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The future of American vaccines is fragmented




Vaccinated America is moving towards true security. Unvaccinated America is still facing real danger from Delta.

Shattered illustration of vaccine vial

Ashish Jar said last winter when vaccines were still incredibly scarce in the United States. Atlantic That he was Optimistic feelings about summer: By July 4, Jha, Dean of the Faculty of Public Health at Brown University, expected enough people to be vaccinated to barbecue in the backyard. Indeed, Jha confirmed to me this week, he will bake burgers and hot dogs for his friends this July 4th. He predicted that guests would still need to mask indoors in the winter, but even that now feels unnecessary. “15 or 20 vaccinated people in my house feel very safe when it starts to rain,” he said.

This is because he lives in Massachusetts. Massachusetts has one of the lowest COVID-19 case rates nationwide (less than one new case per 100,000 people per day) and one of the highest vaccination rates (82% of adults). I have been vaccinated at least once). His town, Newton, is one of the outliers. Over 95% of people over the age of 30 receive at least one dose. When it comes to coronavirus, it is one of the safest places in the world.

The outlook varies dramatically elsewhere in the country. Cases of COVID-19 are skyrocketing in some states with low vaccination rates, boosted by the epidemic of the more contagious delta mutants of coronavirus.Understaffed hospitals are already in southwestern Missouri Send COVID-19 patients hundreds of miles away.. The same July 4th party, which is very safe in Massachusetts, is more dangerous in Missouri. In Missouri, far more viruses circulate (15 new cases per 100,000 people per day) and far fewer adults are at least partially vaccinated (56%).

Earlier this year, the Biden administration set a goal of partially immunizing at least 70 percent of adults by Independence Day. The United States slightly misses the mark. That number is currently around 67 percent. However, when you zoom in, you get both better and worse results, depending on where you are looking. The fate of our pandemic is diverging. The stagnation of case numbers across the country obscures two simultaneous trends. There is a rise in some sparsely vaccinated states and a continuous decline in well-vaccinated states.

In this new reality, a single national strategy no longer makes sense.On Thursday, the White House announced it would send “Surge response” team To hotspots where the number of cases is increasing and the vaccination rate is low.Peter Hotez, a vaccine expert at Baylor College of Medicine CDC suggests Issue two separate guideline sets.

Increased delta transmission rates only exacerbate the gap between inoculated and uninoculated.As my colleague Ed Young writes“Vaccinated people are safer than ever, despite their variants. But unvaccinated people are more at risk than ever because of their variants.” For fully vaccinated people, Delta poses little direct threat.The mutation slightly erodes immunity, but most breakthrough infections that result Mild or asymptomatic.. But for those who are not fully vaccinated, this means that Delta actually poses a double risk. Of course, you cannot rely on direct immunization with vaccines.But if the mutants are causing more groundbreaking infections, they can also not be less dependent on the herd immunity of the vaccinated people around them.

The United States has always struggled to vaccinate the COVID-19 herd immunity threshold (when enough people have acquired immunity to limit the spread of the virus). As I wrote In February, resistance to the American vaccine and the evolution of new variants that could avoid the vaccine made it difficult to achieve and maintain herd immunity. As a result, the coronavirus continues to circulate, looking for new bodies that can become infected.If unvaccinated, you will probably get infected Just a matter of time.. “Ultimately everyone will get immunity to the virus,” Jha told me. “You will get it through either vaccination or infection.”

At this time of last year, the vaccine was still a distant hope. Last July 4th, I couldn’t imagine how many vaccines were so effective. I couldn’t imagine scaling up a factory to produce so many doses so quickly. It’s more than enough for all Americans. But we also did not imagine how quickly mutants would emerge and widen the gap between vaccinated and unvaccinated. Here we are a year later, at a time when the benefits of vaccination are more apparent than ever, we have too many doses and too few voluntary weapons.





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