The number of Americans skipping their second doses of two-shot COVID-19 vaccines has more than doubled since February, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data.
Meanwhile, the number of people getting a first dose is falling off even faster than the decline in the number of people completing their vaccine regimens, a DailyMail.com analysis of CDC statistics shows.
More than one billion COVID-19 vaccines have now been given worldwide, including over 228 million in the U.S. alone – but the data suggests an abrupt slowdown in the American rollout, before the nation reaches a third of its total population fully vaccinated.
The CDC estimates that more than five million people who got a first COVID-19 shot had missed their second as of April 9.
And last week, half as many Americans got a first dose of coronavirus vaccine compared to the prior week.
In a statement emailed to DailyMail.com, the CDC said that about eight percent of Americans who had had a first dose as of April 9, and had had ‘ample’ time to get a second had not done so.
The number of people getting a first dose (red) is falling off even faster than the decline in the number of people completing their vaccine regimens, a DailyMail.com analysis of CDC statistics shows. The number of Americans skipping second shots (blue) has doubled since February, according to the CDC
By comparison, 3.4 percent of people who had gotten their first dose had missed the second as of a February CDC report.
CDC spokespeople did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for data on how the number of people getting second doses had declined from week to week.
The overall rate of vaccinations has declined in the U.S. since the first week in April, when it peaked at nearly 4.2 million doses a day, according to CDC data.
Due to reporting delays, the most recent five days of vaccinations are likely an undercount, according to the CDC.
Even so, the seven-day rolling average of daily vaccinations on April 20 was 2.6 million – down from more than 3.2 million on April 11.
The CDC has not released a breakdown of how many people each week have gotten a first and second dose of Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines respectively.
However, it does release daily rates of first doses given and rates of people becoming fully vaccinated (with the second of either of those two vaccines, or a single dose of Johnson & Johnson’s shot).
DailyMail.com has roughly calculated the gap between people who had a first dose of Moderna’s and Pfizer’s vaccines in the past month, and how many would have been expected to get a second dose.
In total, about eight million people became fully vaccinated last week (ending in Friday) in the U.S.
To-date, 52 percent of all shots given in the U.S. have been Pfizer’s. Doses should be given three weeks apart.
Another 43 percent of shots given in the U.S. so far were made by Moderna, for which the two doses should come four weeks apart.
At those rates, last week should have seen 5.1 million second doses of Moderna vaccine, and more than 6.3 million second doses of Pfizer’s shot, for a total of nearly 11.5 million people getting fully vaccinated.
But according to the CDC’s data, last weeks vaccinations fell more than 2.5 million short of that.
It’s a very crude estimate, but gives a rough idea of just how many second doses are being skipped.
Some people have opted out of the second dose because they believe they’re sufficiently protected with a single shot. Others are fearful of the flulike side effects.
But the fault isn’t just on the millions who haven’t received their second dose. Vaccine providers have been forced to cancel second-dose appointments because they ran out of supply.
Others have made administrative mistakes.
In one example, several Walgreens customers were unable to get their second because they didn’t have the right vaccine on hand, according to the Times.
‘I’m very worried, because you need that second dose,’ Dr Paul Offit, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, told the newspaper.
Some states are also finding that people aren’t interested in getting the shots and are having to turn down vaccine deliveries. Louisiana has stopped asking the federal government for its full allotment of COVID-19 vaccine.
About three-quarters of Kansas counties have turned down new shipments of the vaccine at least once over the past month. And in Mississippi, officials asked the federal government to ship vials in smaller packages so they don’t go to waste.
As the supply of coronavirus vaccine doses in the US outpaces demand, some places around the country are finding there’s such little interest in the shots, they need to turn down shipments.
More than five million people who have received their first COVID-19 shot have skipped out on their second dose
That estimate represents nearly eight per cent of the American population who received the first shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines
‘It is kind of stalling. Some people just don’t want it,’ said Stacey Hileman, a nurse with the health department in rural Kansas’ Decatur County, where less than a third of the county’s 2,900 residents have received at least one vaccine dose.
The dwindling demand for vaccines illustrates the challenge that the US faces in trying to conquer the pandemic while at the same time dealing with the optics of tens of thousands of doses sitting on shelves when countries like India and Brazil are in the midst of full-blown medical emergencies.
More than half of American adults have received at least one vaccine dose, and President Joe Biden last week celebrated eclipsing 200 million doses administered in his first 100 days in office. He also acknowledged entering a new phase to bolster outreach and overcome hesitancy.
Across the country, pharmacists and public health officials are seeing the demand wane and supplies build up. About half of Iowa’s counties have stopped asking for new doses from the state, and Louisiana didn’t seek shipment of some vaccine doses over the past week.
Some are urging federal officials to send more vaccine to places where there’s demand — rather than allocate them based on population — including Massachusetts Republican Gov Charlie Baker, who said on Thursday they could administer two to three times more doses per day if they had more supply.
More than half of American adults have received at least one vaccine dose, and President Joe Biden last week celebrated eclipsing 200 million doses administered in his first 100 days in office
In Mississippi, small-town pharmacist Robin Jackson has been practically begging anyone in the community to show up and get shots after she received her first shipment of vaccine earlier this month and demand was weak, despite placing yard signs outside her storefront celebrating the shipment’s arrival. She was wasting more vaccine than she was giving out and started coaxing family members into the pharmacy for shots.
‘Nobody was coming,’ she said. ‘And I mean no one.’
In Barber County, Kansas, which has turned down vaccine doses from the state for two of the past four weeks, Danielle Farr said she has no plans to be vaccinated. The 32-year-old said she got COVID-19 last year, along with her 5- and 12-year-old sons and her husband.
Blood tests detected antibodies for the virus in all four of them, so she figures they’re already protected.
‘I believe in vaccines that have eradicated terrible diseases for the past 60, 70 years. I totally and fully believe in that,’ said Farr, who works at an accounting firm. ‘Now a vaccine that was rushed in six, seven months, I’m just going to be a little bit more cautious about what I choose to put into my body.’
Barbara Gennaro, a stay-at-home mother of two small children in Yazoo City, Mississippi, said everybody in her homeschooling community is against getting the vaccine. Gennaro said she generally avoids vaccinations for her family in general, and the coronavirus vaccine is no different.
‘All of the strong Christians that I associate with are against it,’ she said. ‘Fear is what drives people to get the vaccine — plain and simple. The stronger someone’s trust is in the Lord, the least likely they are to want the vaccine or feel that it’s necessary.’
Another challenge for vaccinations in a rural state like Mississippi is that in many cases, doses are being shipped in large packages with one vial containing at least 10 doses.
During a news conference in early April, Republican Gov Tate Reeves said Mississippi officials have requested that the federal government send the vaccines in smaller packaging so it’s not going to waste.
‘If you’re in New York City, and you’re sending a package to one of the large pharmacies in downtown Manhattan, there are literally millions and millions of people within walking distance most likely of that particular pharmacy,’ Reeves said. ‘Well, if you’re in rural Itta Bena, Mississippi, that’s just not the case.’
To combat the hesitancy, Louisiana continues to increase its outreach work with community organizations and faith-based leaders, set up a hotline to help people schedule appointments, and work to find free transportation to a vaccination center.
The health department is sending out more than 100,000 mailers on Monday to encourage people to get vaccinated, and robocalls from regional medical directors are going out to landline phones around the state.
In New Mexico, state officials are exploring the recruitment of ‘community champions’ — trusted residents of regions with vaccine hesitancy who can address concerns about safety and efficacy. Question-and-answer style town halls are also a possibility. And video testimonials about coronavirus vaccines have already been recorded.
Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, said now that everyone qualifies to get vaccinated, public health officials are encountering three groups: ‘not able,’ ‘not now’ and ‘not ever’.
The first group, he said, isn’t able to get their shots because there’s some kind of barrier. The ‘not nows’ have earnest questions about vaccine safety, efficacy and whether they need the shot.
He said they’re not prepared to write off ‘not evers,’ but instead are ‘working to find trusted messengers like doctors, family members, community members’ to give them good information.
In Corinth, Mississippi, pharmacist Austin Bullard said a lot of people were waiting to become vaccinated until a one-dose shot became available. The news about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and the risk for blood-clotting — however slim — has scared people about getting any type of vaccination.
‘I do feel like there has been more hesitancy across the board since then,’ he said.
On Friday, health officials lifted the 11-day pause on COVID-19 vaccinations using Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose shot, after scientific advisers decided its benefits outweigh a rare risk of blood clot.
The government uncovered 15 vaccine recipients who developed a highly unusual kind of blood clot out of nearly 8 million people given the J&J shot. All were women, most under age 50. Three died, and seven remain hospitalized.
But ultimately, federal health officials decided that J&J’s one-and-done vaccine is critical to fight the pandemic — and that the small clot risk could be handled with warnings to help younger women decide if they should use that shot or an alternative.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the J&J vaccine has important advantages for some people who were anxiously awaiting its return.
And the Food and Drug Administration updated online vaccine information leaflets for would-be recipients and health workers.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky added that the pause should increase confidence in vaccine safety, showing ‘that we are taking every one of those needles in a haystack that we find seriously’.