Drive for 75: Resources from Week 17

Regulation | June 25, 2021 | by 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, by June 30. 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 Forty Five: Air Date 6.21.21. “Poll Describes Hesitancy”

The American COVID-19 Vaccine Poll is a partnership between the African American Research Collaborative and The Commonwealth Fund. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation supported an expansion of the poll in the Native American community and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation supported expansion in New Mexico. They surveyed over 12,000 Americans to better understand their access to and opinions about the vaccines, as well as messages and messengers that encourage different groups to get vaccinated. The user-friendly information can be sorted by many variables including, age, ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, region, etc.

The biggest concerns among unvaccinated people were: blood clots; personal right to opt out; Biden distributed unproven vaccines; and vaccines make people sick. The most effective messages to encourage vaccination are:

  • Getting a COVID-19 vaccine can protect the lives of my family, friends, and those I love.
  • If we all get vaccinated businesses can open up and we can all get back to work.
  • Children have lost parents and many more parents are struggling with long-term symptoms. Getting vaccinated will help our children.
  • Getting the vaccine will allow a return to safe family gathering and celebrations like birthday parties and holidays.

The most effective messengers are one’s personal primary care provider, followed by doctors and nurses.

Volume Forty Six: Air Date 6.23.21. “Where Are We Now?

The United States is not likely to meet President Biden’s goal to deliver at least one vaccine to 70% of adults by July 4. However, we have already vaccinated more than 70% of adults who are 30 years old and over, and it is likely that we will have 70% of adults over 27 years old by July 4. Young adults between the ages of 18 and 26 are choosing vaccination much more slowly. The rate of vaccinations has increased by less than one percentage point over the past two weeks.

About 20% of adults say they definitely won’t get the vaccine, but they are not evenly geographically distributed. That leaves some states and localities very vulnerable to the Delta variant, now at 20% of cases in some areas of the United States. You may remember that we said it was at 10% last week so the predictions for rapid spread seem to be on target. And they have now identified a Delta Plus variant that is even more transmissible and binds more readily to lung cells.

An illustration of the value of vaccination may be in order. In Florida, the Manatee County Administration building reopened this week after COVID19 spread through the IT department. Six unvaccinated employees tested positive for the virus. Two died last week and several others were hospitalized. The unvaccinated positive people infected others beyond the department. The one unvaccinated IT department staff member did not contract COVID and did not spread it to anyone.

While million-dollar vaccination lotteries grab headlines, low-key approaches are quietly at work. The Boston Globe reports on “Bob,” the orange bus of the Community Health Programs in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, which has delivered more than 3,300 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to gas station attendants, store clerks and the homebound, among others. “We’re not encountering a lot of hesitation, but social vulnerabilities—lack of transportation, lack of time off from a job, lack of child care” that stand in the way of getting a shot, said chief executive Lia Spiliotes. This is an example of the “last mile” strategies that are making a difference.

It also looks like employers across industries are requiring vaccinations as people return to the office. This is certainly true in the financial services sector. Many private colleges are requiring vaccinations for students, faculty and staff to return to campus for the fall semester. Others sectors are waiting for full FDA vaccine approval before making vaccination a condition of employment. We all continue to Drive for 75 and need to persist in encouraging people to get vaccines and removing barriers to do so.