It came nearly a month late, but yesterday, the Biden Administration announced that they’d met their 4th of July goal of having 70 percent of (adult) Americans vaccinated (with at least one shot). (The reality, however, is that only 50 percent of all Americans are fully vaccinated). This comes after vaccination rates have slowly begun to creep up again — on Saturday, the CDC reported that 816,203 jabs were given, the fifth straight day of 700,000 shots or more.
This is undoubtedly good news after vaccination rates had essentially flatlined at around 500,000 a day. The increased rate of vaccinations is being attributed to a number of factors, foremost among them the spread of the Delta variant and the numerous “I should have gotten vaccinated” stories from those severely infected and hospitalized with COVID-19. It’s too little too late for a number of states, like Florida and Louisianna which, combined, account for more than one-fifth of all new infections in the United States.
But the public pressure campaign is working, too. The federal government and the active military are now requiring vaccinations. Those who do not will be subject to frequent testing and mask mandates. Likewise, the NFL, Google, Facebook, Netflix, Walmart, and Disney — among other corporations — are now mandating vaccines. Some hospitals and universities are also mandating vaccinations.
Unfortunately, a number of major companies that rely on blue-collar employees are still not requiring vaccines out of fear that they will exacerbate labor shortage problems, despite the fact that it’s those companies that employ a larger number of unvaccinated employees. Amazon, Tyson Foods, and hourly employees at Walmart, among others, fit under this category (only employees at Walmart headquarters are required to get vaccinated, so far).
Moreover, a number of restaurants and entertainment venues are also starting to require vaccinations, although I suspect that’s happening mostly in liberal communities (and even there, proof of vaccinations probably relies on the honor system).
Shame may also be doing its part. I’m seeing a lot of stories now about the growing resentment that vaccinated folks have for the unvaccinated. According to one poll, around 80 percent of vaccinated folks blame the unvaccinated for the rise in Covid-19 cases, although in that same poll, unvaccinated folks blame foreigners, Americans traveling overseas, and the mainstream media for the rise in COVID-19 cases (I didn’t realize you could get sick by watching CNN). Moreover, only one in three unvaccinated people say they will get the vaccine even if their employer mandates it.
For what it’s worth, those numbers are not likely to move significantly again until the FDA officially authorizes the vaccine (they’re working on it, and said to be speeding up the process) and emergency authorization is approved for those under the age of 12 (that’s expected for those 6-12 in the fall). One other motivation factor, however, may be if airlines finally require their passengers to get vaccinated in order to fly:
Personally, I think that more images like these might help, too. Getting vaccinated is metal, y’all. \m/
Mr Lordi, singer of Finnish heavy metal band Lordi, receives his second dose of Covid-19 vaccine in Rovaniemi, Finland on August 1, 2021. pic.twitter.com/6z1eYr8JVP— Michael Deibert (@michaelcdeibert) August 2, 2021
Header Image Source: Jouni Porsanger / Lehtikuva / AFP)