The number of shots being administered a day has slowed to a crawl, even in parts of the country with low rates of vaccine hesitancy.
In New York City, more than 115,000 were given in a single day on April 8. Yesterday, that figure was four-fold lower. Just 28,193 shots were recorded by the city and even if that reflects a lag in data, it’s a dramatic drop.
The city is so flush in shots, it now offers walk-up vaccines for anyone at all city-run sites (so long as supply lasts), but instead of lines snaking around city blocks, clinics saw a steady and likely slowing trickle of visitors looking for shots.
So who is missing from the vaccination drive? Neither NYC nor the U.S. as a whole has vaccinated nearly enough people for only the hesitant to be left, and there is no shortage of vaccine supply or appointments.
Caught in the current limbo are people for whom getting vaccines presents a complicated logistical challenge: Those who work multiple jobs or shift work that they can’t afford to miss, who don’t have an easy way to get to a vaccination site or are simply unaware that how to get a shot.
During the April 17-25 walk-in clinic pilot program for people 50 and older, for example, only three clinics were open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The rest closed by 8pm at the latest. For people working many essential jobs, that’s well before they clock off, although many clinics were open on weekends as well.
Things have gotten easier, A vaccination advocate told DailyMail.com, but now people are also less motivated to get shots, as cases and deaths decline and the situation appears less dire. To solve the issue of getting to a vaccination clinic with little free time, advocates would like to see the city offer vans to bring people to and from clinics.
Shots are declining across the country. Just 1.2 million COVID-19 shots were given to Americans on Monday – the fewest vaccinations since February 23, Bloomberg data tracking reveals.
Even for a typically slow Monday, that was an abysmal vaccination rate, considering that for weeks the U.S. was giving an average of more than three million shots a day.
Now, the seven-day rolling average of daily vaccinations has plummeted to 2.3 million, down nearly a third compared to the rate of 3.4 million a day seen just three weeks ago.
Nearly half of the U.S. population – 44 percent – has now had at least one dose of Covid vaccines and nearly 32 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated.
Despite the fact that fewer than half of NYC residents have had at least a first dose of Covid vaccine,28,000 shots were given yesterday, down four fold from the April 8 peak of more than 115,000 in a day
Nationwide, the number of daily shots fell wo a low since February with just 1.2 million shots given – down from more than three million a day given just three weeks ago
Put simply: just because a pharmacy within a several mile radius of someone’s home has plenty of vaccine doses doesn’t mean that those doses are accessible to the people who need them.
And then there’s the paradox presented by improving Covid numbers. As vaccinations creep up, things are looking less dire in the U.S., with fewer than 50,000 new infections identified a day – a 28 percent drop in two weeks – and average daily deaths hovering just under 700, compared to nearly 840 a month prior.
That’s great news, but it may be disincentivizing some people from getting vaccinated as they see that the nation is headed in the right direction without them getting vaccinated.
‘There is no rushed feeling of “I have to get it right now,” because vaccines are available everywhere,’ Lorraine Braithwaite-Harte, Health Chair of the NAACP’s New York State Conference told DailyMail.com.
And coupled with a reduced sense of urgency, getting a shot is still not convenient for a broad swath of people in New York and the U.S.
‘Many people think, “I have to get to work, I can’t fit vaccination in with the hours I have to see the hours when I can get it.”
‘It’s not as pressing. People want the vaccine, but it’s a question of how convenient it is.’
For many, the mindset is, ‘I’ll get it. When I get it, I’ll get it, but when am I going to get it?’ Braithwaite-Hart says.
Most pharmacies and clinics offering shots are in Manhattan, and hundreds of thousands of people in the outer boroughs are likely still not within walking distance of a vaccination site, and many have limited hours
Yankee stadiums mass vaccination site was practically empty on April 28, when walk-up appointments were available. But NYC vaccination advocates say the focus needs to be on vaccination clinics with flexible hours that are in locations convenient to people who need to get vaccinated
Citywide, 55 percent of adult New Yorkers have had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 40 percent of people are fully vaccinated.
As a factor of the total population, 32 percent of people are fully vaccinated and 44 percent have had at least a first dose.
But those rates vary dramatically. Just as can be seen from state-to-state, higher or lower rates of vaccination say a lot about the demographics of NYC’s five boroughs.
The highest vaccination rates are in Manhattan, where nearly half of adults (49 percent) are already fully vaccinated and 64 percent have had at least one dose.
The next highest rate is in QUeens, where 42 percent of adults are fully vaccinated, followed by Staten Island with 41 percent and Brooklyn with 35 percent of residents fully vaccinated.
NYC’s lowest vaccination rate is in the Bronx, where just 34 percent of people are fully vaccinated and 46 percent have had at least their first dose.
That still puts the Bronx ahead of the U.S. average for vaccinations, but lagging well behind the rest of the city.
And rates are worst among some of the most at-risk people in NYC.
Just 30 percent of black New Yorkers have had a first dose of vaccine. the rate ranges from 29 percent in the Bronx to 37 percent in Manhattan.
By comparison, 68 percent of Asian and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander people and 49 percent of White Nor Yorkers are fully vaccinated.
The current trends in vaccinations are a painful mirror of the trend in Covid case, hospitalizations and deaths in the U.S.
Black Americans are 2.8 times more likely to be hospitalized if they catch coronavirus and nearly twice as likely to die of the infection compared to white Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Factors like lower average incomes, poorer access to health care, higher rates of chronic disease and a greater likelihood of working essential jobs and being exposed to COVID-19 put communities of color at higher risk than white Americans.
NYC’s massive wealth gaps played a role in the blatant racial disparities of the pandemic itself, and are now doing so again in the vaccination campaign.
‘People with money left the city [when it was the global epicenter of the Covid pandemic] and went to areas that were not as densely populated to avoid the virus,’ explained Braithwaite-Harte.
‘If you’re poor you can’t pick yourself up and go.’
She saw a similar pattern play out for vaccinations.
‘Yes it was important to have those big vaccination sites, but lots of them were in neighborhoods in Manhattan where affluence exists,’ Lorraine says.
‘There, you have a large pool of the white population that is highly vaccinated. The more prominent, financially speaking, a neighborhood is, the higher the vaccination rates have been.
‘They didn’t have a the rate of death in those neighborhoods that indigent and poorer neighborhoods did. It’s a glaring divide, it’s a racial divide and you cannot escape that in NYC or any inner-city area.
‘Show me your zip code and I’ll show you what’s happening there.’
Braithwaite-Harte does community outreach through a program called Let’s Get Immunized NYC, and has heard more than her share of disappointing stories about attempts to get vaccinated.
Miscommunications have abounded during the vaccine rollout, resulting in people showing up to a vaccination site set up just to help vaccinate people in communities of color just to find out it had been dismantled because the school site was reopening for classes.
Braithwaite-Harte says that one thing that could help the people who need vaccine doses most get them would be for the city to provide transportation to and from vaccination sites, much like the vans offered to get people to vision check or flu shot clinics in NYC.