2nd virus vaccine shows striking success in US tests

FILE - In this March 16, 2020, file photo, Neal Browning receives a shot in the first-stage safety study of a potential vaccine for COVID-19 at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle. Moderna Inc., said Monday, Nov. 16, its COVID-19 vaccine is proving to be highly effective in a major trial.

Arizona public health officials are readying for a rollout of a covid-19 vaccine in the coming months, but data by health researchers on flu vaccinations suggests that Arizonans might opt not to seek out the vaccination. 

Across the country, roughly one-third of Americans already are saying they likely will not get a covid-19 vaccine, according to recent polling, with many citing concerns around how quickly the process has moved and possible side effects.

Arizona already has a history of anti-vaccination beliefs and has some of the most vaccination exemptions in the country, leading to it being labeled an “anti-vaccination hotspot.” Arizona’s elected officials have entered into the vaccine controversy, including one who called mandatory measles vaccines “communist.”

A recent study by the Kaiser Health Foundation into flu vaccination rates may give some insight into how a covid-19 vaccine might be accepted.

“While there are important differences between covid-19 and seasonal flu, including that covid-19 is much more serious and that the federal government has said it will ensure the vaccine is provided free to all even those who are uninsured, these findings point to several potential challenges to rolling out a Covid-19 vaccine across the United States,” the study concludes.

The data examined by researchers is from the 2019-2020 flu season, which was one of the worst in Arizona’s history. During that season, researchers found that only 47% of Arizonans received a flu vaccine, well below the recommended 70% of the population many health officials recommend.

Arizona was below the national average of 52% and among the bottom 10 states.

Arizona also had one of the worst rates for people under the age of 65, with only 36% receiving a flu vaccine. Only 42% of non-elderly adults with an underlying health condition received a flu shot in Arizona, the second worst in the nation.

“Every state has different layers of challenges,” said Dr. Shad Marvasti, an associate professor at the University of Arizona and a physician who has specialized in chronic diseases. “I think the Arizona culture is such that there is more questioning of vaccines.”

Marvasti said there are also concerns about access to health care.

“We are also very behind in access to having a primary care physician,” Marvasti said. “That’s why you see these urgent cares all over.”

In fact, almost 40% of Arizonans currently live in a health care provider shortage area, and many of those areas are currently the hardest hit by Covid-19.

Researchers also found evidence of wide racial disparities.

White Arizonans were vaccinated for the flu at a much higher rate than their Hispanic and Black counterparts, with 50% of white Arizonans receiving a vaccine. Only 38% of Black Arizonans got a vaccine, as did 44% of Hispanics.

“We need to have educational campaigns there to gain trust,” Marvasti said of those communities, adding that distrust has been created there due to disproportionate adverse health impacts and lack of access to healthcare.

However, Marvasti said he people will see the flu vaccine and the Covid-19 vaccine differently.

The flu has a lower death rate than covid-19 and the vaccine that is coming out for covid-19 has a much higher success rate than the flu vaccine, which during a “good” flu season will have between a 50% and 60% success rate. Marvasti thinks that the low success rate for flu vaccines may contribute to people not getting the shot.

“My hope is that people recognize the difference,” he said, adding that an over 90% vaccine success rate is rare.


We've made this article available without a subscription as a public service.

Now, more than ever, the world needs trustworthy reporting—but good journalism isn’t free. Please support us by subscribing or contributing today.

(7) comments


This is the same group that says smoking doesn’t hurt you. I get my flu shot every year

Mouse in AZ

I will give it some consideration once six conditions are met: (1) double-blind saline placebo; (2) no aluminum adjuvant and no use of aborted fetus cell line; (3) no genetic code manipulation; (4) at least an 18-month trial observation to check for longer term effects, such as viral interference; (5) trials carried out on broad population spectrum similar to that to be injected; and (6) for injuries, no government indemnification of pharmaceutical developers and manufacturers. Are any of these unreasonable?


That will never happen. They want it widespread quickly to make you more vulnerable to disease than before. Just hype up your own immune system and quit worrying about this "virus". The more fear we have of something, the worse it becomes. Flu vaccines are another problem. Why would you take something that might give you the flu, rather than building immunity to the flu on your own? Everything you stated is reasonable, Mouse. Sadly, it will be ignored.


You do realize that a basic concept of gaining immunity requires your body to be exposed to the insult unless you are going for passive immunity which is not as widely used. SMH


Why do you come here and spew utter nonsense?


Yes, the greater than 90% effectiveness of these vaccines is due to genetic manipulation being able to very effectively target the virus's ability to attack you. If you want to try for "natural immunity" you will need to get infected with the real virus, which is thousands of times more dangerous than the vaccine.


I'm with you. Let's make sure it works effectively and has no deadly side effects first.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.