to 85% faster than the US. For example, in the UK 90% of adults have received the first dose and 70% have had both doses.
Of course, a significant portion of countries will still have political hurdles to overcome different from the US. But on the whole, the majority of countries should be able to achieve strong vaccination rates once they have enough supply.
- In December, North Carolina had already been manufacturing doses for a few months, and the head of research and development at Novavax said the NC factory would be making “many, many millions”: https://abc11.com/novavax-vaccine-trials-covid-19-coronavirus/9155205/
- This describes production plans with the government of Canada: https://ir.novavax.com/news-releases/news-release-details/novavax-announces-memorandum-understanding-produce-covid-19
- Serum Institute of India: Claimed it would supply 1.1 billion doses of the vaccine. https://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/novavax-serum-institute-plans-to-supply-1-1-billion-doses-to-covax-121021901472_1.html
- Takeda (Japan): Takeda anticipates the capacity to manufacture over 250 million doses of the Novavax vaccine per year. https://www.takeda.com/newsroom/newsreleases/2020/novavax-and-takeda-announce-collaboration-for-novavax-covid-19-vaccine-candidate-in-japan/
- BioFabri (Spain): The spanish biopharmaceutical company has a manufacturing capacity of 500m Novavax doses. https://zendal.com/en/biofabri-of-zendal-group-has-been-selected-by-the-cepi-as-a-strategic-facility-to-increase-the-manufacturing-capacity-of-covid-19-vaccines-at-an-international-scale/
SK Bio (Korea): SK Bioscience have agreed to manufacture 40 million doses of the Novavax vaccine for South Korea. They have recently announced that they are going to expand their annual capacity to about 400m-500m doses per year. Not all of these doses will be allocated to make the Novavax vaccine, but the initial pledge of 40m will grow as a result of this expansion. This expansion is due to funding by CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations) of US$173.4m in May of this year. This comes after an already sizable investment from CEPI of $14.2m in March. Such quick and considerable investments indicate a trust in SK Bio’s advancements that extend to Novavax and its vaccine. https://www.biospace.com/article/releases/novavax-announces-expanded-collaboration-and-license-agreement-with-sk-bioscience-for-40-million-doses-of-covid-19-vaccine-for-south-korea/https://cepi.net/news_cepi/cepi-and-sk-bioscience-expand-partnership-to-advance-multiple-covid-19-variant-vaccines-and-scale-up-manufacturing/https://cepi.net/news_cepi/cepi-and-sk-bioscience-expand-partnership-to-develop-vaccine-against-covid-19-variants/