Vaccination rates in the US are slowing down as the people who want to take it have increasingly done so, leaving mostly the so-called vaccine-hesitant and the vaccine deniers. The US is reaching a point where there are excess stocks of unused vaccines.
The United States could have around 300 million excess Covid-19 shots by the end of July, health policy experts at Duke University estimated in a report Thursday, calling on the country to share doses more widely to address the stark inequality around global vaccine distribution.
The US has provided limited shipments of AstraZeneca’s vaccine — which is not yet authorized for use in the United States — to Mexico and Canada, but US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said it won’t share shots more broadly until the country is “more confident” in its own supplies.
The US is the biggest financial donor to the global vaccine-sharing scheme COVAX, but the country has been tight-fisted with the actual vaccines it has in huge supply, while many others have none at all. Three-quarters of the world’s vaccines actually administered have been in just 10 nations, which together account for under half the world’s population.
“The world’s wealthiest nations have locked up much of the near-term supply. At the current rate vaccines are being administered, 92 of the world’s poorest countries won’t vaccinate 60% of their populations until 2023 or later,” wrote Dr. Krishna Udayakumar and Dr. Mark McClellan, health experts at Duke.
Maybe the US should announce a deadline for people to get vaccinated and that any that remain after that date will be shipped to other countries that are desperately in need of them. That may light a fire under those who are not getting it. The idea that they may lose out altogether may persuade some people who, while they scoff at the idea of getting vaccinated, can’t bear the thought of foreigners getting something that they still think is theirs.