US exceeds 100 million COVID vaccinations | News on the coronavirus pandemic
More than 100 million people in the United States have received at least one vaccine against COVID-19, the national public health agency reported, as the Biden administration works to speed up vaccinations across the country .
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said more than 101 million vaccines have been administered since the country’s immunization program began late last year.
Of those, more than 35 million people – 10.5% of the US population – were considered “fully vaccinated,” the CDC said.
The United States has recorded the highest number of COVID-19 cases and coronavirus-related deaths in the world – with more than 29.3 million infections and more than 532,000 deaths – but the number of new infections has slowed to nationwide.
President Joe Biden has vowed to take a tougher approach to tackling the pandemic than his predecessor Donald Trump, who critics say has downplayed the virus threat and pledged to administer 100 million COVID-19 bites during his first 100 days in office.
Thursday, Biden mentionned all adults would get one shot before May 1 and he hoped the country would regain a sense of normalcy before Independence Day on July 4.
He had said previously the United States would have enough vaccine doses to inoculate every adult by the end of this month, as it announced a ramp-up in production of a new approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Biden also said he would meet his goal of administering 100 million hits in his 60th day in office. “No other country in the world has done this. No,” he said.
Public health experts have warned, however, that although vaccinations are speeding up, people should maintain physical distance and follow public health guidelines to minimize any potential spread of the virus.
Their warnings come as many American states, including Texas, announced plans to reopen businesses and lift mask warrants amid an economic slowdown caused by the pandemic.
The Associated Press reported that as COVID-19 infections decline nationwide, governors in more than half of the states have taken action in the past two weeks to end or ease restrictions.
Some capacity limits in Maryland and Oklahoma ended Friday, the news agency said, while Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York and Wyoming ease restrictions in the coming week.
Thursday, Biden signed in law a $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that his administration said would jumpstart the struggling US economy.
The new law provides for the distribution of $ 1,400 in direct payments to 160 million US citizens, among other provisions. The US Treasury Department was to start sending out these checks as early as the weekend.
“This historic legislation is aimed at rebuilding the backbone of this country,” Biden said in the Oval Office before signing the bill.
Biden’s drive to vaccinate Americans quickly also comes as human rights groups demand more vaccine fairness globally, as richer countries secure millions of doses for their citizens while that poorer countries are being left behind.
South Africa, India and over 100 other countries as well called on the World Trade Organization (WTO) this week to temporarily waive patents for COVID-19 vaccines so they can inoculate their populations.
In a statement released Thursday, Amnesty International said billions of people were at risk of not receiving a single stroke of COVID-19 this year.
The group said rich countries bought most of the COVID-19 vaccines when they made up just 16% of the world’s population. These same countries have also administered 60 percent of the doses so far, while 100 countries have yet to immunize a single person.
“Who has access to a COVID-19 vaccine, when, and at what cost, are some of the most important and contested questions facing our societies today. But the answers are shaped by the interests of powerful states and corporations, ”said Stephen Cockburn, Amnesty’s head of economics and social justice.
“So far, they have created a dangerous situation with global inequalities in access to vaccines spiraling out of control. A few rich countries are running ahead, while the rest of the world is struggling to get off the starting line.