Every adult in the United States is now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, meeting President Joe Biden’s April 19 deadline, but the pace of vaccinations around the nation is steady and demand for vaccinations is even slowing in some regions.
Biden’s call for all states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, to make sure every adult can get a COVID vaccine has been met, according to the New York Times. Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont were the final holdouts, but they all changed their vaccination requirements to include all adults on April 19, meeting the target date.
“It’s truly historic that we have already reached this milestone,” Dr. Nandita Mani, the associate medical director of infection prevention and control at the University of Washington Medical Center, told the newspaper.
It also noted that the nation’s on pace to meet another Biden milestone, administering 200 million doses by his 100th day in office, even though the use of the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine is currently sidelined. A decision to resume its use, however, should be forthcoming by April 23, Dr. Anthony Fauci has revealed.
“I don’t want to get ahead of the CDC and the FDA and the advisory committee,” Fauci said, according to a New York Times article on the ongoing development. That story noted Fauci expected experts to recommend “some sort of either warning or restriction” for vaccine use related to blood clotting in rare cases.
CNN reported that even with the expanded availability that allows every adult in the country to get a COVID vaccine, some health officials and pharmacies are reporting a lessening demand for the vaccine, even as the availability has expanded nationwide.
“We’re reaching the point where we’re getting to the hard audiences,” said Lori Tremmel Freeman, CEO of the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). “The ones that either are unsure or on the fence about the vaccine, don’t have enough information or are just plain outright … not interested in the vaccine for other reasons.”
Kristy Fryman, the emergency response coordinator and public information officer for the Mercer County Health District in Ohio, noted that reaching rural residents has built-in obstacles affecting public health efforts.
“People in rural areas tend to have an attitude of being self-sufficient, especially among the younger population,” Fryman said. “We’ve also heard people are waiting to get the vaccine because they’re wanting to know the side effects down the road from it. And then another comment would be that the vaccine is just too new.”
As CNBC reported, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows 3.5 million vaccine doses were administered across the U.S. on April 18, with the seven-day average of daily vaccinations holding above the 3 million mark for 12 straight days.
Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said on April 19 that he expects warmer weather and the current vaccination efforts to combine in decreasing case counts soon.
“I think we’re going to start to see the pandemic roll over in the United States in terms of cases coming down,” he said. “We’re still going to have outbreaks in some parts of the country—we’re never going to virtually eliminate this virus—but I think you’re going to start to see cases come down quite dramatically as we get into May.”
Gottlieb cited San Francisco, where 40% of adults are now fully vaccinated and the city is only seeing about 30 new cases per day. As the article noted, though, effects of COVID-19 are still evident throughout the nation, with 723 daily deaths and a seven-day case average of 67,400.
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