As cases of the already-more-mild Omicron strain of Covid-19 subside, vaccination rates in the United States are collapsing, according to AP, which reports that the vaccination drive in the US is 'grinding to a halt,' and 'demand has all but collapsed' - particularly in rural areas.
At present, the average number of Americans getting their first dose is down to around 90,000 per day - the lowest point since the first few days of the vaccination campaign in December 2020 - while the outlook for any sort of substantial increase has largely evaporated.
AP of course acts like this is a national tragedy led by toothless rednecks in 'deeply conservative' parts of the country, suggesting a 'losing battle to get people vaccinated' in rural Alabama - but of course the reality goes unmentioned... that the vaccine largely evades Omicron - which is far less deadly than previous strains, and is only marginally effective in keeping medically at-risk people from dying.
Even the Washington Post noted on Wednesday: "Coronavirus vaccine protection was much weaker against omicron, data shows."
While coronavirus shots still provided protection during the omicron wave, the shield of coverage they offered was weaker than during other surges, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The change resulted in much higher rates of infection, hospitalization and death for fully vaccinated adults and even for people who had received boosters. -WaPo
Meanwhile, government vaccination incentive programs that gave away cash, beer, sports tickets and other prizes have also disappeared - while governnment and employer vaccine mandates have suffered blows in court.
"People are just over it. They’re tired of it," said Judy Smith, administrator for a 12-county public health district in northwestern Alabama.
The bottoming-out of demand for the first round of vaccinations is especially evident in conservative areas around the country.
On most days in Idaho, the number of people statewide getting their first shot rarely surpasses 500.
In Wyoming, a total of about 280 people statewide got their first shot in the past week, and the waiting area at the Cheyenne-Laramie County Health Department stood empty Tuesday morning. The head of the department fondly recalled just a few months ago, when the lobby was bustling on Friday afternoons after school with children getting their doses. But they aren’t showing up anymore either. -AP
"People heard more stories about, well, the omicron’s not that bad," said Executive Director Kathy Emmons. "I think a lot of people just kind of rolled the dice and decided, ‘Well, if it’s not that bad, I’m just going to kind of wait it out and see what happens.’"