Vaccine Update: The Path to Immunity


Staff Editorial

As of Wednesday morning, according to data obtained from Bloomberg, more than 319 million doses have been administered around the globe with the 7-day moving average sitting around 8.25 million doses per day. The vaccination rates of Israel, Seychelles and the United Arab Emirates currently exceed all other countries with doses administered per 100 people of 98.51, 87.99 and 56.01, respectively.

In the U.S., 93.7 million doses have been administered, with the number of Americans receiving at least one dose of this vaccine recently overtaking the cumulative total of positive cases last month. Not to mention, the U.S. recently achieved a new daily record for vaccinations with 2.9 million doses being administered last Friday alone.

A few states (e.g. North Dakota, Minnesota, New Mexico) have led the country’s vaccination efforts as the U.S. continues to make strides in the vaccine front by increasing its supply of the three COVID-19 vaccines approved for emergency use by the FDA while also working to resolve any ongoing logistical challenges.

In fact, the White House announced yesterday that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will be purchasing an additional 100 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the coming weeks.

Although admittedly ambitious, this target is plausible due to a rare partnership between two competitors — Merch and Johnson & Johnson — that was brokered by the government. The Defense Production Act will be employed to assist in equipping two Merck facilities to manufacture Johnson & Johnson vaccines — a political win for the Biden Administration.

Additionally, with billions allocated towards enhancing vaccine manufacturing and distribution, the American Rescue Package awaiting President Biden’s signature will also considerably assist in expanding the country’s ability to distribute vaccines and have them administered quickly.

This news emerges a week after President Biden, as reported by CNN, made the statement that the “U.S. would have enough COVID-19 vaccine doses for every adult American by the end of May,” a date that is two-months ahead of his initial timeline.

Anthony Fauci — the top infectious-disease official — has said several times now that between 70-85% of Americans must be vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity, which will initiate our long-awaited return to normalcy. Referencing Bloomberg’s Vaccine Tracker, with the latest vaccination rate of 2,168,688 doses per day on average, it would take approximately 6 months to vaccinate 75% of the U.S. population with a vaccine requiring two-doses.

As we move closer towards the light at the end of the tunnel, much uncertainty remains ahead as we all work together to navigate this complex and confusing reality known as COVID-19. That being said, the U.S. must continue to improve the manufacturing and distribution of vaccines as the only way to guide this great nation to total recovery is to first, whether we like it or not, achieve herd immunity.