Why are so few people getting the latest Covid-19 vaccine?

“Experts say the public’s disinterest in the latest Covid shots is likely a combination of poor messaging from authorities, a diminishing fear about a virus that three years ago was wholly unknown, and the political polarization of the pandemic itself. But whatever the reasons, that vaccine ambivalence still poses a health threat.
Elderly people and very young infants continue to have a higher chance than the rest of the population that they will be hospitalized with Covid-19. Vaccination rates have fallen off for the former group, who are also most likely to die from an infection, and they were never strong to begin with for the latter”

“The known unknowns for the future, which could spur another round of investment and interest in updated Covid-19 vaccines, are biological. The virus has been evolving and will continue to evolve and could, in theory, reach a point where the current vaccines are ineffectual.

The other question mark is inside of us. The reason many people still enjoy protection from serious illness is because our body’s T-cells are familiar with the virus and can activate when they detect it. They may not be able to stop an infection entirely (that is the role of antibodies, which are quicker to fade) but they can stamp out the virus before a person becomes too sick.

What we don’t know today is how long our T cells’ memory will last, and how durable that immunity really is. The only way to find out is for more time to pass.”


The RSV shot shortage isn’t just a supply problem

“It’s more complicated to fix the fragmented US health care system that creates big barriers to Beyfortus access for some kids, O’Leary said. That system is structured such that many pediatricians have to take huge financial risks to keep Beyfortus in stock. For patients who get care at those practices, access will likely be a little touch-and-go until demand also stabilizes and pediatricians can better forecast how much to stock.
Why is it so risky for some pediatricians to stock certain immunization products?

It has to do with who’s paying for the products, and how much they cost. Pediatric vaccines are paid for and distributed in the US through two main mechanisms. About half of American kids get vaccines paid for by the federal government through a program called Vaccines for Children, or VFC. The program’s goal is to ensure cost isn’t a barrier to vaccinating kids, so eligibility is restricted to kids who are Medicaid-eligible, under- or uninsured, or American Indian or Alaska Native.

The other half of American kids get vaccines paid for by private insurance companies, but only after the pediatrician administers it. What insurance companies pay for each vaccine isn’t always enough to cover its full cost, and the pediatrician often doesn’t know how much an insurance company will pay them for a vaccine until after the fact.

This setup means ordering any vaccine is somewhat of a financial risk to pediatric practices. But because most vaccines are relatively cheap, and because their familiarity to most parents makes demand relatively predictable, the risk is relatively small.

The math is totally different for Beyfortus, though: One dose costs a doctor’s office nearly $500 — and as a totally novel immunization, its popularity was hard to forecast. “For a medium-sized practice, they might have to spend $250,000 to cover their patient population,” O’Leary said. “And that is not money they have lying around.””

“A universal vaccination program that made vaccines available across the lifespan, free of charge, would be wonderful, O’Leary said, and it’s what other industrialized countries like Canada and the United Kingdom do. “But that’s not where we are,” he said.”


‘I can’t believe we’re talking about polio in 2023’

“Former President Donald Trump’s administration marshaled unprecedented federal resources to develop and promote a Covid vaccine in record time. But within a few weeks of its arrival, lingering resentment over lockdowns and mistrust of government led to a widespread backlash, particularly among conservatives, that persists almost three years later. Nearly four in 10 Republicans say they will “definitely” or “probably” get the new vaccine, according to polling conducted by Morning Consult and POLITICO, while nearly eight in 10 Democrats expect to seek out the updated shot.
That skepticism is bleeding over into other vaccines, like those that prevent measles, mumps and rubella. Dr. Umair Shah, Washington state’s secretary of health, said it may even take the death of an influential figure to a vaccine-preventable disease to shock the public back to wider acceptance of immunizations.

“I’m really concerned, and a lot of people in public health and health care are very concerned, that this is the beginning of a really rough and tough time,” Shah said. “Unfortunately, people are going to get sick. We’re going to lose lives.”

For decades, being openly skeptical of vaccines made one a pariah in all but the smallest of political circles. Both parties generally accepted that modern science had made essential breakthroughs in health care. To cast doubt on them placed you on the fringe. But public health officials fear those days are increasingly numbered.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who notched 15 percent support in a Harvard-Harris poll of the Democratic presidential primary field earlier this month, is running on his anti-vaccine bona fides. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, is campaigning on his work to promote “medical freedom” and has said he would put Kennedy on a task force to investigate government overreach in medicine if elected president. Vivek Ramaswamy, a biotech entrepreneur also running for the Republican nomination, has touted his plans to “expose and ultimately gut” the FDA and floated Kennedy as a running mate.

While these candidates are trailing in the polls, their followings are certain to outlast the campaign. Lingering resentment over pandemic restrictions is fueling further skepticism around public health, potentially leading to even lower vaccination rates, wider spread of disease and an inability to address future pandemics.

“Hundreds of thousands of Americans have died in this pandemic because of the bad information about vaccines and treatments,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of the Brown School of Public Health and former White House Covid-19 response coordinator under the Biden administration. “I certainly am worried about what happens over the next three to five years.”

The data show the vast majority of Americans still trust science, listen to doctors and vaccinate their children. But the growing number of those who don’t threatens to undo generations of work combatting deadly and debilitating diseases that haven’t widely circulated for decades.”


New Covid vaccines are coming out. The CDC wants you to get one.

“Updated Covid-19 boosters are needed for two fundamental reasons: first, that the virus is continually evolving, and second, that our immunity wanes over time.”


Here’s what you need to know about new Covid shots

“The updated Covid-19 shots are formulated to prevent severe disease and hospitalization by the XBB1.5 strain, as well as other XBB subvariants, which make up more than 90 percent of the subvariants circulating as of Sept. 2, according to the CDC. This includes EG.5 and FL.1.5.1, which make up more than 30 percent of current cases.
CDC officials said in today’s meeting that lab data also suggest that the updated vaccine will generate neutralizing antibodies against BA.2.86, which has garnered attention due to its high number of mutations. It has only been found in 10 countries worldwide, and seven states within the U.S, but it is not clear that it will gain additional traction.”