by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Perhaps the country would be better off if some national leader stood up and said, “Right now, the best case-scenario is that all of the higher-risk Americans get at least one shot by the end of April or early May. Getting them all of their second shots will be three to four weeks later. If you can’t get an appointment right now, that’s not surprising. If you have gotten an appointment that is a month away or two months away, that’s not surprising either. And if you’re not in a higher-risk category, you probably won’t get vaccinated before Mother’s Day.”
People would not like hearing that message. That disappointing message doesn’t align well with past pledges such as “I’m not going to shut down the country, I’m going to shut down the virus,” and with a leader who insisted he had a plan, and who kept reminding us he and his team were “ready from day one.” But that is an accurate layout of the cold, hard numbers — and perhaps even an unrealistically optimistic one.
Roughly 52 million Americans are above age 65, and about 202 million are between 18 and 65. One report estimates that 45 percent of American adults have some comorbidity that puts them at higher risk of serious complications from COVID-19. That would mean about 91 million non-senior Americans should be fairly high on the priority list before healthy adults. When you add up the seniors and those who have comorbidities, that’s nearly half the country, or almost 143 million Americans.
The United States has administered 32.8 million doses so far — and remember that the vaccines being used right now require two doses. Almost 2 percent of Americans have received both doses so far, according to the Bloomberg chart; a bit above 8 percent of Americans have received one dose.