Even though millions of Americans are receiving coronavirus vaccinations daily throughout the country, health officials warn that the supply soon could surpass the demand, an ominous sign that vaccine hesitancy could slow herd immunity in the country.
“While timing may differ by state, we estimate that across the U.S. as a whole we will likely reach a tipping point on vaccine enthusiasm in the next 2 to 4 weeks,” said a new Kaiser Family Foundation report, according to CNN. “Once this happens, efforts to encourage vaccination will become much harder, presenting a challenge to reaching the levels of herd immunity that are expected to be needed.”
About 40.1% of the population has received at least one coronavirus dose and 26% of the population is fully vaccinated, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. Health officials say 70-85% of the country needs to be immune from the coronavirus either through vaccination or prior infection to stop the spread of the virus.
Experts say a slow vaccine demand now could give more virulent strains of the virus a chance to spread and start new surges, in addition to delaying the country’s return to an appearance of normalcy, CNN reported.
As of Tuesday, the U.S. has administered roughly 213 million of its 272 million available vaccine doses, with 86 million Americans fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.