Covid vaccine hesitates in largest metropolis in New Jersey, says Dr. Shereef Elnahal
Dr. Shereef Elnahal – President and CEO of the University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey – told CNBC on Monday that the majority of people in the nearby community want to get the Covid vaccine, a postponement from earlier in the rollout.
“There is a considerable amount of hesitation, especially in color communities and urban communities like the one we serve here in Newark, the largest city in New Jersey.” Elnahal said on Worldwide Exchange. “The good news, however, is that hesitation is moving in the right direction.”
“We only had about 40% of the city of Newark and the surrounding area ready and ready to take the vaccine when it arrived. Now that number is closer to 60%,” added Elnahal, a former New Jersey health commissioner under the Democratic Government. Phil Murphy.
Elnahal’s comments come as Covid vaccine adoption accelerates in the US.
Record doses of 2.9 million doses were administered on Saturday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In total, more than 90 million doses of Covid were administered.
Overall, 17.7% of the US population of over 330 million people received at least one dose, and 9.2% were fully vaccinated with both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna two-shot regimen.
Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot vaccine was approved as the third emergency vaccine by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on February 27.
The CDC vaccine tracker numbers do not yet explicitly state how many recordings were made by J&J as they were only launched in the US last week.
While the pace of vaccination has increased and eligibility has increased in recent weeks, some health professionals like former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb warned that the pool of Americans who wish to receive the shot could dry out sooner than expected.
“I think the demand here … is deep, but not great,” Gottlieb, a Pfizer board member, told CNBC last month. “There are probably about 100 million Americans who want this very badly. We also have to work on it.”
Shortly after the FDA approved Pfizer’s emergency vaccine, some hospital directors speculated that the hesitation, even among their staff, would ease over time as skeptical staff saw their colleagues receiving the shots.
Indeed, the American public’s desire to be vaccinated against Covid has increased in recent months. According to a poll by the Pew Research Center earlier this month, 69% of the US public are planning or have already received a Covid vaccine. This is an improvement on Pew’s results in November – a month before Pfizer or Moderna officially received FDA approval – that only 60% of Americans intended to be vaccinated.
Polls have shown that blacks and Latinos are more skeptical about vaccines than the US as a whole because of historical medical abuse. Racial differences in vaccine distribution have also been observed in the US
Elnahal said the university hospital – a teaching hospital from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School – has been running various contact programs to build trust in Covid vaccines.
“When we walk through that door of trust and ultimately say, ‘Hey, we’re here with an initiative that may save your life,’ especially in a community that has been hit so hard,” Elnahal said. “We also emphasize that all three of these vaccines are 100% effective at preventing hospital stays and death [from Covid]. “
“This is huge and frankly, these vaccines are better than so many others that have been around for a long time,” he added.
Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC employee and a member of the boards of directors of Pfizer, genetic testing startup Tempus, healthcare technology company Aetion, and Illumina biotech. He is also co-chair of the Healthy Sail Panel for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Royal Caribbean.