MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 10: Sara Kalinicos, from Peru, gets a Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccination from a healthcare worker at Miami International Airport on May 10, 2021 in Miami, Florida. The vaccine is available at the airport for travelers, airport employees, and residents from May 10-14, June 1-4, and June 7. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Dr. Leana Wen fears US is not going to reach herd immunity
03:38 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

The US needs to vaccinate tens of millions more Americans to have a chance at suppressing the spread of coronavirus – but in parts of the country, vaccinations are slowing and demand has dropped.

Experts say they saw that coming.

“In the first few months, we were capturing the part of the population that really wanted these vaccines,” infectious diseases expert Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis told CNN on Saturday. “But now we’ve reached the ‘wait and see’ crowd and the outright ‘I don’t want it’ crowd.”

And while efforts to get more shots into arms – from the federal, state and local levels – have been ongoing for months, Davis said officials now need to double down on their efforts to tackle two key challenges.

“Vaccine confidence needs to be addressed, while access needs to be addressed, too,” Davis said. “We need to be … innovative around both culturally competent education and be thoughtful about where the holes are and where we can get shots in people’s arms.”

Experts including Dr. Anthony Fauci estimate between 70% and 85% of the country needs to be immune from the virus – through vaccination or previous infection – to control its spread. So far, roughly 44% of the US population has gotten at least one Covid-19 vaccine dose, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). More than 31% of the population is fully vaccinated, that data shows.