BUSINESS COVID-19 vaccinations slow in US due to access, hesitancy


COVID-19 vaccinations slow in US due to access, hesitancy

11:16, May 07, 2021

A Metropolitan Transportation Authority worker receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination for MTA employees at Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Terminal in the Manhattan borough of New York, March 10, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

CVS Health Corp said demand for COVID-19 vaccinations has fallen by about 30 percent recently as Americans' hesitancy to receive the shots outweighs expanding eligibility and access, The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

"We have kind of passed the wave of people who really wanted to get it and who signed up," CVS Health Chief Executive Karen Lynch said. "There is a part of the population that says, 'I'm only going to get it if it's easy and convenient and if I happen to be in a place where I can get it.' There are other populations where people are just afraid," the Journal said.

Stepped-up education on the vaccine's safety and efficacy alongside improved access are needed to address both issues, she said.

Walgreens-Boots Alliance Inc said receiving a shot remains too difficult for a swath of the population.

"One of the biggest criteria is access and convenience," said Rina Shah, Walgreens vice- president for pharmacy operations and services.

Both CVS and Walgreens, which combined have administered nearly 30 million vaccines, are adding worksite and community clinics as a way to both improve access and address hesitancy.

Walgreens said it is working with community leaders in areas where hesitancy is high to encourage people to get shots. CVS is pumping out educational and marketing materials both through its stores and its Aetna insurance arm.

In the early months of the US vaccine rollout, restrictions on who could receive a vaccine and short supply of doses prevented many people from getting shots. Now, many parts of the country are reporting excess doses and unfilled appointments even as fewer than 60 percent of American adults have received at least one dose.

Anyone 16 or older is eligible for a vaccine in the US, a change from the months in which only certain groups of people could get a shot.

Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE last month asked US health regulators to allow their Covid-19 vaccine to be given to adolescents to extend their shot's use to children 12 years and older.

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