The mass vaccination programs that underwent in the US in January this year seems to be making process, after initial criticisms of the government that their distribution channels were too scarce. The Biden administration has since ramped up its efforts with focus towards access to vaccines for ethnic groups.
Vaccine-Hesitancy Hampering Vaccination Efforts In The US
Since, about 1 in 8 Americans have been fully vaccinated with the anti-Covid-19 vaccine in the US, while almost 1 in 4 have received at least a single shot of the dose.
However, worldwide there has been a reluctance from anti-vaxxers, vaccine hesitant and conspiracy theorists hampering the government efforts to inoculate the whole population.
One such detractor pf the vaccines has been the former president Donald Trump himself, who, joined by his Republican supporters, are making it hard for federal authorities to administer them with the doses.
Last year, during Trump’s presidency, he constantly downplayed the effects of the Coronavirus, which has so far, after a year, claimed more than 540,000 Americans lives with millions infected across the country.
Health experts have cited their concerns that this hurdle would be tough to cross, although it is of magnanimous importance that the masses remain supportive of the vaccine shots in order to quell the effects of the virus.
States like West Virginia, with a heavy Republican support is just one of the states posed with this challenge. Numerous residents are so hesitant to get the vaccination shots that they have claimed that they would ‘rather go to prison than get vaccinated’, such is the case of distrust over health officials.
In the November elections, West Virginia was responsible for almost 70% of the votes that Trump received during the presidential election race. It is also one of the poorest states in the US.
The state, with its population of over 2 million was one of the few states that made vaccination shots accessible to its residents, while other Democrat-led states took some time to get their vaccination drive rolling.
Angela Grey, a nurse, who administers almost 1,500 shots per day said that she was worried about the consequences that such reluctance could bring not just to vaccine hesitant people, but also the risk of contact with others. She said that many Republicans are getting themselves vaccinated in the state. Even the state officials are getting themselves inoculated, as an act to convince the sceptics to get themselves vaccinated.
However, the road is long, as sceptics, both Republicans and Democrats over the country refusing to get the anti-Covid-19 shots.
As per a poll last week, about 41% of Republicans nationwide are against vaccinations, compared to just 11% Democrats.
Many African-American communities, along with anti-vaxxers also oppose the vaccination doses due to a combination of factors. These factors include beliefs that the media exaggerated the effects of the pandemic to oust Trump, along with the long-held opposition to vaccinations and distrust for federal officials.
This Tuesday, in an interview with Fox News, Trump said cited his support for the vaccine, saying that it is a ‘great vaccine’ and ‘something that works’. The ex-president had himself got vaccinated along with his wife Melania discreetly before leaving office.
Johnson, a vaccine hesitancy expert said that such a reluctance could disrupt all the good work done by Federal officials in getting Americans vaccinated, as the US leads death tolls due to the Coronavirus globally. He added that it is essential to get the majority population vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.
A country can achieve herd immunity when majority of it’s population gets vaccinated, or recovers from the disease to build antibodies against Covid-19.