Despite the Gloomy Headlines, America’s Vaccination Effort Keeps Chugging Along

A healthcare worker holds coronavirus vaccines at a vaccination center in El Paso, Texas, May 6, 2021. (Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters)

Six months into America’s vaccination effort, the seven-day national average of shots administered is 896,000. Considering how more than 154 million Americans are fully vaccinated, that’s not that bad at all; that’s 54 percent of everyone 12 years and older, and remember that younger teenagers only became eligible in May. America has fully vaccinated 57.2 percent of its adults, and 77.8 percent of its senior citizens.

Yes, the U.S. is going to fall short of President Biden’s goal of having 70 percent of the adult population with at least one dose by July 4. But we’re at 66.2 percent, not that far off. It is not surprising or calamitous that mass vaccination sites are starting to shut down. We’re at a different stage of the pandemic, and the risk is differnet now. We no longer need to gather as many people as possible in stadium parking lots; the COVID-19 vaccine is now available at just about every pharmacy chain store.

If you look at the daily numbers over time, it becomes clear that Americans are much more likely to get vaccinated on weekends.

Range in the number of administered each day from Monday June 14 to Friday June 18: 978,000 to an astounding 2 million (on Thursday June 17).

Number of vaccinations administered Saturday, June 19: 1.03 million.

Number of vaccinations administered Sunday, June 20: 811,000.

Range in the number of administered each day from Monday, June 21 to Friday June 25: 591,000 to 908,000.

Number of vaccinations administered Saturday, June 26: 924,000.

Number of vaccinations administered Sunday June 27: 1.2 million.

Number of vaccinations administered Monday June 28: 1.09 million.

Number of vaccinations administered Tuesday June 29: 738,000.

The pattern suggests that a good portion of Americans who didn’t get vaccinated until the summer months didn’t hold off because they thought COVID-19 is a hoax or because they feared Bill Gates is trying to implant microchips into their bodies. They just hadn’t gotten around to it, and/or they didn’t want to miss work because of a reaction to the vaccine. You may not agree with that thinking, but it’s not insane.

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We’re a country that has a decent number of procrastinators. About 100,000 Americans got their flu shot in the last week of February of this year — pretty late into flu season! Those who are late to take a particular action aren’t necessarily a reflection of anti-science attitudes or nutty faith in conspiracy theories. Sometimes, they’re just reflecting part of human nature.

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