More … than 70% of Americans 65 or older are fully immunized, and 84 percent received at least one dose, a much higher proportion than for young Americans, according to federal data. The numbers have exceeded President Biden’s goal of at least partially vaccinating 70% adults in the country before July 4.
Some counties have far exceeded this threshold, obtaining vaccines against more than 90% of residents 65 and over and providing an example for other areas where vaccination campaigns have fallen behind.
Two of the most populous counties over 90% are Jo Daviess County, Illinois, across the Mississippi River from Dubuque, Iowa, and Dane County, Wisconsin, which includes Madison, the state capital.
Elected officials and health officials from both counties suggested that some of the measures they had adopted locally, such as expanding access and using trusted medical figures to share vaccine information, were also reflected in the federal government strategy to reach those who have not yet received vaccines after the pace of vaccination has slowed in recent weeks.
President Biden lobbied that tens of thousands of pharmacies allow people to enter for their vaccinationsand commissioned pop-up and mobile clinics, especially in rural areas. The administration is also enlisting the help of family physicians and other trusted messengers to build confidence in vaccines.
On Thursday, Mr Biden praised another incentive: the recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that people who have been fully vaccinated can do without a mask in most situations.
In Dane County, Joe Parisi, the county executive, said this week that a number of efforts have contributed to his county’s success by at least partially vaccinating most of the roughly 78,000 people aged 65 or over. more who live in the county. More than 90% of that group had been fully vaccinated by Friday, according to local and federal data.
Officials have worked to maximize access to the vaccine. They set up a mass vaccination site in December at the Alliant Energy Center, an arena and exhibition complex in Madison, and distributed vaccines to health centers, pharmacies and mobile vaccination clinics, according to Morgan Finke, spokesperson for the county public health department. .
Mr Parisi said the county was working with local hospital systems, health care providers, elderly care centers and nursing homes to locate people confined to their homes and help them get vaccinated.
They did not encounter much hesitation. “People wanted the vaccine,” Mr. Parisi said, “that was definitely not the problem with this age group.”
Even so, he said, it’s very important to build trust and answer people’s questions, especially now that the more enthusiastic recipients have already finished. Mr Parisi said the county has partnered with trusted local doctors to publicize the vaccines through local media.
“We have tried to share as much information as possible,” Mr. Parisi said, “providing those voices that are non-judgmental and can answer questions.”
In Jo Daviess County, northwest Illinois, communication and community partnerships have also played a major role, Lori Stangl, county clinical services director, wrote in an email.
Of the roughly 6,000 seniors in the county, 96.7 percent are fully vaccinated as of Friday, according to the CDC, Ms Stangl credited extensive collaboration both in the county and with neighboring counties and states.
“Because Jo Daviess County borders Iowa and Wisconsin, many of our residents were able to get vaccines there as well,” Ms. Stangl wrote, “especially early on when our allocations were low.”
Although county chiefs celebrate their success with the elderly, she wrote, they are aware that they still have plenty of young people to join. As of Friday, 54.9% of the county’s total population had been fully vaccinated, According to the CDC.