It’s a good thing for Jeff Zients that social media’s policies on spreading misinformation are so one-sided. If they weren’t, the White House CCP Virus response coordinator (no, not his official title!) would be suspended or banned.
This past Wednesday, Zients told reporters that President Biden’s vaccination requirements, announced in a September 9 speech, had “increased vaccination rates by 20-plus percentage points.” And he continued, “Higher vaccination rates make workplaces, schools, and communities safer; accelerate our path out of the pandemic; and strengthen our economy.”
There’s no doubt that the latest virus wave has been receding by the most important measures – as I wrote October 1. Do higher vaccination rates make the above places safer? That’s entirely plausible. Will they strengthen the economy? We’ll just have to wait on that one, since the data aren’t in yet.
But the claim that since Mr. Biden’s speech, U.S. vaccination rates are up by 20-plus percentage points is just untrue. Indeed, it’s not close to being true. Further, it’s not close to being true even if our gauge is eligible Americans who are at least only partly vaccinated. This measure would take into account that not all of those eligible for vaccinations haven’t yet had the chance to complete the two-shot regimens, and that vaccines have not yet been recommended for childen younger than twelve.
And we know how untrue Zients’ contention is because it’s completely contradicted by the federal government’s own Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The agency’s COVID Data Tracker monitors vaccination rates over time, and it’s interactive, so changes since the Biden announcement can easily be calculated. And here’s what’s happened with at-least-partial vaccination percentage rates by age group from the day of the Biden announcement through this past Wednesday.
Sept. 9 rate Oct. 13 rate
12-15: 51.2 55.5
16-17 59.3 62.8
18-24 60.9 64.9
25-39 64.2 68.2
40-49 73.3 76.7
50-64 81.3 83.8
65-74 94.9 97.8
75-plus 89.6 92.3
In fact, these official figures make clear just how wildly un-close to being true Zients’ claim is. The biggest percentage point change in the at-least-partial vaccination rates during this period hasn’t been twenty. It’s been 4.3 – for the 12-15 group. The next biggest is four – for the 18-24 and the 25-39 groups.
Of course also crucial to point out (as I did in that October 1 post) – the substantial improvements in the virus picture have taken place despite this unimpressive vaccination progress. Which raises the questions of just how effective the vaccines actually have been in influencing the course of the pandemic, and how effective the mandates – which could come into force as early as today – actually are and will be going forward. After all, if an administration can’t or won’t describe this key piece of the pandemic story so inaccurately, why should anyone trust in their ideas to fight it effectively?