Daily vaccination rate slowing down; could we see local vaccine incentives?

NOW: Daily vaccination rate slowing down; could we see local vaccine incentives?

More than 42% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, but daily vaccination numbers nationwide are slowing down.

“We knew before the vaccine rollout began that there would be a certain population that would be eager and willing to get the vaccine right away, and then some that maybe wanted to wait and see or have some questions they needed to answer first,” Berrien County Health Department spokesperson Gillian Conrad said.

“What we’ve seen here over the last three to four weeks has been this increase in the 12 to 15-year-olds,” Fox said. “So a lot of our appointments are in that age group, but we are seeing at least some, some trickling in what I would call the wait and see group of eligible people who wanted to wait a while.”

In Indiana, vaccination numbers by county revealed Michiana counties are almost equal when it comes to the percentage of people who have received their shot, and those who are fully vaccinated.

As of Wednesday, LaGrange, Marshall and Fulton counties have the closest percentages. In LaGrange, just 22.4% of residents have received the first dose, while 22% are fully vaccinated. In Marshall County, 38.7% received the first shot and 38.4% have been fully vaccinated. In Fulton County, 34.6% of residents have received the first shot and 34.5% are fully vaccinated.

Dr. Fox said St. Joseph County was averaging about 3,000 vaccinations a day between early and mid-April, now the county is down to about 500 doses a day. Over the past two weeks, more than 50% of doses have been first doses, according to Dr. Fox.

“I refer to that as getting new customers in the door, so it’s not just that we’re completing the series for someone who started a month ago, but we’re getting new, new people in the door, seeking the vaccine,” Fox said.

Across the state line in Michigan, 50.4% of Berrien County residents received the first dose, while 44.8% are fully vaccinated. In Cass County, 35.4% have received the first shot and 31.2% are fully vaccinated. In St. Joseph County, 41.7% received the first dose and 37.8% are fully vaccinated.

“Here in Berrien County, we have just over 50% of our population with at least one dose of the vaccine, and we continue to make progress towards that goal each and every week, not just with the vaccines provided through the health department, but through our partners at the hospitals, federally qualified health centers and most area pharmacies in our county,” Conrad said.

Several states across the U.S. are even offering sweet cash incentives to get the shot, but not Indiana or Michigan.

In Berrien County, just last week the health department teamed up, offering a fair food voucher to those who rolled up their sleeves.

“We are exploring the different opportunities that might exist with providing incentives to get those vaccinations, especially in some of those harder to reach populations,” Conrad explained.

“I do think that could be an effective mechanism for trying to encourage people who have been sitting on the fence to make the decision to move forward and get the vaccine,” Fox said.

Even with millions of Americans fully vaccinated, there are a few ‘breakthrough’ COVID-19 deaths in people who have received both shots. Health officials said it is nothing to be too concerned about, most of these cases are in people who have pre-existing conditions or compromised immune systems. No vaccine is 100% effective, but almost universally prevents death and serious complications.

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