COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy making herd immunity 'difficult,' expert warns

People lined up for the shot when the COVID-19 vaccine first came out, but now people are being offered free alcohol shots just to get the COVID shot.  

"This isn’t our first pop-up, but this one comes with a DJ as well," said Janelle McGregor, a city of Tampa spokesperson at a recent pop-up vaccine location in Ybor City.  

Reasons people don’t want the vaccine range from fear of conspiracies to unknown side effects.  

Some experts believe the current rate of vaccinations will not yield the result they had hoped for.  

"I think it’s going to be difficult for us to achieve true herd immunity at this point," lamented Dr. Jay Wolfson, a professor and associate dean at the USF College of Public Health and a lawyer.  

He says Americans have a right not to get the vaccine, but he says that right also comes with responsibilities.  

"Just as I do when I drink and don’t drive, when I put my seatbelt or wear my motorcycle helmet. I exercise responsibility," continued Wolfson.  

Younger teenagers, 12 to 15 years old, are now cleared for the vaccine. Although younger people don’t often get seriously ill or die from COVID-19, Wolfson says that population could become a kind of petri dish for spreading new, more dangerous variants of COVID-19.

Expect to see more pop-up vaccination locations trying to persuade people to get the shot even if they’re just complacent.  

But, with deaths and hospitalizations down, health officials may have to find even more novel ways to convince holdouts to have the shot.