The Racial Gap Among the Vaccinated Has Essentially Disappeared

“According to a new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation, as the rate of U.S. adults who report having received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines continues to climb, the rates among racial groups are now basically identical, comprising 71 percent of white adults, 70 percent of black adults, and 73 percent of Hispanic adults.”

Scientists Fight a New Source of Vaccine Misinformation: Aaron Rodgers

““Aaron Rodgers is a smart guy,” said David O’Connor, a virus expert at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Packers fan. But, he added, “He’s still vulnerable to the blind side blitz of misinformation.”

In the interview, Rodgers suggested that the fact that people were still getting, and dying from, COVID-19, meant that the vaccines were not highly effective.

Although imperfect, the vaccines provide extremely strong protection against the worst outcomes of infection, including hospitalization and death. Unvaccinated Americans, for instance, are roughly 10 times more likely to be hospitalized and 11 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than vaccinated Americans, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“As far as the people who are in the hospital with COVID, overwhelmingly, those are unvaccinated people,” said Angela Rasmussen, a virus expert at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization at the University of Saskatchewan. “And transmission is being driven overwhelmingly by unvaccinated people to other unvaccinated people.”

Rodgers also expressed concern that the vaccines might cause fertility issues, a common talking point in the anti-vaccine movement. There is no evidence that the vaccines affect fertility in men or women.

“Those allegations have been made since the vaccines first came on the scene, and they clearly have been addressed many, many times over,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a vaccine expert at Vanderbilt University. He added, “The vaccines are safe and stunningly effective.”

There are a few potentially serious adverse events that have been linked to the vaccines, including a clotting disorder and an inflammation of the heart muscle, but they are very rare. Experts agree that the health risks associated with COVID-19 overwhelmingly outweigh those of vaccination.

Rodgers said he ruled out the mRNA vaccines, manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna, because he had an allergy to an unspecified ingredient they contained.

Such allergies are possible — a small number of people are allergic to polyethylene glycol, which is in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines — but extremely rare. For instance, there were roughly 11 cases of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction, for every 1 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine administered, according to one CDC study.

The public health agency recommends that people with a known allergy to an ingredient in one of the mRNA vaccines not get those vaccines, but some scientists expressed skepticism that Rodgers truly had a known, documented allergy. Even if he did, he may have been eligible for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which relies on a different technology.”

Los Angeles Orders Local Businesses To Serve as Vaccination Enforcers

“What the city is actually doing is outsourcing responsibility for getting people vaccinated to private local businesses. Fines for failure to comply with the law fall not on the unvaccinated people attempting to get into restaurants and movie theaters, but on the businesses that fail to catch them. Fines start at $1,000 (beginning with the second violation) and can reach as high as $5,000 per citation.”

The US was a world leader in vaccination. What went wrong?

“The United States started its vaccination drive with a structural advantage. It had the most generous supply of Covid vaccines, along with Israel, thanks to investments made to procure doses before the vaccines were approved for emergency use by the US Food and Drug Administration.”

“Demographics may also be holding the US back to a degree. America has more young people than most Western European countries: About 16 percent of Germany’s population is under 18 versus about 22 percent of the US’s, to give one example. Children under 12 are still not eligible for vaccines in the US (or anywhere else), which may be partly depressing its vaccination share.
But there is more to the story than supply quirks or demographic trends.

Compared to a country like Portugal, now a world leader in Covid vaccinations, the United States’ vaccination rates for its eligible population are not particularly strong, either. In Portugal, 99 percent of people over age 65 are fully vaccinated; in the US, the share is closer to 80 percent. Those disparities persist in the younger age cohorts: 85 percent of Portuguese people ages 25 to 49 are fully vaccinated versus less than 70 percent of the Americans in the same age range.

Another big difference that explains that divergence is one of culture and politics. Covid vaccinations have become, like so much of America’s pandemic response, polarized along political lines. As of July, 86 percent of Democrats said they were vaccinated, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey, while only 54 percent of Republicans said the same. One in five Republicans said they would “definitely not” get the vaccine.

“This political divide over vaccines has contributed to the US falling behind European countries when it comes to coverage levels,” Josh Michaud, associate director of global health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told me.

There are pockets of vaccine hesitancy in Europe, especially in Germany and France, but nothing on the scale of what we have seen in the United States. In Portugal, as reflected in its exemplary vaccination rate, skeptics have a very low public profile.

“We don’t need to convince people to get vaccinated,” Gonçalo Figueiredo Augusto, who studies public health at NOVA University Lisbon, told me over Zoom. “People want to.””

In Portugal, There Is Virtually No One Left to Vaccinate

“Portugal’s health care system was on the verge of collapse. Hospitals in the capital, Lisbon, were overflowing and authorities were asking people to treat themselves at home. In the last week of January, nearly 2,000 people died as the virus spread.

The country’s vaccine program was in a shambles, so the government turned to Vice Adm. Henrique Gouveia e Melo, a former submarine squadron commander, to right the ship.

Eight months later, Portugal is among the world’s leaders in vaccinations, with roughly 86% of its population of 10.3 million fully vaccinated. About 98% of all of those eligible for vaccines — meaning anyone over 12 — have been fully vaccinated, Gouveia e Melo said.”

If Texas Businesses Are Free To Require Face Masks, Why Can’t They Require Proof of Vaccination?

“there is ample evidence that vaccines sharply reduce the risk of infection and are even more effective at preventing life-threatening symptoms. Furthermore, schools have a long history of requiring that students be vaccinated against other diseases. Abbott’s order nevertheless says “state agencies and political subdivisions shall not adopt or enforce any order, ordinance, policy, regulation. rule, or similar measure that requires an individual to provide, as a condition of receiving any service or entering any place, documentation regarding the individual’s vaccination status for any COVID-19 vaccine administered under an emergency use authorization.” That prohibition also applies to “any public or private entity that is receiving or will receive public funds through any means, including grants, contracts, loans, or other disbursements of taxpayer money.””

“a state law that Abbott signed on June 16 goes further, saying “a business in this state may not require a customer to provide any documentation certifying the customer’s COVID-19 vaccination or post-transmission recovery on entry to, to gain access to, or to receive service from the business.” It says any business that violates this provision is ineligible for state contracts, and it allows state agencies to “require compliance with that subsection as a condition for a license, permit, or other state authorization necessary for conducting business in this state.””

“”Texas is open 100 percent, and we want to make sure that you have the freedom to go where you want without limits,” Abbott declared after signing the law banning proof-of-vaccination requirements. That position sacrifices private property rights and freedom of association in the name of an unlimited “freedom” that has never been legally recognized: the freedom of any given customer to dictate the terms on which businesses offer products or services.”

“assuming that school vaccine mandates are justified with respect to other communicable diseases, it is hard to see why COVID-19 should be treated differently—leaving aside the lack of full FDA approval, which is expected to be remedied soon. One counterargument is that COVID-19, which rarely causes life-threatening symptoms in children and teenagers, poses a less serious danger to them than other diseases for which vaccination is required.* Still, requiring teachers and students to be vaccinated certainly seems like a more cost-effective policy than requiring them to wear masks all day.”

“it hardly makes sense to say that private businesses should be free to require face masks, on the theory that customers who don’t like that rule can go elsewhere, while prohibiting them from requiring proof of vaccination, which likewise is not tantamount to a legal requirement.”

Alabama governor says ‘it’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks’ as pandemic worsens

“Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued an impassioned plea for residents of her state to get vaccinated against Covid-19, arguing it was “time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks” for the disease’s continued spread.

“I want folks to get vaccinated. That’s the cure. That prevents everything,” Ivey, a Republican, told reporters in Birmingham, Ala., on Thursday.”

“Alabama remains the state with perhaps the lowest vaccination rate in the country, according to the CDC: Only 39.6 percent of its residents 12 and older have been fully vaccinated, compared to the 48.8 percent of Americans nationally who have gotten their shots.”

“The Delta variant now represents more than 83 percent of the virus circulating in the United States, according to the CDC, and unvaccinated people account for 97 percent of coronavirus-related hospitalizations and deaths nationally.”

Black Markets in COVID-19 Vaccines Were Inevitable Once Government Got Involved

“In the U.S., a botched and politicized COVID-19 vaccine distribution process seems to be fueling a black market in vaccines.
Anyone with knowledge of their fellow humans could have seen this coming. Limited supplies and controlled distribution of a product in high demand incentivize people to jump the line, or to make money by offering to help others do so.

“There absolutely will be a black market,” New York University bioethicist Arthur Caplan commented at the beginning of December. “Anything that’s seen as lifesaving, life-preserving, and that’s in short supply creates black markets.””

“In the end, federal promises of 20 million vaccinations administered by the end of the year were off by a lot, with the actual number just over 2 million.”

“Cochrane believes governments should have got out of the way of companies that could have sold people what they need to deal with the pandemic, including vaccines. “The government could buy too,” he offers, but “allowing the vaccine to go to the highest bidders—and allowing people to get it at CVS or administer it themselves—would have rolled vaccines out much faster.””

Vaccines Don’t Save Lives. Vaccinations Save Lives.

“It’s great to have highly effective vaccines, but as the researchers observe, “How well a vaccine program ‘works’ will also depend on how quickly it can be manufactured, how efficiently it can be distributed to locations in greatest need, how persuasive health messaging can be in promoting public acceptance, and how consistently the public can adhere to the many complementary prevention strategies (e.g., masks, hand-washing, distancing) to limit the spread of the virus.”