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COVID-19 tracker: Vaccination rates slow way down but so far, improvement is continuing

  • NH DHHS—Monitor staff

Concord Monitor
Published: 6/20/2021 10:16:03 PM
Modified: 6/20/2021 10:16:06 PM

The vaccination rate is getting close to stalling out in New Hampshire: only about 4% of the state population has become fully vaccinated so far this month by the state’s reckoning and barely 1% got their first shot.

Even viewed from the most optimistic angle, looking just at the eligible population, we’re not going to get close this summer to herd immunity levels that would prevent the SARS-CoV2 virus from circulating. The question is, what will this vaccination shortfall do to the status of COVID-19 in the state?

So far, it seems, not much. New case counts, hospitalizations and deaths continue to decline. They have gotten down almost, but not quite, last summer’s level.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell how vaccination rates are affecting this pattern. DHHS doesn’t have data on vaccinated vs. unvaccinated COVID-19 patients or hospitalizations. It might be that a majority of cases and severe cases are due to unvaccinated people, but that might not be the case. We just don’t know.

Judging from large-scale analysis more vaccination is, not surprisingly, better. A Washington Post analysis of national data found, for example, that states with lower vaccination rates have higher virus hospitalization rates.

The CDC is also pointing to a small but worrisome increase in COVID-19 hospitalization rates for teenagers, a group with low vaccination rates because they have only been eligible for shots for a few weeks. And don’t forget that there are at least four variants circulating around the country have shown indications of being more contagious, more dangerous, or less likely to be stopped by our vaccines.

In other words, even as we celebrate a return to almost-pre-COVID life – after my second shot I joyfully tossed my face mask into the air like the intro to the Mary Tyler Moore Show, although I still wear it on occasion – we need to keep convincing the vaccine-hesitant to take their jabs. Otherwise we are asking for another surge in the fall.

How are we doing on vaccinations? Good but not good enough.

As I noted, it’s slowing down. This was inevitable – if nothing else, it’s harder to improve when you’re already doing well than it was when you started out – but we’re slowing too early. As of the weekend just 53% of the state population was fully vaccinated by the state’s count.

Number of new cases – what’s the trend? Good and getting better.

The two-week average of daily new cases has fallen below 30 for the first time since early September. The average got as low as 18 last August; at our current rate we’ll get back to that level by July.

Number of hospitalizations – what’s the trend? Good and getting better.

There are 17 people hospitalized with COVID-19 as I write this. That’s still about twice the number hospitalized in mid-summer.

Number of deaths – what’s the trend? Low but not improving much.

In the past two weeks, 11 COVID-19 deaths have been reported. That’s the same it was near the start of June, and far more than we saw in September, when the two-week total was two deaths.

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