Italy surpassing the United States on vaccinations? It may seem like a joke, but in reality the question is not so idle now that many doses are arriving in our country and the distribution mechanism is now well oiled. No.he United States, world leader in immunizing serums, the problem is instead reversed: no longer supply but demand for vaccines. In daily administrations overtaking is already within reach: Italy passed in a few weeks from almost zero to over 600 thousand daily inoculations. The United States dropped from 3.4 million daily doses in April to less than one million. IS the prospect is that of further declines because the abundance of vaccines that we have envied so much (I know people who arrived in New York in the morning who were vaccinated in the afternoon without a reservation and being able to choose between Pfizer, Moderna and J&J) continues to be enviable, but now it serves little purpose in achieving the goal of herd immunity.
The problem is no longer that of being able to vaccinate those who want it and ready to line up in the centers: the problem has become that of carry out targeted campaigns going to track down and convince the perplexed one by one, the many skeptics while it seems there is not much to do with the ideological opponents of vaccines. And, overall, there are many more Americans reluctant to get vaccinated than Italians. It leads the experts to believe that Joe Biden – after successfully passing the test of his first 100 days of presidency even managing to double the initially promised administrations – fail to achieve the goal of vaccinating 70% of the population by the national holiday of 4 July. Not for lack of vaccines – refrigerators are full of unused doses – but for lack of arms.
The most imaginative, or even bizarre, ways have made headlines devised to encourage vaccinations – free beers and fried donuts, tickets to coveted sporting events, lotteries, in West Virginia vaccinating you can even win a shotgun – but all this is the consequence of rapid drying up of the basin of Americans willing to get vaccinated, once we got to immunize that half, or so, of the country that was anxiously awaiting its dose. While Biden’s 70% risks becoming a mirage, immunologists then raised the target for herd immunity from 70% to 80-85% in light of the higher transmissibility of the variants. The prospect is that of a patchy America: we will have states where immunity will be reached (Maine already 75% vaccinated and presumably the metropolises of the two coasts, from New York to Los Angeles, will hit the target) and others in which, struggling to stay above 60% of vaccinated, the virus will continue to circulate in an endemic way, its also weakened and more controllable, without major hospital emergencies.
A few numbers: In Chatttanooga, an industrial city in Tennessee, less than 50% of the population received the first dose. In states like Oklahoma and North Carolina we are 54%. In Utah, Provo and other locations south of Salt Lake City that are becoming a small Silicon Valley crammed with tech companies, fewer than 30 percent of fully vaccinated citizens are. The abstentions: a mix of young people who feel invulnerable and consider the epidemic already defeated and conservatives hostile to vaccines (statistics say 30% of Republicans and 28% of evangelical Christians are ideologically opposed to immunizations). In Italy, however, as he wrote in the Courier service Fabio Savelli, keeping the pace of 600 thousand doses per day technically possible to reach 70% herd immunity by the end of August (General Figliuolo today told Parliament that the target of reaching 80% by the end of September). If not an overtaking on the US, we are close (but maybe it will be). It remains to be seen whether this level will be enough to reach the longed for herd immunity.
June 7, 2021 (change June 7, 2021 | 15:30)
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