A year ago, the largest vaccination drive in American history started with excitement in a otherwise dark December. Many hoped that the outbreak would be ended when trucks loaded with frozen vials of COVID-19 vaccine were driven across the country.
This hasn’t happened. One year later, many Americans are still not vaccinated and many are dying.
As the U.S. vaccine rollout anniversary approaches, the nation’s COVID-19 deaths are estimated to be around 800,000. It was 300,000. It saved countless lives, possibly tens of thousands of people, by using vaccination. However, what could have been a time for celebration of a scientific accomplishment is filled with sorrow and discord.
Francis Collins, Director of National Institutes of Health, said that scientists and officials might have underestimated the impact of misinformation on the “astonishing achievement” of vaccines.
Collins stated that “Deaths still continue… Most of them unvaccinated. Most of the unvaccinated were given information that was dangerous and categorically wrong.” The vaccines were developed and released at lightning speed. They have proven to be extremely safe and highly effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that people who have not been vaccinated are at 14 times the risk of dying than those who have been fully vaccinated. This is based on September data.
They have been effective for most of the time, allowing schools and restaurants to reopen, as well as families and friends to get together for the holidays. Last count showed that 95% of Americans aged 65 or older had received at least one shot.
“In terms of scientific and public health, this is the same category that putting a man in the moon,” Dr. David Dowdy of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said. He’s an infectious-disease epidemiologist.
The first year of vaccines has been difficult. There have been disappointments with breakthrough infections, political strife over mandates, and now worries about whether protection will be available for the mutant omicron.
Dowdy stated that despite all this, “we’re going back and say that the vaccines were an enormous success story.”
The U.S. death rate from COVID-19 reached 300,000. This was the day an eager nation started to roll up its sleeves. The death toll from COVID-19 was at an average of over 2,500 per day, rising quickly, and worse than the horrific spring 2020 when New York City was the epicenter.
The number of deaths in the United States had surpassed 500,000 by February, but it was a marked decline from January’s horrendous heights. As hopes rose in March, many states opened their doors, lifting mask restrictions and limiting indoor dining. In a Fox News interview, former President Donald Trump assured supporters that the vaccine is safe and encouraged them to get it.
However, the threat of COVID-19 was beginning to fade by June and demand had dropped. States and companies turned to incentives to regain interest in vaccination.
It was too little too late. Delta, a highly contagious, mutated coronavirus form, had quietly arrived and was spreading quickly, finding many unvaccinated victims.
Andrew Noymer, a professor of public health at the University of California Irvine, stated that “you have to be almost flawless almost all of the time to beat the virus.” “The vaccine alone does not cause the pandemic to return to Earth.”
The shunning of vaccinations by many Americans is one of the greatest missed opportunities in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rachel McKibbens (45) lost her brother and father to COVID-19 this fall. Both refused to be protected by vaccinations because they believed that shots were poisonous.
McKibbens stated, “What an embarrassment and a tragedy.” It didn’t have be this way.
Since April 19, when all U.S. adults could be vaccinated, more than 228,500 Americans have died of COVID-19. According to an analysis by the Associated Press, this represents 29% of the total number of deaths from coronavirus in the United States since February 2020 when the first cases were reported.
Two states, Florida and Texas, have contributed more than 52,000 deaths to the total since then. After mid-April, death tolls in Alaska, Hawaii and Oregon, Wyoming, Idaho, and Wyoming were also high.
Since then, red states have been more likely to die than blue states.
Noymer stated, “I see America as being in camps.” “The vaccines have become a litmus-test for trust in government.”
Wyoming and West Virginia are the two states that voted for Donald Trump the most in 2016. They have seen about half of their COVID-19 deaths, since all eligible adults in these states were declared vaccine-eligible. Nearly 60% of COVID-19-related deaths in Oklahoma occurred after all adults had been declared vaccine-eligible.
There are exceptions. Hawaii and Oregon, for example, are Joe Biden-supporting States where more than half the COVID-19 death rate occurred after shots were made available to all adults. Both South Dakota and North Dakota, both Trump-supporting states, have maintained their deaths to less than 25% after the vaccine was made available.
Since mid-April, when the state made eligibility available to all adults, California has witnessed more than 15,000 COVID-19 death. McKibbens’ brother and father, both of whom were McKibbens, died in Santa Ana (California) in their shared house.
McKibbens gathered information from texts sent to her brother’s mobile phone. Some of the text messages she received after her brother’s death. These included back-and forth messages with a cousin, who mentioned TikTok for bad advice.
McKibbens said that McKibbens lives in Rochester, New York and “my brother didn’t seek medical attention for dad”. He kept him lying down on his back even though his breathing was becoming more like a motor failure.
Pete Camacho, her father, passed away Oct. 22 at the age of 67. McKibbens flew from Canada to assist with arrangements.
McKibbens recalls that her brother was also sick but refused to let McKibbens into his home because he claimed I had coronavirus and vaccinated. “It was an odd new belief that I hadn’t heard before.”
After noticing that food deliveries had been left unattended on her porch, a friend discovered her brother’s corpse. Peter Camacho, named after his father, passed away Nov. 8, at 44.
McKibbens stated, “For me to lose two-thirds my family, it just level you.”
Some people received important advice too late. Tamara Alves Rodriguez, seven months pregnant, tested positive for the coronavirus August 9. After many pregnant women fell ill two days later, U.S. officials increased their advice to all mothers-to be to get vaccinated.
Rodriguez tried to get immunized weeks before but was denied by a pharmacy because she did not have authorization from her doctor. Tanya Alves, Tanya’s sister from Weston, Florida, said that Rodriguez “never returned.”
Rodriguez was positive for the disease six days later. She had to have a breathing tube placed in her throat at a San Juan hospital. Rodriguez gave birth to her baby girl by emergency caesarean section on Aug. 16.
The young mother did not hold her child. Rodriguez died Oct. 30 at age 24. Rodriguez is survived by her husband, two children, and extended family.
Alves stated that her children constantly ask for her. “I feel like a part of me has been taken out and those words don’t even begin to describe it.
She encourages others to get vaccinated. “If people knew the terror of being in hospital or having a loved person there, they would fear this more than the vaccine.
Angeliki Kastanis, AP data journalist, and Lauran Neergaard (AP medical writer) contributed to this article.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education provides support to the Associated Press Health and Science Department. All content is the sole responsibility of the Associated Press.