US may reach herd immunity after all, survey suggests: Nearly 70% of adults say they WILL get vaccinated against Covid or already have as the share who will refuse the shot falls to 17%
- Among American adults, 69% have either had at least one dose or plan to get vaccinated against COVID-19, the latest Economist/YouGov survey suggests
- The share who say they will not get vaccinated has fallen to 17% – the fewest since August
- 14% of U.S. adults said they were still ‘unsure’ whether they’d get vaccinated
- Nearly 60 percent of adult Americans have now had at least their first dose of vaccine and about 45% are fully vaccinated
- On Monday, the FDA authorized Pfizer’s vaccine to be given to children between ages 12 and 15 – making another 17 million people eligible for vaccination
Nearly enough American adults plan to be vaccinated against COVID-19 – or already have been – for the U.S. to reach herd immunity, a new survey suggests.
The latest YouGov/Economist poll found that 69 percent of adults have had a first dose, are fully vaccinated or plan to get vaccinated against the virus that claimed the lives of more than 580,000 people in the U.S. since the pandemic began.
And the share of adults who say they will not get vaccinated has fallen to its lowest level in at least 10 months: 17 percent.
Even among the groups that have been skeptical about getting vaccinated, the level of uptake is on the rise, with 61 percent of Republicans saying they have had or will get the vaccine, up from about 40 percent in January.
The results are promising signs that the U.S. could reach the 70 percent herd immunity threshold initially proposed by public health experts.
Already, average daily deaths in the U.S. are on course to hit their lowest point since the pandemic began in America in March 2020, falling to 620 a day on Tuesday as the share of adults fully vaccinated rises to 45 percent and health officials authorize Pfizer’s shot to be given to kids ages 12-15.
However, there are emerging threats on the horizon. Two-thirds of cases in the U.S. are now estimated to be caused by the more rapidly spreading UK variant, and cases caused by the variant devastating India are slowly ticking up (although they account for less than one percent of U.S. infections, according to the CDC).
The latest YouGov/Economist poll found that 69 percent of adults have had a first dose, are fully vaccinated or plan to get vaccinated against COVID-19
With the more infectious U.K. variant now dominant in the U.S., the bar for herd immunity is rising – likely requiring more than 80 percent of Americans to be vaccinated.
And despite the growing share of the population who wants the vaccine, the number of people actually getting them each day has declined sharply since mid-April.
Average daily vaccinations in the U.S. peaked at about 3.3 million a day around April 15, but had fallen to fewer than two million by May 8.
Declines likely came about after the vast majority of people who were eager to get inoculated had already done so.
Public health officials worried that perhaps the U.S. had vaccinated up to the threshold of who is hesitant to get the shots earlier than expected.
But the YouGov/Economist survey is just the most recent to show the share of Americans who say they don’t want vaccine is shrinking.
And the share who want the shot is rising.
The U.S. may not see over three million shots a day any time soon, but the survey suggests the overall vaccination rate could continue to steadily rise.
Republicans and Independents in the U.S. have been more reluctant about vaccination compared to Democrats.
In August, about 60 percent of Democrats already wanted to get vaccinated, compared to about a third of Independents and Republicans.
Interestingly, the rate of uptake dipped to its lowest point among liberals in October, around the time former President Trump tested positive for COVID-19.
Vaccine confidence declined slowly but steadily among Independents and Republicans in January, around the time of President Biden’s inauguration.
But confidence is on the rise among all groups now.
About 61 percent of Republicans and 52 percent of Independents now say they will get or have gotten the shots.
As of Tuesday, 87 percent of Democrats surveyed want the vaccine.
However, a previous YouGov/Economist survey found that 80 percent of people who don’t want a COVID-19 vaccine said nothing will change their minds.
Current numbers for vaccine uptake put U.S. adults right at the lowest suggested bar for herd immunity.
More infectious variants then could put herd immunity out of reach for the U.S., if those who say they’ve dug their heels in against the vaccine don’t change their minds.