White House says COVID-19 vaccination rate for US adults to surpass 50%

WASHINGTON – Half of U.S. adults will be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 by today, according to the White House.

Vaccination rates still vary by state, however. And officials have stressed that the coronavirus will continue to spread in communities with lower levels of vaccinations.

At least 25 states have fully vaccinated at least half of their adult residents, according to data published Sunday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

President Joe Biden has set a goal of getting at least one shot into the arm of 70% percent of adults by July 4th.

More than 60% of adults have now had at least one shot.

“This is a major milestone in our country’s vaccination efforts,” said Andy Slavitt, the White House senior advisor on COVID-19 response.

For those still on the fence about whether to get vaccinated, Slavitt encouraged them to “do yourself a favor” and talk to a doctor or pharmacist about any concerns.

“Don’t let some guy on Facebook answer your question when good answers are available,” he said.

New coronavirus cases have fallen dramatically as adults have gotten vaccinated.

Memorial Day weekend will be a test of whether the nation can avoid the spikes in infections that occurred after holidays, before vaccines were widely available. 

“If you are vaccinated, you’re protected, and you can enjoy your Memorial Day,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. “If you’re not vaccinated, our guidance has not changed for you. You remain at risk of infection. You still need to mask and take other precautions.”

 (Photo: Getty Images)

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Available vaccines for teenagers could increase.

Moderna announced Tuesday that its vaccine was 93% effective against COVID-19 in children aged 12 to 17 after the first dose and 100% two weeks after the second dose, with no cases of COVID-19 reported among vaccinated participants.

Moderna hopes to be able to amend the emergency use authorization for its vaccine from the Food and Drug Administration to allow children as young as 12 to receive it.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was authorized for use in adults and teens 16 and older in December; the allowed age was dropped to 12 in May. 

Contributing: Elizabeth Weise and Karen Weintraub.

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