As eligibility for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) COVID-19 vaccines expands to people 16 years and older, many counties in the United States are starting to experience a decline in demand for the vaccines.1 Carlos Del Rio, MD, professor at the Emory University School of Medicine said, “I worry that we’re rapidly transitioning our country from a supply issue, a scarcity issue with vaccines, to a demand issue.”2
Counties Closing Mass Vaccination Sites Due To Declining Demand
Several counties around the country have stated that there is a decline in the demand for COVID-19 vaccines. Some have closed down mass vaccination sites.3
In Iowa, 43 of 99 counties declined additional shipments of the COVID-19 vaccines. Iowa’s Department of Public Health has advised its counties to decline vaccine doses when they cannot guarantee distribution.4
Public health officials in Michigan have said that vaccine appointments are not being filled in spite of an increase in COVID-19 outbreaks in the state. Steve Hall, the health officer for the six-county Central Michigan Health Department in the northern Lower Peninsula said, “We have seen the demand wane. We’re struggling (to fill appointments) right now.”5
In California, Fresno County gave away 70 percent of its vaccines to other counties as a result of low demand. Thousands of vaccine appointments are unfilled in the county.6 Joe Prado, Community Division Manager in Fresno said:
We made a call to our mass vax providers, everybody is definitely seeing a reduction in demand and so we’re just going to be evaluating how much more we need to reduce those mass vax sites.7
In Ohio, Clark County health officials said that the district has seen a rapid decline in demand for COVID-19 vaccinations. The state’s vaccination dashboard shows that at its peak, more and 100,000 people received the first COVID-19 vaccine in one day. That number has decreased to 12,000 people vaccinated per day.8 Health Commissioner Charles Patterson said:
I think initially we have saturated the market for those individuals who really want the vaccine. So we have a whole bunch of people who we now have to convince to get the vaccine.9
Health Departments Going Into Communities to Tackle “Vaccine Hesitancy”
In response to the declining demand of COVID-19 vaccines, local health departments are planning to utilize alternative strategies to convince “vaccine hesitant” people to get the vaccine.10
In Clark County, Ohio, the Department of Health is changing its strategy by going into the community to convince people to get vaccinated. Health Commissioner Charles Patterson stated:
We’re going to be on the road going to many, many locations in our communities; schools, for those 16,- 17,- 18-year-olds and their families, we’re going to continue to go churches, we’re going to go where people are so you might see us at a local brewery, you might see us at a doughnut shop, you might see us on a street corner.11
He added that they are also collaborating with the local chambers of commerce to identify businesses that want to provide the vaccine to their employees.12
In Detroit, Michigan, the health department has launched a “Good Neighbor Program” with the slogan “Save a Life.” Make $50.” To participate, health officials require city residents to register for the program, after which they will be paid a $50 cash reward for making a first dose COVID-vaccine appointment for friends and neighbors that includes transporting them to the scheduled appointment to get the shot.13 Appointments cannot start with the second dose and there is a limit of three residents per car per scheduled appointment.
Commercial Businesses Offering Giveaways As Incentives to Get Vaccinated
Other groups and businesses are offering free giveaways to incentivize people to get vaccinated. A group known as DC Marijuana Justice has an incentive promotion known as “Joints for Jabs” and is giving out free marijuana joints at vaccination centers across the District of Columbia. In New York City, AIDS activist group ACT UP NY is giving out free joints in Union Square to people who can prove they are vaccinated.14
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is offering free donuts to vaccinated people.15 Samuel Adams has been offering free beer to the first 10,000 people who share evidence they’ve gotten a COVID-19 shot.16 Organic juice shot brand So Good So You is offering free juice shots to the vaccinated.17
Both Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Samuel Adams have received criticism for encouraging unhealthy eating habits during the pandemic. Many people have commented on the paradox of consuming sugar-filled processed food or alcoholic beverages as a reward for being injected with a product promoted by public health officials.18 19
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Click here to view References:
1 Maher E. COVID-19 vaccine demand declining in some counties. KCRA Apr. 19, 2021.
2 DeCiccio E. U.S. Covid vaccination obstacle shifts towards lack of demand from scarce supply, warns doctor. CNBC Apr. 19, 2021.
3 Maxouris C. Covid-19 vaccine demand is slowing in parts of the US. Now an uphill battle starts to get more shots into arms. CNN Apr. 18, 2021.
4 Associated Press. 43 Iowa counties decline more vaccine as demand slows. TheGazette.com Apr. 21, 2021.
5 Wilkinson M. Demand for vaccine declines in parts of Michigan, even as COVID surges. BridgeMI.com Apr. 12, 2021.
6 Nexstar Media Wire. Fresno County gives away 70% of this week’s COVID vaccine allocation to other counties due to low demand. KTLA Apr. 17, 2021.
8 Sick C. Clark Co. Combined Health District sees rapid decline in COVID-19 vaccine appointments. Dayton247Now Apr. 20, 2021.
13 Detroit Health Department. Good Neighbor Program: Save a Life. Make $50. May 2021.
14 Nexstar Media Wire. ‘Joints for Jabs’: Marijuana activist groups give out free weed to vaccinated people on 4/20. WFLA Apr. 20, 2021.
15 Tyko K. Free Krispy Kreme donuts, Budweiser beer on tap with COVID vaccine, plus laminate vaccination cards for free. USA Today Apr. 13, 2021.
16 Todisco E. Sam Adams is Giving Away Free Beer to People Who Get the COVID Vaccine – Here’s How. People Apr. 9, 2021.
17 PR Newswire. Leading Organic Juice Shot Brand So Good So You Launches “Shot for a Shot” Giveaway to encourage Vaccinations. Yahoo Finance Apr. 5, 2021.
18 Jackson J. Social Media Not Sweet on Krispy Kreme Giving Doughnuts to Vaccinated People. Newsweek Mar. 23, 2021.
19 CáceresM. Businesses Offering Free Junk Food for Proof of Covid Vaccination. The Vaccine Reaction Apr. 25, 2021.