Why isn’t this pandemic over yet?

Does this seem like the pandemic that never ends? Every time we think it’s slowing down, close to the end, almost over at last, the virus surges somewhere in this country or abroad. In India, the tragedy is beyond description, but here in the United States, the map of the latest state outbreaks is quite discouraging. We should have a handle on this by now. We have vaccines that work. We have enough to go around and people to administer the shots. We have assurances from the CDC, encouragement from the President, and no charge for a 95 percent chance of staying alive. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.

Yet, more than half of unvaccinated Americans don’t plan to get the coronavirus shot. According to a new Washington Post-ABC poll on how Americans feel about the vaccines and vaccine requirements, around 120 million American adults still haven’t received any of the shots. When unvaccinated poll respondents were asked whether they planned to do so, 56 percent said no. Why is that?

Here are some of the reasons:

  • Eagerness to get the COVID-19 vaccine remains highest among Democrats, although it is waning; eight in ten Democrats say they’ve already gotten at least one dose of the vaccine or will get it as soon as possible.
  • Enthusiasm for the vaccine has slowed among rural residents with 55 percent saying they have already gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or want to get the vaccine.
  • Vaccine commitment has also slowed among urban residents, with about two-thirds saying they have gotten the vaccine or want to get it when they can.
  • Black and Hispanic adults remain somewhat more likely than White adults to say they want to “wait and see” before getting vaccinated.
  • Lack of information is still a barrier to getting a COVID-19 vaccine for many adults, particularly people of color.
  • Three in ten unvaccinated adults overall—42 percent of Hispanic adults—say they are not sure whether they’re currently eligible to get a vaccine in their state, even though eligibility is now open to all US adults.
  • Many concerns about COVID-19 vaccination are expressed at higher rates by people of color compared to White adults.
  • Nearly six in ten Hispanic adults (58 percent) under age fifty say they are concerned that the vaccine may negatively impact their future fertility,
  • Potential access-related barriers to vaccination are more commonly expressed as concerns by Black and Hispanic adults compared to White adults.
  • People of all backgrounds say they are very or somewhat concerned about each of the following when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine. They fear …
    • experiencing serious side effects
    • needing to miss work if the side effects of the vaccine make them feel sick for a day or more
    • being required to get vaccinated even if they don’t want to
    • having to pay an out-of-pocket cost to get the COVID-19 vaccine
    • being required to provide a social security number or government-issued ID in order to get the COVID-19 vaccine
    • having difficulty traveling to a vaccination site
    • needing to take time off work to go and get the COVID vaccine
    • being unable to get the vaccine from a place they trust
    • that the COVID-19 vaccines are not as safe as they are said to be

Those are just a few of the fears that are discouraging some Americans from being vaccinated, which explains why this pandemic isn’t over yet.