The United States may soon reach a tipping point for its Covid-19 vaccines where supply far exceeds demand for the shots in the next 15 days.
"While timing may differ by state, we estimate that across the US as a whole we will likely reach a tipping point on vaccine enthusiasm in the next two to four weeks," the Kaiser Family Foundation said in a new report published on Tuesday.
The report warned that it would likely be harder for health officials to encourage unvaccinated Americans to receive one of the available Covid-19 vaccines once demand decreases.
"Once this happens, efforts to encourage vaccination will become much harder, presenting a challenge to reaching the levels of herd immunity that are expected to be needed," according to the report.
Demand for the Covid-19 vaccine has far outstripped supply since the country's mass vaccination campaign first started in December.
The Biden administration opened up eligibility to all Americans aged 16 years and older on 19 April, encouraging anyone who wants a vaccine appointment to make one.
Health officials, including Dr Anthony Fauci, estimated the country would need about 70 to 85 per cent of people vaccinated against the coronavirus in order to achieve herd immunity.
To date, about 40.1 per cent of Americans, 133 million people, have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and about 26 per cent of Americans, 86.2 million, are fully vaccinated, according to data obtained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Vaccine hesitancy still remains among segments of the population, though.
A poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 62 per cent of Americans already received a Covid-19 vaccine or intend to get one soon, which was an increase from 55 per cent in the month prior. About 17 per cent of Americans said they would "wait and see" if they want to get the vaccine.
But 7 per cent of Americans said they would only get the vaccine if required and 13 per cent said they had no intention to ever receive the jab.
Based on this data, the Kaiser Family Foundation anticipated the country would reach its "enthusiasm limit" towards the vaccine in 15 days at the current rate the country was vaccinating the public. It would then be on health officials to encourage those who are more hesitant towards the vaccine to get one at a time when highly transmissible Covid-19 variants are circulating communities.
If the "wait and see" group were to decide to receive a vaccine, then the "enthusiasm limit" was estimated to hit in 22 days compared to 15 days, according to the foundation.
Republicans were more likely to express hesitancy towards receiving a Covid-19 vaccine compared to Democrats and independents, polls showed. This skepticism has only increased as vaccine rollout continues, according to The Washington Post.
"The further we go into the vaccination process, the more passionate the hesitancy is," Frank Luntz, a longtime GOP communications expert, said after a Zoom focus group session last weekend, according to the publication. "If you've refused to take the vaccine this long, it's going to be hard to switch you."