Saturday , July 24 2021

Vaccine slowdown?

Summary:
 Source. Everyone seems tired of covid. And sure, inflation, debts, "infrastructure," competing voting narratives and so on are more fun. But covid is still with us. The graph summarizes what I've read in lots of news stories: vaccination is slowing down. There is plenty of supply, but we are running in to people who do not ...

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Vaccine slowdown?

Source. Everyone seems tired of covid. And sure, inflation, debts, "infrastructure," competing voting narratives and so on are more fun. But covid is still with us. 

The graph summarizes what I've read in lots of news stories: vaccination is slowing down. There is plenty of supply, but we are running in to people who do not go get the vaccine. 

This strikes me as a tragedy. (Disclaimer: this is an exploratory post, and I'm anxious to hear about it from more knowledgeable people). It means covid will remain with us as an endemic disease, occasionally breaking out as immunity fades and covid evolves. We're on the 20 yard line, folks, it's not time to punt.

I'm pretty darn libertarian, but not about vaccinations. The US should be pushing for near universal vaccination. This is like finishing your dose of antibiotics. 

We do not have to jump to compulsion. Can we at least allow incentives? Vaccine passports sound like a no-brainer even to a libertarian. Allow me to disclose that I am vaccinated, and allow owners of private property like restaurants, bars, airlines, and so forth to demand proof of vaccination. That provides a nice incentive for people to get vaccinated. 

Our policy makers seem so completely deranged by the tiniest "equity" concerns that even this simple step is off the table. On NPR the fact that some disadvantaged groups refuse the vaccine means the rest of us can't have passports. Republicans are also refusing the vaccine, and nobody cares about that! Yes, some immunocompromised people can't get vaccines. Well, on that altar are we going to allow everyone else off the hook, or push to get others vaccinated so they don't infect immunocompromised people -- who shouldn't be going to bars anyway. This debate goes on and on, and time is wasting. 

Even the public messaging has faded away. Our nudgers in chief should be nudging like crazy -- go get vaccinated, people! 

 
Vaccine slowdown?


I think my best moment as a blogger last year may have been my SIR model with behavior  that predicted the reproduction rate would settle down near one. When it's larger than one, people are more careful, including getting the vaccine. When it's less than one, people slack off. We are seeing a massive case of people, and politicians, slacking off of the one most important step, full vaccination. 
John H. Cochrane
In real life I'm a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford. I was formerly a professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. I'm also an adjunct scholar of the Cato Institute. I'm not really grumpy by the way!

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