The United States has vaccinated a huge number of people against the coronavirus very quickly, but speculation that we could hit a wall during the drive toward herd immunity is starting to look like more than a theory.
Recent polling tells us that willingness to get a shot is divided along partisan lines and numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tell us the polls are probably correct.
A significantly higher number of vaccines are going unused in Republican states and even within the more conservative areas of Democratic states.
The data indicate as many as one in three doses are unused in some states. Appointments for shots often go untaken, with few people signing up. [...]
In Charlottesville, a mostly Democratic area that is home to the University of Virginia, vaccine appointments are tough to snag even with two mass clinics right in town. In Lynchburg, 70 miles south and dominated by conservative Liberty University, open appointments at an old TJ Maxx are easy to find. The disparity has led to in-state vaccine tourism where residents in northern Virginia flock south to snap up shots that would otherwise go unused. The wide availability of vaccines also signals that areas like Lynchburg may be running out of residents willing to get vaccinated. [...]
Taken together, the worst-performing quartile of states holds 14.1 million unused doses, meaning that 31% of doses delivered in those states are yet to be marked as used. In the best-performing quartile of states, only 11% of doses were unused.
A government-issued "vaccine passport" of some description will likely never become a thing for various reasons, but privately-owned businesses, employers, and venues requiring proof of vaccination may be the only way we'll reach herd immunity.
If people want to go to a crowded concert, for example, they should have to provide proof of vaccination to enter the venue. Selfish people who want to go back do doing those things without helping to make it possible themselves deserve to be coerced in that manner.
I consider it relatively easy to sit here and say 'fuck'em, if they want to get sick and die that's on them' but the reality is vaccine hesitancy will also make it more difficult for the rest of us to resume more normal lives. It's going to take longer for safety restrictions to be lifted if too many people refuse to get vaccinated.
My arm was a little sore after my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, but that's it. It was no big deal.