WASHINGTON Three-quarters of American adults received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, according to the White House, setting a new milestone in the country’s fight against the pandemic.
But with continuing increases in cases, hospitalizations and deaths from the delta variant of the coronavirus, President Joe Biden is planning a speech on Thursday to outline a six-pronged strategy to bring the pandemic under control, said press secretary Jen Psaki. .
The United States has reached 70% of adults with at least one dose in early August, four weeks after Bidens’ July 4 target for achievement. Despite the wide availability of free shots, the reluctance of many Americans, especially political conservatives, has left the United States well behind many other countries in vaccinating their populations.
A range of factors are now driving the vaccinations, including the Delta epidemic and broader employer mandates, which increased after the Food and Drug Administration approved full approval of the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech shot on last month.
Psaki downplayed expectations for any fresh or expanded vaccine mandate in Bidens’ speech, and said the federal government did not believe it had the power to demand vaccines nationally.
The US response to the pandemic remains a patchwork and political battleground, with some prominent Republican governors downplaying the importance of vaccines and blocking public health measures such as mask warrants.
Cases have skyrocketed throughout the summer in the United States, with the country setting a record for new cases on August 27, surpassing last winter’s highs. Hospitalizations and deaths have also increased, including 3,911 deaths reported last Thursday, the most in a day since January.
As the Bidens administration is pushing for vaccines in the arms of the unvaccinated, it is also preparing to launch a booster program for those who have already been vaccinated. The administration plans to authorize third doses of Pfizers from September 20 for anyone who has received their second dose at least eight months previously.
The administration announced its recall plan in August based on indications that the immunity conferred by two injections may wane over time and is not as effective against delta data as some health experts outside. of the government find it inconclusive.
Pfizer goes further than its competitors in obtaining regulatory approval for booster injections. Moderna Inc. submitted data to regulators last week, but the FDA has requested more information on a full-dose booster, rather than the half-dose offered by the company, according to people familiar with the matter.
Anthony Fauci, Biden’s medical adviser and longtime U.S. health official, told CNN on Sunday that it was likely Pfizer boosters will start on September 20 with Moderna boosters after a few weeks later. The administration said it plans to distribute around 100 million reminders this fall.
It is not yet clear which booster shots will be given, or when, to those who have received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is based on different technology than the messenger RNA vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna.
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