Where Our Current Covid-19 Vaccination Rate Will Take Us
By Jessica Wang
The U.S. has been administering doses of the Covid-19 vaccine
since mid-December. As health departments across the country get
their vaccination efforts up and running -- some more successfully
than others -- President Biden's administration is hoping to
quicken the process.
As of mid-January, there was an average of almost 900,000 people
getting their first doses of the vaccine each day. This pace might
change, but based on the recent rate, it might take a year -- until
January 2022 -- for every American to get at least one shot,
according to data analyzed by The Wall Street Journal. The
projection provides a snapshot at the current trajectory, although
it is conceivable that not everyone will receive a vaccine. The
projection overstates the current progress because the two vaccines
currently approved for emergency use in the U.S. -- one made by
Pfizer Inc. and its partner BioNTech SE and the other developed by
Moderna Inc. -- require two doses for full vaccination.
Since mid-December, more than 14 million people -- about 4% of
the population -- have received at least one dose as of Jan. 20,
according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and
A vaccine from Johnson & Johnson, which could seek U.S.
emergency-use authorization as soon as February, only requires a
single dose and could shorten the projection. Moreover, the rate of
vaccination has been improving, with the first three weeks of the
rollout averaging about 216,000 a day.
Last week Mr. Biden gave details of his $1.9 trillion Covid-19
relief plan, which includes a move to provide funding to states for
improved distribution and to help set up community vaccination
sites. He has said his administration aims to deliver 100 million
doses administered in his first 100 days in office. If such a pace
continued, and if each of the shots was given to someone who hasn't
received the vaccine yet, it could take until early December for
everyone to receive at least one shot.
What would it take to get everyone at least one dose by the
middle of the year? The average daily rate would need to almost
double to 1.96 million doses a day from a rate of about one million
doses a day.
But is it necessary to vaccinate everyone in the U.S.? So far
there isn't consensus on whether herd immunity is feasible or on
what number of people vaccinated would be needed to achieve it.
Many infectious-disease experts estimate that the percentage of the
population requiring a vaccine to achieve herd immunity is at least
70% or higher.
Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient proportion of a
population has been immunized by vaccination or after being
infected, shielding even those who haven't been vaccinated from
disease. The threshold at which herd immunity is achieved varies
between diseases. Precautions such as wearing masks and social
distancing can reduce the share of people who need to be vaccinated
to affect transmission, according to epidemiologists.
Plans for administering the vaccine have evolved over the past
few weeks to increase the rate of vaccinations. Last week federal
guidelines were expanded to recommend vaccinating anyone age 65 and
older, and states were urged to release doses that were originally
held in reserve for the second shots.
While changes widened the gates for more doses to be
administered, there is still friction in the process because of a
lack of the necessary staff and vaccines to get shots into many
people's arms quickly.
The process of administering the vaccines has largely been left
to the state and local governments. A look at vaccination rates in
some of the most populated states shows the difference in
Notes: Data as of Jan. 20, 2021. Projections are based on the
number of people who have received at least one dose.
Sources: CDC (vaccine doses administered); Census Bureau
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 22, 2021 09:14 ET (14:14 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.