US Vaccine Slump Worries Experts as European Countries Surpass US Vaccination Rates

When the Covid vaccination rollout began, the U.S. was ahead of nearly every country in vaccination rates. However, over the summer, America’s vaccine rate was surpassed by other countries, especially in Western Europe and Scandinavia. 

In Europe, Portugal currently has the highest vaccination rate, with nearly 80 percent of the population now fully vaccinated. Behind them at more than 70 percent is Spain and Belgium, and slightly behind those countries falls the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway. 

America, however, has fallen behind, now ranking 57th in the world in the percentage of the population being fully vaccinated. In the U.S., 52.3 percent of the population has a full vaccination status. It makes the U.S. one of the worst rates among wealthy nations. 

The slump in vaccination rates in the U.S. is worrying experts. Cases have grown dramatically in the states over the summer, now making this wave the second-worst of the pandemic. If you study the numbers adjusting for population size, the U.S. has twice as many Covid deaths as some European countries. 

Regional Director of WHO’s European region, Dr. Hans Kluge, hammered that vaccination is crucial if the world is to avoid greater transmission and an increase in deaths, as well as the disease becoming more severe and the potential of additional new variants. A slowdown in vaccination rates allows the virus to spread, and this, in turn, could allow new variants to emerge, which could weaken the efficacy of the existing Covid vaccines.

The American vaccination program hit its peak four months ago in April, with the rate quickly slowing soon after. In August, the rate began to pick up again. Experts note though that vaccination rates have a huge divergence in the states based on location, with southern states tending to lag behind in vaccination uptake than northern states. In some of these states, the percentage of adults with just the first dose is less than 50 percent. It’s in these states with lower vaccination rates that the highly contagious Delta variant is rampant.

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