COVID-19

Vaccine demand slowing down

Recent stats show a slowdown in COVID vaccine rates. It could be an indication of flagging interest in vaccination.

Lots of people who wanted a COVID-19 vaccine have already been inoculated. That means the state is working down toward groups of people for whom vaccination isn’t as important – even some who are firmly against it.

That’s the reality of vaccination efforts in Michigan in April 2021. And signs are showing a slowdown in vaccinations in the state.

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In the week of April 5, more than 664,000 people received a dose of one of the COVID-19 vaccines. That was the same week the state opened up vaccine eligibility to everyone age 16 and older. It was expected that the following weeks would see a boom time for vaccines, as people who previously hadn’t had access were suddenly qualified.

That boom didn’t happen. Instead, the following week saw nearly 57,000 fewer vaccinations.

Of course, the drop also coincided with a pause in the use of vaccines produced by Johnson & Johnson, which is being reviewed for a rare side effect of blood clots. Nonetheless, health experts are worried Michigan may be coming close to a “last mile” problem.

The “last mile” is a telecommunications term adopted by large-scale vaccination programs. It refers to the difficulty of inoculating the last groups of people. In the case of the COVID-19 vaccine, the last mile may be pretty long. Many people – especially white, conservative, males – are very opposed to the vaccine.

However, there are still lots of people on the fence about vaccination who can be persuaded. Outreach efforts in places like Kalamazoo’s Northside neighborhood have been pretty effective in getting shots in arms. It may take many more such efforts to get past the last mile.

You can read more on Reuters.

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