UNITED STATES (WTHI) - COVID-19 vaccination rates are dropping dramatically across the country. Now, health leaders say it's time to reverse this trend.
Experts believe this downward trend began nationwide shortly after the pause of the Johnson and Johnson vaccines earlier this month. Local health experts are also seeing a drop in interest across the state of Indiana.
According to the New York Times, there is about a 20% decrease in people getting vaccinated. This is something that has local health experts raising concerns.
Up until recently, vaccine roll-out in the United States has been consistent, up until recently. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that vaccine administration rates have decreased by more than 500,000 doses per day. Local experts say this is not a good thing. This comes at a time when many states are now offering the vaccine to anyone over the age of 16, but fewer seem to be signing up.
"There is nothing to compare with the eighty-plus group that came in initially," Dr. Alan Stewart, the health officer in Knox County, said. "They were so excited to get their vaccine. Many were tearful. There were many touching stories. Those people have seen polio and measles, and many have seen smallpox, and they know these diseases and the value of vaccinations. Whereas young people haven't grown up with a very dangerous illness and have not been as eager to get the vaccination."
Other health officials agree with Stewart. They say many young people are also not wanting to get vaccinated because they think the virus won't make them very sick.
"People fail to realize the number of people who are sick and have died under the age of 60," Dr. Darren Brucken, the Vigo County Health Commissioner, said. "Professional athletes have died from this. You don't have to be 36, diabetic, and overweight. You can be 23 and a college athlete and still pass away from this illness."
In Indiana, more than 32% of the population over the age of 16 has been vaccinated. Illinois remains behind Indiana percentage-wise, with about 30% of the eligible population vaccinated. Both are above the national average, but they are nothing close to what is needed for herd immunity. Both Dr. Brucken and Dr. Stewart agree that the total number of vaccinated adults needs to improve, especially with the recent hesitation in younger individuals. They say the vaccine is the only way out of this pandemic.
"The more unvaccinated people we have, the longer this virus will stay on earth," Dr. Brucken said.