In President Biden’s First 100 days, many milestones were achieved. A diverse cabinet that looks like America, The $1.9T American Rescue Plan which included $1,400 stimulus checks to every American, and the extremely successful vaccine rollout just to name a few. While vaccine data has been soaring higher than expected, expect that data to soon sink like a rock floating to the bottom of the ocean.
The Successful Uphill Climb
On Biden’s Inauguration Day, his original goal of 100 million vaccines administered to every day Americans seemed almost astronomically impossible. Journalists including myself were skeptical. I had even started writing data down on day 1 of the administration making sure I keep track of vaccination numbers every so often to see if he would reach this then-ambitious goal.
On January 21st, one full day into the Biden presidency, I wrote in rough draft: “Today is January 21st, 2021. It is 6:40pm ET and Joe Biden’s 2nd day as president. Vaccine distribution is 37,960,000. Vaccines administered are 17,546,400. This sets the goal post for the Biden administration,” and took this picture of my TV screen:
On March 19th, day 58 of his presidency, Biden announced to the nation that we had crossed the 100 million goal. This is 42 days earlier than expected. At that moment, he announced he would set the goal to 200 million by his 100th day in office.
On April 19th, 2021, President Joe Biden announced that every American adult would be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine the next day. “…It’s your turn now,” he said. “Starting tomorrow all adults are eligible to get their shot. It’s free, it’s convenient, and it’s the most important thing you can do to protect yourself from COVID-19...”
This was 12 days earlier than thought. Biden’s original goal to make this happen was May 1st when he spoke on the one year anniversary of when COVID-19 became a pandemic on March 11th, 2020.
Biden proved many critics wrong not once, but twice. On April 21st, Biden announced that the United States has administered over 200 million doses across the country under his administration with just 9 days left until his first 100 days. We reached the second half of the 100 million vaccines administered in just 33 days.
Within the course of nearly 100 days, the US sped up manufacturing and distribution of vaccines by using the Defense Production Act on February 5th. There was and currently still is profound excitement to get a COVID-19 vaccine. There are massive amounts of appointments and it’s been getting harder to find availabilities at places like Walgreens and CVS. There are still socially distanced lines and even lines of cars across the nation, getting their vaccines administered. We even met a higher than expected data while breaking records up to 4.6 million doses in one day. It all happened within 100 days of the Biden administration.
As of April 22nd, 52% of the US adult population had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. About 34% of the US adult have been fully vaccinated according to the CDC.
Massive Vaccine Falloff
In the coming months or even weeks as we start to reach higher percentages of the adult population who are getting one of the three COVID vaccines on the market, and then soon some of the 12 — 15 year old population, you will start to see a slowdown. There will be even more vaccine hesitancy and anti-vaxxers. No, it’s not due to the fact that the J&J vaccine was paused. It’s because the excitement is running out and it’s running out fast. This is both a good and a bad thing. On April 20th, everyone 16 and up became eligible to receive the vaccine. Millions of people have waited so long to get the vaccine and are even willing to wait in long lines in their cars like my own family. The vaccination rate currently remains at around the 3 million mark per day according to CDC data. As shown in my estimated graph which is an extension off of Bloomberg vaccine data, it will sink like a rock.
On April 30th, 2021, it was announced that 100 million Americans have been fully vaccinated. So the math will just make sense. We will start to see a falloff because many millions of people who wanted to get one immediately will have already gotten theirs. Then it becomes those who waited a little longer, then we’ll head into the “on the fence group,” and soon after, vaccinations administered per day may go from 2 million all the way down to 200,000 per day as you start reaching the red zone of the people who are currently refusing to get it.
Population math isn’t the only thing slowing down the vaccine rollout, it’s a variety of other things.
Skeptics and Racist Legacy
There are many people in the country who have been extremely hesitant on getting the vaccine. These are the people who have been exposed to or prone to believe misinformation if they don’t constantly follow the news. Disinformation campaigns seem to spread around social media and make its way into the minds of people who, as mentioned, don’t keep up with the news on an hourly basis. Some may believe these misinformation pieces until someone they trust, or many people they trust, tell them that it’s safe or that they went and got the vaccine.
Another contributing factor to skepticism is the United States’ racist legacy. While a majority of communities of color have gotten vaccinated, the math will soon reach it’s height. Though many people in Black and Brown communities don’t trust the vaccine. There are a few reasons for this: In the 1930’s, Black people were used as human experiments when it came to vaccines on syphilis. This is known as the Tuskagee Study. Black men were purposely not treated if they tested positive for syphilis. This horrid event was to study these positive cases to see how bad it could get if untreated.
Latinos are also hesitant on getting the vaccine. There are a few reasons in this case. First off, some also cite the Tuskagee Study. However, there were even more of these awful experiments conducted. For example, in the 1940’s, the United States Public Health service had prostitutes experiment on men in Guatemalan jails to purposely spread STD’s as part of a study in order to prove that they had some kind of disease. In the 1950’s, Puerto Rican women that received a low income would be part of a clinical study involving experimental birth control pills without knowing they were a part of the trial.
Some Latinos who are hesitant on getting the vaccine also feel that the vaccine was developed too quickly, which is also part of the disinformation that’s out on social media. One other factor has to do with immigration status. Those who are undocumented might not feel comfortable putting their name in the system and don’t want their immigration status being used against them all because they wanted to get the vaccine.
A Fox News Poll in December showed that 63% of white people planned on getting the vaccine. While 57% of Hispanics and 52% of Black people also planned on getting the vaccine. These numbers are striking considering the COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting Black and Brown communities and have a higher chance of death according to the CDC.
A Kaiser Family Foundation poll on February 26th, 2021 found that only 52% Hispanics and 41% of Black people went out and got the vaccine as soon as possible compared to 61% of white people.
According to a Quinnipiac poll that was published on April 14th, 2021, 30% of Latinos, 24% of white, and 19% of Black people did not plan on getting the vaccine.
Another part of this may be parents who are hesitant to get their child vaccinated. As of right now when I’m writing this line on May 1st, the vaccines only are available for ages 16 and up. Once children as young as one year old start getting the vaccine, there will start to be a little bit more hesitancy once it’s in the news that they are vaccinating children. Although children are vaccinated all the time for chicken pox or polio. An Axios poll from April 2nd — 5th shows that only 52% of parents will get their kids get vaccinated.
Schools may even require that students get the vaccine. Many colleges across the nation have already come out publicly and said that anyone who attends needs to get vaccinated. Hopefully this prompts parents into looking into the science instead of looking to misinformed Facebook friends, then making an appointment to do their part and get the vaccine.
Full Throttle Conspiracy Theorists
From antivaxx groups claiming Bill Gates is inserting a microchip into our bloodstream to track our every move, to QAnon nonsense that the vaccine is “population control” and that the pandemic was “created by George Soros and Obama,” conspiracy theories will be a more prominent. We will start to see an even louder response among the most hesitant group of Americans who are refusing to take the vaccine. Undoubtedly, it’s Trump supporters. On top of Trump’s lies, they’ve been conned into believing these wild conspiracies about the vaccine and they help fuel the disinformation campaigns on Facebook or even other smaller social media sites that are considered right wing echo chambers. While not all Trump supporters won’t get the vaccine, a big portion of Donald Trump’s base believe the lies. You can see that data in the polls that were mentioned above. One of the other major factors is because the Former President refused to get vaccinated on TV and made 45% of his base, (how ironic), not trust the vaccine. It was reported that Trump and Melania received the vaccine before leaving the White House.
A new Fox News poll published on April 25th, 2021, shows that 22% of Americans say they don’t plan on getting the vaccine. What could this mean for the highest point of herd immunity? The CDC is aiming for 75% of the United States to be fully vaccinated.
As of May 5th, 2021, the US reported 998,000 doses administered. This is the lowest amount administered since February 23rd, 2021 when the United States administered 855,000 vaccines with a then-seven day average of 1.28 million.
While expected at some point after a successful rollout, this is undoubtedly a concern to the White House and the CDC considering the United States has not yet reached herd immunity.