A headline recently published in The New York Times declared “Biden Vows Enough Vaccine ‘for Every Adult American’ by End of May.” I am holding on to this pledge, hard. As of press time, the COVID-19 numbers are beginning to rise again in some states and the 3 more virulent strains are taking hold, yet some states are lifting mask mandates.

As someone who has not been vaccinated yet, I am obsessively logging on to my state website and local pharmacies trying to book an appointment; so far to no avail. I have a comorbid condition that qualifies for vaccination in my state, but I am lucky to be able to work from home, so my risk of getting COVID-19 is relatively low. It feels like a race against time, however. Can the country get sufficiently vaccinated before the virulent strains throw us back into another round of shutdowns?

With the recent emergency use authorization of Janssen’s single-shot COVID-19 vaccine, there are now 3 vaccine options. An interim analysis of the Janssen vaccine showed that the vaccine was 66% effective in preventing moderate to severe COVID-19 at least 28 days after vaccination. The vaccine was also found to be 85% effective in preventing severe/critical disease and demonstrated complete protection against COVID-19–related hospitalization and death at 28 days postvaccination.

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Vaccination hesitancy is dropping, but still holding strong in some communities. In a recent report by the Urban Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 35% of adults reported they were unlikely to get a COVID-19 vaccine, including 19% who would probably not get vaccinated and 16% who would definitely not get vaccinated.

Nearly half of Black respondents (49%) were vaccine hesitant compared with one-third of White and Hispanic adults; however, the authors noted that given the differences in population size, White adults constituted 59% of all vaccine-hesitant nonelderly adults.

Talk with your patients about the COVID-19 vaccine and ask if they are hesitant to receive the vaccine and why. Understanding your patients’ fears about vaccines and countering those fear with a frank discussion about the safety of the vaccine may go a long way to getting every American adult vaccinated by May.

Nikki Kean

Director, Clinical Advisor