Just as the vaccination campaign gains steam in the U.S., a major obstacle has appeared: vaccine hesitancy.
And vaccine hesitancy seems to be based on politics, not science.
In a new CBS News poll, a third of Republicans said they would not get vaccinated. That compares with 10% of Democrats. And another 20% of Republicans said they were unsure.
Previous polls on vaccines and vaccine hesitancy have found similar divides.
This is strange in that former President Trump was vaccinated. And he said Tuesday that vaccines were “safe” and “something that works.” He told Fox News, “I would recommend it and I would recommend it to a lot of people that don’t want to get it and a lot of those people voted for me, frankly.”
This vaccine hesitancy is a lot more than just a political headache for President Biden.
Vaccine hesitancy is a problem for all of us. Here’s why.
We all want normalcy. And to do that, we need to reach herd immunity.
If we were dealing with the original strain of the virus, herd immunity might have been reached at around 70%. So, the political vaccine hesitancy would have been no problem.
But with all the new variants – that are both more contagious and more deadly – herd immunity may not be reached until the immune U.S. population hit 85% to 90%.
That will be difficult . . . unless the vaccine hesitancy rate starts to decline.
The Big News
Investors Have a New Worry
Investors are now more worried about inflation and the selloff in the bond market than they are about Covid-19. This is according to a Bank of America survey. Fears concerning rising inflation (37%) and a “tantrum” in government bond markets (35%) ranked ahead of Covid-19 risks in the monthly Bank of America survey of fund managers.
Ultrasound Disrupts Coronavirus
There may be another weapon against Covid-19. Scientists have found that ultrasound can damage “natural vibrations” in coronaviruses. Under ultrasound excitation, the coronavirus shell and spikes vibrate. That amplitude can break certain parts of the virus, causing damage to the outer shell and possibly to the RNA inside.
The Next Generation of Covid Vaccines?
Scientists are searching for a is a “pancoronavirus vaccine.” That is one that would work against all variants. And it would eliminate the need for booster shots. Two recent studies suggest that the key to unlock a one-shot “miracle” vaccine is nanoparticle immunization technology. This technology combines fragments of different viruses into a single particle and loads it up into a vaccine.
Ebola’s Lesson for Covid and Pandemics
The genome of the Ebola virus that is causing a new Ebola outbreak in Guinea barely differs from that of the strain seen five to six years ago. This suggests the virus remained dormant in survivors of the last epidemic. Scientists had previously assumed that Ebola epidemics start when a virus jumps from an animal host to humans. But the new evidence suggests humans are as likely as wildlife to be the source of an outbreak.
Plant-Based Covid Vaccine
Medicago is starting Phase 3 clinical testing of its plant-derived Covid-19 vaccine candidate in combination with an adjuvant supplied by GlaxoSmithKline. Medicago received approval from Canadian and U.S. regulatory authorities to proceed with enrollment of healthy adults in the Phase 3 portion of the trial based on positive interim Phase 2 results. Medicago also began a feasibility study of a vaccine candidate to address the emerging Covid-19 variants.
The Coronavirus Numbers
Here are the numbers from Wednesday at 8 a.m. ET from Johns Hopkins University:
- 120,799,704 Infected Worldwide
- 381,770,447 Vaccines Given Globally
- 2,672,645 Deaths
- 29,549,554 Infected in the U.S.
- 110,737,856 U.S. Vaccine Doses Administered
- 536,922 Deaths in the U.S.
Stocks are flat to weaker (tech stocks) ahead of the Federal Reserve decision on rates today. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury rose to 1.67%. That is the highest level since February 2020.
Ahead of the Fed announcement, expected at 2:30 p.m. ET, the 10-year Treasury inflation-protected securities (TIPS) breakeven inflation rate hit 2.303%, the highest since July 2014. The five-year breakevens are at the highest since 2008.
The Fed is poised to upgrade its forecasts for the U.S. economy. It will likely point to an acceleration of America’s recovery from the pandemic.
The Fed is not expected to make any big policy changes. But more upbeat projections are likely to intensify the debate over when it will start removing its support for the economy and markets.
Yours in Health & Wealth,