Fewer new people are getting their first Covid-19 shot than those finishing up their second, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For 10 of the last 11 days, the number of “fully vaccinated” people has risen more than the number of people with “at least one dose” — suggesting that second doses are outpacing first doses when it comes to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.
This is the second time the US has seen this happen since the beginning of the US vaccine rollout. The first time was in February, when severe weather caused delays in vaccine shipments around the country.
While the shift began during a pause of the Johnson & Johnson rollout, this single-dose vaccine would be expected to raise both numbers by the same amount. Furthermore, data published by the CDC may be delayed, and doses may not have been given on the day reported.
Experts told CNN the reason for the trend is not immediately clear, but it could be a reflection of slowing demand.
“I think this is really just hitting the hesitancy wall,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
Murray said he expects “we will really start to run out of people willing to be vaccinated for the first time” within the next couple of weeks.
Claire Hannan, executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers, agreed that the US may have reached a “lull in demand. Hopefully it will rebound.”
Hannan said that there are still people out there who want the vaccine but may not have scheduled an appointment yet. “We’re going to have to make it as easy as possible for them to get the vaccine,” she added.
Hannan said this may be helped by the return of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, walk-up vaccination sites with no appointment needed, and involvement by employers and private doctors’ offices.
Last week, a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation estimated that the US was approaching a “tipping point," with supply set to outstrip demand within the next two to four weeks.