With coronavirus vaccination rates slowing down, what role employers can take to help meet the goal of achieving herd immunity against coronavirus?
AUSTIN, TEXAS, UNITED STATES, June 22, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — Why Should We Care That Covid Vaccination Rates Are Slowing Down Across The US?
US health officials fear the chance of achieving herd immunity against coronavirus is slipping away.
The problem is no longer a lack of available vaccines but fewer people coming forward to be inoculated.
Why should we be concerned about this?
There are several key points to consider.
Herd immunity occurs when upwards of around 75% to 95%* of the population gain immunity to an infectious disease – either by contracting it and developing antibodies to it or receiving a vaccine. The scenario makes it very difficult for a communicable disease, such as coronavirus, to replicate, thus bringing an end to the outbreak.
*The actual percentage varies from disease to disease; since coronavirus is novel e.g. new, we don’t know the exact answer yet, but many epidemiologists think a safer number would 85% or higher.
If we don’t eradicate coronavirus from the population, what are we giving up?
First and foremost, non-vaccinated people can help spread the virus, and an active infectious disease that continues to circulate can genetically mutate over time – resulting in either a more virulent (e.g. dangerous) or a more contagious variant, such as the one that originated in India and is now rapidly spreading within the UK.
Epidemiologists believe that unless the coronavirus is eradicated worldwide, there is a small but frightening chance that a dangerous new version of coronavirus could emerge that would render our existing vaccines incapable of protecting people.
In this doomsday scenario, all the sacrifices everyone has made during lockdown would be for naught – and we’d be facing another one to two years of pandemic while Pharma companies rush to develop next-generation vaccines.
The second concern is that herd immunity helps protect those who, due to medical conditions, cannot be vaccinated (such as the very young) or for whom vaccinations are less effective. For example, recent research indicates that those with certain health conditions may not be able to create as many antibodies as those with healthy immune systems. Individuals in these categories would be better protected from disease once we achieve herd immunity.
Different Communities, Different Vaccination Rates
Let’s shift gears now and talk about what managers need to consider when encouraging employees to get Covid vaccinations at work.
The first point is that employers should not assume that everyone feels the same about getting vaccinated.
Indeed, public opinion surveys point to long-standing differences among different ethnic, religious, socioeconomic, and politically affiliated groups.
For example, prior to the coronavirus pandemic, public health officials were able to trace unexpected outbreaks of childhood measles back to school districts where a significant percentage of parents have gotten waivers to exempt their children from receiving MMR vaccines that protect against measles.
Upon investigation, public health officials discovered there were two different communities involved:
The first was conservative Jewish (Hassidic) communities, primarily in the greater New York area, that did not want to vaccinate their children for religious reasons.
The second group was found primarily in upper-middle-class communities, in places like Austin and the West Coast. Many of these parents actively campaigned as “anti-vaxxers,” promoting the widely debunked theory that vaccines can cause autism or other health issues.
Given this history of vaccine hesitancy, public health officials have been actively using polling organizations to identify and quantify the level of concerns about Covid vaccines among different ethnic, religious, and socioeconomic groups.
For example, polls conducted earlier this year found that 63% of white Americans say they are interested in taking the Covid 19 vaccine, while only 49% of black Americans feel the same way. Fortunately, this number is improving in recent days, according to Kaiser Health News.
What’s the reason for this disparity? Especially considering that statistically, black Americans have been hit harder by the coronavirus in terms of infection rates and mortality.
Public health historians point to long-standing distrust among black communities toward US government health programs, in particular, the deceptive, dishonest, and destructive Tuskegee Syphilis Study conducted by the United States Public Health Service and the CDC over a 40-year period in the middle of the last century.
Hispanics are another ethnic group that has been especially hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic. At the beginning of the year, public health officials were very discouraged by the low number of Hispanic survey respondents who wanted to get a Covid 19 vaccine. However, a more recent survey shows a dramatic uptick in positive territory for Hispanic respondents.
Another group of great concern is long-term caretakers. A recent PEW Trust poll found that only around half of these frontline workers have been vaccinated.
Finally, unlike most previous disease outbreaks, coronavirus has taken on a distinctly political aspect, with many politically conservative people voicing strong opinions against wearing masks, for example. Public health surveys continue to find a high percentage of conservative Republicans, especially men, are resistant to the idea of getting the coronavirus vaccine, with 4 out of 10 Republicans saying they do not plan to get a vaccine according to the latest PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll.
What Are Some Common Reasons For Vaccine Hesitancy?
Public health officials have also tried to identify specific reasons for what they call “vaccine hesitancy” among different individuals.
The results are quite fascinating.
It turns out that quite a few objections are fairly reasonable and can be overcome fairly easily.
We’ll look at this category first and address the set of more difficult objections in the next section below.
So what are some of the more common objections to getting the coronavirus vaccine?
Researchers have found that many respondents give one or more of these answers:
– I’m too busy to get the vaccine.
– It’s complicated to sign up, and it will take all day. If I don’t work, I don’t get paid.
– Getting two shots is very inconvenient.
– The vaccines were developed far too quickly. I’d rather wait and see what side effects emerge.
– I don’t have a doctor or medical insurance to pay for this.
– They are getting rid of the mask rules in my state, so I think this pandemic is on the way out.
– I’m old enough to remember problems with polio vaccines and infants with thalidomide birth defects.
With Covid death rates going down, why should I bother?
Overcoming these objections is not easy but possible, making this group part of what public health officials would call the “persuadable” group.
What About The Views Of Covid Anti-Vaxxers?
In contrast to the “persuadable” group, there are other groups of individuals that are adamantly against taking the Covid vaccine, a group commonly known as Covid Anti-Vaxxers.
One Of A Series Of New Covid Vaccine Public Service Announcements From The Department Of Health And Human Services.
Source: EIN Presswire