• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Slowing Demand, Hesitancy Challenges Final Pandemic Push

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Dr. Anthony Fauci tells Newsy, "If you really want to be free of the constraints, get vaccinated."

Video Transcript

KELLAN HOWELL: 100 days into his administration, President Biden has blown past his benchmarks for COVID-19 vaccinations. Now, the US top expert on infectious diseases tells Newsy, there's real hope that by the end of the next 100 days, life could be looking a lot more like it used to.

ANTHONY FAUCI: I would hope that we are going to see ourselves in the real pathway, recognizable pathway, towards normality. Not necessarily all the way there. I don't think that's going to happen for a while. But at least it will be noticeably on that pathway.

KELLAN HOWELL: But experts warn the next steps in the battle against COVID won't get any easier. The drop in new cases is plateauing, and vaccination supply seems to be outpacing demand. The CDC's latest seven day average for vaccinations is just over two million doses. That's down from over three million two weeks ago.

Dr. Fauci says the downturn is normal, as more older and vulnerable people are being vaccinated, and younger, less eager people become eligible for jabs.

ANTHONY FAUCI: What that means is that we have to and are putting in an extra special effort to extend ourselves out to the people who want to get vaccinated, but are not-- they need a little push. Or people who are still skeptical about it and you want to turn them around.

KELLAN HOWELL: The Biden administration says it's taking steps to make it easier for working Americans to get vaccinated. Last week, President Biden offered US businesses tax incentives to give their workers paid time off to get the shot and recover from any side effects.

JOE BIDEN: No working American should lose a single dollar from their paycheck because they chose to fulfill their patriotic duty of getting vaccinated.

KELLAN HOWELL: But some public health experts say the White House could go a step further by encouraging private companies to incentivize younger Americans to get vaccinated with perks.

JESSE GOODMAN: I think we're going to have to get really creative and, you know, essentially reward people for getting vaccinated.

KELLAN HOWELL: That could include businesses giving out freebies to vaccinated customers. Or special sections at sporting events and music venues for people who have gotten their jabs. But skepticism is also a major problem.

Recent polling from NPR and Marist shows 25% of Americans say they won't get vaccinated. Hesitancy is particularly high among those who live in rural areas. Dr. Fauci says he's confident that more people will get shots when they see others in their community rolling up their sleeves.

But if current levels remain the same, restrictions on social gatherings and indoor mask requirements are here to stay.

ANTHONY FAUCI: If you really want to be free of the constraints, get vaccinated.

KELLAN HOWELL: Kellan Howell, Newsy, Washington.