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The US will likely reach a “tipping point” over the next few weeks when supply of the COVID-19 vaccine will outpace those willing to receive it, according to a report released this week.
“While timing may differ by state, we estimate that across the U.S. as a whole we will likely reach a tipping point on vaccine enthusiasm in the next 2 to 4 weeks,” the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation said in the report published Tuesday.
“Once this happens, efforts to encourage vaccination will become much harder, presenting a challenge to reaching the levels of herd immunity that are expected to be needed,” the report said.
Health experts have estimated that at least 70 percent of the country’s population — and as many as 90 percent — will need to be vaccinated against the virus in order for the nation to achieve herd immunity.
To date, more than 134 million people in the US — or 40.5 percent of the population — has received at least one vaccine dose since inoculation efforts began in December, according to data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
About 26.4 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, the data shows.
The Kaiser Family Foundation report found that at a rate of an average of 1.7 million first doses being administered each day, “we would reach the tipping point in about 15 days.”
“Of course if the pace of vaccination picks up, it could be sooner. However, if those who say they want to get vaccinated right away face challenges in accessing vaccination, it could take longer,” the report said.
Officials will now have to figure out how to encourage those who are wary of getting the vaccine — not to mention the one-fifth of adults who say they just don’t want to get it, the foundation said.
“Now that supply has increased and eligibility has expanded, it will take a concerted effort to reach a sufficient level of vaccination for herd immunity, and to do so in a way that achieves equity goals as well,” the report said.
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