According to new estimates, more than half the U.S. adult population has been vaccinated against COVID-19 in just the first six months of 2021 — a remarkable feat in our battle against the global pandemic.
While disparities still exist for vaccine access and recipients (vaccination rates are still dramatically lower for people of color, people living in rural settings and people with extremely conservative political viewpoints), public health experts are cautiously optimistic about the progress the country has made so far, allowing for continued reopening, lifting of restrictions and an overall return to “normalcy” across the country.
Bill Chappell of NPR has reported that “nearly 130 million people aged 18 and older have completed their vaccine regimens since the first doses were administered to the public in December.” He also noted that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, another 70 million vaccine doses are currently in the distribution pipeline.
During a press briefing, Senior White House COVID-19 Adviser Andy Slavitt called the news a “major milestone in our country’s vaccination efforts” and added that the U.S. is now pushing to vaccinate millions of additional Americans over the course of June, with a new goal of having 70% of U.S. adults protected from the virus by the Fourth of July.
Chappell also reported that “vaccinations have risen sharply in children 12 years and older,” just weeks after the Food and Drug Administration made that age group eligible for vaccination. According to the CDC’s latest data, “nearly 5 million adolescents have received at least one dose of the vaccine.”
Nine states — Vermont, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Hawaii and New Mexico — are currently leading the country in vaccination rates; a stunning 70% of adults in each of these states have already received at least one dose of their COVID vaccine.
Chappell reported that “the lowest overall vaccination rates in the U.S. remain in the South, where Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Arkansas have administered the fewest doses per 100,000 adults, according to the CDC.”
For those who still haven’t gotten their vaccine, Slavitt advised that the time is now. Availability of appointments continues to increase, and the CDC-approved vaccines are readily available across the country. Slavitt emphasized that everyone has got to do their part, reiterating just how important the vaccine is for increasing one’s protection against potential COVID-19 infection.
“Unless you’re vaccinated, you’re at risk,” Slavitt warned bluntly.