Drive for 75: Resources from Week 22

Members | July 29, 2021 | by Dee Pekruhn, Jill Schumann

LeadingAge Coronavirus Update Calls feature brief segments called “Drive for 75” to promote the successful vaccination of at least 75% of our aging services providers’ workforce, and as needed, residents. We will cover developments in the news, research, and innovative practices that support our members in attaining high vaccination rates.

This Week’s Highlights:

Volume Fifty Four: Air Date 7.26.21. “How Mandates Boost Acceptance”

In line with all the discussion about vaccine mandates, I’d like to draw your attention to Friday’s New York Times briefing on how mandates are boosting vaccine acceptance – and how this is congruent with a long history of successful vaccine mandates in this and other countries.

The article gives cogent examples of where COVID vaccine mandates are working, and I’ll share some excerpts. These include:

· “HOSPITALS: Before Houston Methodist became one of the first hospital systems in the U.S. to mandate vaccines, about 85 percent of its employees were vaccinated. After the mandate, that rose to about 98 percent, with the remaining 2 percent receiving exemptions for medical or religious reasons, Bloomberg’s Carey Goldberg reported. Only about 0.6 percent of employees quit or were fired.

· SCHOOLS: — including Indiana University and many private colleges — that require students and workers to get vaccinated have reported extremely high uptake.

· FRANCE & ITALY: French government will soon require that people show proof of vaccination or a recent negative test to eat at a restaurant, attend a movie or participate in many other activities. After President Emmanuel Macron announced the policy last week, the number of vaccine appointments surged. Italy announced a similar policy yesterday, The Times’s Marc Santora explains.”

So what other diseases have been overcome by state mandates in the US? According to the article, these include: smallpox, polio, mumps, rubella and diphtheria. Dr. Aaron Carroll, Indiana University’s chief health officer, was quoted as saying “That’s how the country achieves real herd immunity,” Carroll wrote in The Times. (However, in the U.S., a national mandate may be unconstitutional.)

And what are examples of where a lack of a mandate allowed a disease to promulgate? “That has been the case with human papillomavirus, a sexually transmitted disease known as HPV that can cause cancer. It’s also been the case with influenza, which kills about 35,000 Americans in a typical flu season.”

In closing, I’ll take us back again to that Echelon Insights report I shared last week; if you read slide 23, you can see that the majority of respondents felt that government, private organizations or BOTH should mandate vaccines in the following settings: public transportation, airplane travel, college classes, sporting events, theaters, indoor restaurants, religious services and gyms.


Volume Fifty Five: Air Date 7.28.21. “Pandemic Projections and Reasons People are Getting Vaccinated Now”

The nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases will accelerate through the summer and autumn before peaking in mid-October, according to projections shared July 21 by the COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub, a consortium of researchers helping the CDC track the pandemic's trajectory. The new "ensemble" projection combines 10 different models from various academic institutions and it outlines four different scenarios based on the pace of the delta variant's spread and U.S. vaccination rates.

In the most likely scenario, which results in cases peaking in October, 70 percent of eligible Americans are vaccinated and the delta variant is 60 percent more transmissible. At this peak, the model forecasts about 60,000 cases and 850 deaths each day in the U.S. By January 2022, the model shows deaths falling to about 300 per day, which is the current death level in the U.S.

Each scenario also includes a range of how bad things could get — the very worst end of the range for the most likely scenario shows about 240,000 people getting infected and 4,000 people dying each day at the October peak, which would be almost as bad as last winter. However, there is still a lot of uncertainty around these projections, and various factors could affect the course of the pandemic.

Of course, one of those factors is how quickly unvaccinated people receive the vaccine. Right now, a half million people are getting vaccinated each day. The New York Times interviewed dozens of these people to find out why they are getting shots now. The people being vaccinated now are not in the group firmly opposed to vaccination, but are often the reluctant, the anxious or the procrastinating.

Some were responding to mandates from colleges or employers. Their answers in the interviews suggest that the mandates or greater restrictions on the unvaccinated could make a significant difference. Others who worried about the vaccine’s safety believe that since vaccinations have been provided for more than seven months with a small number of serious issues, they were ready.

Clearly we are not out of the woods yet, so let’s keep encouraging vaccination.