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In the United States, the battle to vaccinate the reluctant has only just begun – Coronavirus


No more big stadiums, hello mobile clinics: in the United States, after record levels of vaccination, the daily number of people receiving an anti-covid dose is dropping sharply, forcing the authorities to review their strategy to reach the targets. indifferent and skeptical.

The health crisis live

The vaccination campaign has so far been carried out with full force. All those of vaccine age are now eligible in the country, where some 55% of adults have received at least one dose.

But a new challenge arises today: to vaccinate the other half. A necessity in order to be able to hope to achieve collective immunity likely to put an end to the epidemic.

However, after a peak at the beginning of April, the rhythm of daily vaccinations slowed significantly at the national level. The enthusiasts, those who were waiting for the vaccine with a firm footing, have already rolled up their sleeves for the injection. The others remain.

In Texas, a large state in the southern United States, the rate of injections is thus in free fall. A large federal vaccination site in Arlington, between Dallas and Fort Worth, ended up shutting down in mid-April for lack of sufficient demand. In an attempt to incite the population, the NRG Stadium in Houston and the Fair Park in Dallas, two “vaccinodromes” also supported by the federal state, have stopped requiring meetings.

Later hours are also offered for people who work evenings: in Houston, the site no longer closes at 5 p.m. but 9 p.m. Texans get vaccinated there in minutes, without getting out of their car.

” Too far “

Despite this, more than half of the doses of NRG Stadium do not find a taker. “We have a capacity of about 6,000 people (per day) and we have even been up to 7,000. Today, the figures have plunged to 2,500 on average”, explains Martha Marquez, communications manager of the department of Harris County Health. “A considerable drop. “

A new strategy focusing on proximity was therefore introduced, to reach more isolated audiences, socially or geographically.

Five mobile vaccination centers crisscross the areas of the county where the positive cases are the most important. “Next week, we will deploy ten mobile clinics”, says Ashlei Dawson, head of one of them.

This Thursday, the young woman is supervising seven people and training eight others who will work in the new units. His team invested for the day the library of Pasadena, a predominantly Hispanic city in the suburbs of Houston. The public comes in sparingly and only 27 people received an injection at midday. Among them, Jose Herrera, 55, finally vaccinated: “I did not do it before because it was too far. I wanted a place closer to home. We do not know what reaction we may have ”once stung.

In the city, about twenty supermarkets or pharmacies, however, offer injections. But it is thanks to his daughter, who works in this library that this unemployed man finally agreed to travel to get his vaccine, with his wife Maria.

More accessible

“Since we have fulfilled the mission of vaccinating the majority of those who are most at risk (…), we are now focusing more and more on other groups, which it will take time to reach”, admitted Friday Jeff Zients, coordinator of the fight against Covid-19 for the White House.

“We want to make it easier to get a vaccine from your doctor,” added Vivek Murthy, the chief medical officer of the United States, promising announcements soon.

Making the remedy more accessible is the key, confirms Dr Saad Omer, director of the Yale Institute for Global Health. For months, confidence in vaccines has risen sharply, and among the unvaccinated, many are simply undecided.

“One way to tackle this is to increase their demand. Another is to make it so easy and accessible that even the hesitant will say, OK, let’s do it, ”he explains.

Still, some sections of the population remain very skeptical.

Nearly 30% of Republican voters say they do not want to be vaccinated (compared to 5% of Democrats), according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation published in late March. Same proportion among evangelical white Christian people.

Voices are being raised to put more pressure on these categories. But for Saad Omer, “if anyone is to blame them, it should be a white evangelical, not an outsider”.

This is what happened with success, he explains, for black people, in whom confidence has greatly increased thanks to the positions of African-American organizations.

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