US Hits Vaccine Milestone, May Miss July 4 Goal


Editor’s note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

The U.S. has administered more than 300 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, meeting another milestone in the effort to tamp down the coronavirus.

Now 63.5% of U.S. adults have received at least one vaccine dose, and 51.5% of the total population has received at least one dose. Despite the progress, the country may fall short of President Joe Biden’s goal for 70% of adults to receive at least one shot by July 4.

As of Sunday, 14 jurisdictions have met the 70% goal, according to the latest CDC tally. The majority of those are states in the Northeast and West. Another 15 states and the District of Columbia have passed the 60% mark and will likely reach Biden’s goal. On the opposite end, six states — including four in the South — have not passed the 40% threshold.

Officials are trying to boost vaccination rates by promoting incentives such as cash lotteries, college scholarships, vacation packages and free beers. Even still, the U.S. is averaging fewer than 1 million shots per day, dropping from a peak of 3.4 million in April, according to CDC trends data.

At some vaccination sites across the country, health care workers and volunteers now outnumber the people who are showing up to receive a shot, according to The Washington Post. Every state has seen a drop in numbers by at least two-thirds from its peak, particularly in the South and Midwest.

In 12 states, vaccinations have fallen below 15 shots per 10,000 residents per day, the newspaper reported. Alabama had 4 people per 10,000 residents get vaccinated last week.

Nationwide, about 2.4 million adults received their first shot last week, the Post reported. To meet Biden’s goal, 4.2 million adults need to receive their first dose each week.

Vaccinations have already gone to the “low-hanging fruit — those people who absolutely want to get vaccinated without you telling them anything,” Anthony Fauci, MD, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a White House call with community leaders on Friday.

“You’re left with a group that you may need…trusted messengers who go out there and explain to them why it’s critical for themselves, for their family,” he said.

Last week, the Biden administration announced a “month of action” throughout June to promote vaccinations. The initiative includes a partnership with Black-owned barbershops and salons, a challenge for 79 cities to compete on vaccination rates and free child care for those who still need to get a shot, The Washington Post reported.

States have announced their own initiatives, such as the “Let’s Bring Summer Back” campaign in North Carolina, to set up vaccine sites at parks, fairs and other popular visitor spots for people to get a shot.

“My job is to make this convenient,” Mandy Cohen, secretary for North Carolina Health and Human Services, told the newspaper.

“I want people to be tripping over opportunities to get vaccinated,” she said.

Sources:

ABC News: “US surpasses 300 million COVID-19 vaccine shots administered.”

CDC: “COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States.”

CDC: “Trends in Number of COVID-19 Vaccinations in the US.”

The Washington Post: “Vaccination rates fall off, imperiling Biden’s July Fourth goal.”





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