More than 70 percent of American seniors have had at least their first dose of Covid vaccine and nearly 14 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, White House officials said Wednesday.
An average of 2.5 million more shots are being given each day, including 1.7 million given Tuesday.
And Americans are finally getting more concrete evidence of just how well the shots can turn the tide of the pandemic after new research showed that fewer than one percent of health care workers developed COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated.
Even the ever-cautious Dr Anthony Fauci couldn’t help but express some optimism during a Wednesday Covid response team briefing.
‘Everyday we get closer and closer to that extraordinary degree of effectiveness, which we’re seeing at the community level,’ he said.
‘At the end of the day, that is what it is that is going to end this pandemic in this country.’
The U.S. is getting ever closer to that goal. On May 1, President Biden says he will ask all states to expand vaccination eligibility to all adults, in a move to speed the rollout – and at least 40 states are on track to meet that deadline, according to the New York Times.
The US is now giving 2.5 million coronavirus vaccines a day, and has vaccinated more than 70 percent of its senior population
‘At the end of the day, that is what it is that is going to end this pandemic in this country,’ Dr Anthony Fauci said of the promising data showing the ability of coronavirus vaccines to prevent infection and transmission of the virus (file)
A year ago today Dr Anthony Fauci was urging then-President Trump to be ‘flexible’ about when to start relaxing COVID-restrictions, which the president wanted then to loosen by Easter Sunday.
Now, much of the country is still under many of the same restrictions it was then.
That is slowly starting to shift as the vaccine rollout accelerates and the number of people eligible to get the shots expands.
Nearly half of US schools are now open for in-person learning.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has made it very clear that neither teachers nor students need to be vaccinated in order for schools to reopen.
But President Biden has urged all states to expand vaccine access to teachers and school staff.
To-date, 1.3 million educators have been vaccinated.
And President Biden has said that, on May 1, he will direct all states to expand eligibility to all Americans.
Already, at least five states – Alaska, Mississippi, West Virginia, Utah and Arizona have expanded access to anyone 16 or older, at least at their state-run sites.
And Oklahoma announced Wednesday that anyone 16 or older is now eligible through the Chickasaw nation’s program, but not the statewide one.
At least six states intend to expand by the end of the month, according to a CNN analysis.
The majority of other U.S. states (40) claim they will be ready to vaccinate any adults by the president’s May 1 deadline.
Vaccination for the general public will in part be facilitated by the ramp-up of production by vaccine makers.
By the end of this month, three vaccine-makers are expected to have supplied the U.S. with 240 million doses of COVID-19 shots.
However, there is growing doubt within the Biden administration that Johnson & Johnson will not meet its goal of 20 million doses by then.
To-date, the firm has supplied the US with about nine million doses, leaving it less than a week to deliver another 11 million shots.
If Johnson and Johnson does fall short, the U.S. is still slated to have accumulated enough doses to fully vaccinate at least 119 million people – or 36 percent of the population.
As of Wednesday, the U.S. has enough supply to vaccinate nearly 20 percent of its population, and had given at least one dose to 25.3 percent of its population and fully vaccinated 13.7 percent of Americans, according to Bloomberg tracking.
At that rate, the US could reach herd immunity – with 75 percent of the population vaccinated – within four months.
Herd immunity is broadly considered the benchmark for when life can return to some semblance of normality.
For the time being though, uncertainty surrounding whether vaccines prevent asymptomatic COVID-19 and transmission of the virus has led public health officials to remain very cautious about advising much freedom in movement or actions.
Earlier this month, the CDC finally told fully vaccinated people they could resume a few somewhat normal activities, including spending time maskless and indoors with other fully vaccinated people and some low-risk unvaccinated people.