“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.”
‘We have slots going unfilled’
Kristy Fryman, the emergency response coordinator and public information officer for the Mercer County Health District in Ohio, told CNN on Tuesday that vaccine demand in the county is “slowing down.”
The county’s younger population isn’t as eager to get vaccinated, Fryman said, and “have the sense that if they get Covid, it may not be as bad.”
Others, she said, are opting to wait “to see how the side effects are.”
“We’ve been going back to the drawing board trying to figure out how to get more people vaccinated but … we can only do so much,” Fryman added.
Earlier in the pandemic, Mercer County was among the hardest hit parts of the state. Now, Fryman said, the county is again reporting a rise in Covid-19 cases.
“It’s concerning that we’re seeing an increase and that population does not want to get vaccinated,” she said.
In Spring Lake, Michigan, emergency room physician Dr. Rob Davidson said Tuesday that local officials there are also growing increasingly concerned over the hesitancy they’re seeing.
“We have slots going unfilled, I know in West Michigan and other parts, particularly in rural Michigan,” he said.
Experts recommend people continue mask-wearing post-vaccine
For Americans who are fully vaccinated, experts said it’s best to keep wearing a mask.
“If you are vaccinated, you are protecting yourself and you probably won’t get sick but we don’t know how long the virus is going to live in your respiratory system after you catch it,” Dr. Jorge Rodriguez, internal medicine specialist and CNN medical analyst, said Tuesday. “So therefore, you are potentially contagious to others.”
As for gatherings, Rodriguez said fully vaccinated Americans should be opting to meet only with others who are also vaccinated.
Experts have highlighted that even as vaccinations climb, it will be important for people to keep following Covid-19 safety measures until the country is able to suppress the spread of the virus.
About 61% of respondents are social distancing, which is down six percentage points from last month and 13 points from two months ago.
The percentage of people wearing a mask at all times when they leave the house — 63% — is the lowest since the summer and down 10 percentage points since two months ago.
Meanwhile, the perceived risks associated with activities like shopping in retail and grocery stores and attending sporting events is also declining.
CNN’s Naomi Thomas and Maggie Fox contributed to this report.