Today Jeff Zients, White House COVID-19 coordinator, announced that among adults age 30 and older, 70% have met President Joe Biden's goal of receiving at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine before the Fourth of July.
"We got here because the president treated this as a wartime effort," Zients said, explaining that among adults over age 45, 75% have had at least one dose. In total, since Biden took office, 150 million vaccine doses have been administered, and now 56% of Americans are fully vaccinated against the virus, he said.
But, Zients warned, younger Americans now need to do their part to get the shot. Biden's goal was to have all Americans age 18 and up have at least one dose by July 4; now Zients said that goal will be met for only Americans ages 26 and up.
Biden's other Jul 4 goal was to have 160 million Americans fully vaccinated. That goal will now be met no later than mid-July, Zients said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID Data Tracker shows that 379,003,410 COVID-19 vaccines doses have been delivered in the United States, and 318,576,441 have been administered, with 150,046,006 Americans fully vaccinated (65.4% of adults have had at least one dose).
Citing data from the United Kingdom, White House Chief Medical Advisor Anthony Fauci, MD, warned that young, unvaccinated Americans could aid the Delta variant in becoming the dominant strain in the United States.
"The Delta variant is the biggest threat in the United States to eliminating COVID-19," Fauci said. "The good news is we have the tools." Vaccines in the United Kingdom have proven to be effective in preventing severe disease from Delta, Fauci said.
US donates 55 million vaccine doses
The Biden administration announced late yesterday it was sending 55 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to COVAX, the program designed to ensure equitable access to COVID vaccines for low- and middle-income countries, fulfilling its promise of 80 million vaccine doses to the global stockpile by the end of June.
"For all of these doses, those most at risk, such as health care workers, should be prioritized, based on national vaccine plans," the White House said in a statement. "Our goals are to increase global COVID-19 vaccination coverage, prepare for surges and prioritize healthcare workers and other vulnerable populations based on public health data and acknowledged best practice, and help our neighbors and other countries in need."
Of the 55 million doses distributed within the next week, 41 million will go to COVAX to be allocated to Latin America and the Caribbean (14 million doses), Asia (16 million), and Africa (10 million).
According to the White House, 14 million—or 25% of these 55 million vaccines—will be shared with countries with regional priorities.
The administration also confirmed the G7-hatched plan for the United States to purchase 500 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine to donate to 92 low- and lower middle-income countries and members of the African Union.
In related news, the Department of Defense said yesterday that Moderna has been awarded a $3.3 billion contract to produce hundreds of millions of additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine, according to Fox Business.
Medicare deaths rose, Medicaid enrollment soared
New reports from the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) show how the government entities were dramatically impacted during the pandemic.
Deaths among Medicare patients in US nursing homes rose by 32% last year, according to the Associated Press. About 4 in 10 Medicare recipients in nursing homes had COVID-19 in 2020.
New data from the CMS show that enrollment in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program increased during the pandemic, the Wall Street Journal reports. Nearly 9.9 million people enrolled in the two programs between February 2020 and January 2021, a 13.9% increase.
Michigan drops mask mandate
The United States reported 12,388 new COVID-19 cases yesterday and 268 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker.
Michigan's statewide mask requirement and capacity restrictions officially ended today, Michigan Radio reports. Local health departments, school districts, and businesses can still set their own policies.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer came under attack during the pandemic for maintaining some of the country’s strictest mask and physical distancing mandates. "As more than 9 million vaccines have been distributed and cases have fallen to a one year low, capacity restrictions and mask mandates have been lifted across our state," Whitmer announced on Twitter.