US administers 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses

COVID vaccination
COVID vaccination

US National Guard, Cotton Puryear / Flickr cc

Today, on day 92 of his presidency, Joe Biden has reached his goal of administering more than 200 million vaccine doses to Americans, 8 days ahead of schedule.

Originally, Biden had set the goal of 100 million shots in arms during the first 100 days. But after reaching that goal in 58 days, a second goal of 200 million shots within the first 100 days was set.

"It's another month or so before we see the full benefits of this effort, but already there's been a dramatic decline of deaths among people age 65 and older," said Biden in remarks to the press. "Still, far too many lives have been lost."

More than 50% of Americans have had at least one dose of vaccine, and more than 80% of Americans age 65 or older have had at least one shot.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID Data Tracker shows 272,030,795 COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered in the US, and 213,388,238 have been administered, with 86,223,506 Americans fully vaccinated.

New focus: Young, vaccine hesitant

Today Biden said it was time for all Americans 16 and up to get vaccinated, as they are eligible in all states. Currently, teens ages 16 to 18 can get the Pfizer vaccine, while those 18 and older can get either Pfizer or Moderna. 

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is approved for use in those 18 and up, is on pause until at least Friday, as the CDC and Food and Drug Administration investigate whether and to what extent that vaccine is linked to rare blood clots.

Biden encouraged all employers to give employees paid time off to get the vaccine and recover from any adverse effects. He also said he was encouraged by some employers who were giving employees incentives to get vaccinated.

And though it wasn't mentioned today, reaching those who are hesitant about COVID-19 vaccines will be the next challenge for the administration. A new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates the United States will likely reach a tipping point on vaccine enthusiasm in the next 2 to 4 weeks, when supply will outstrip demand.

Young adults have been a diving factor in the latest wave of virus activity. The United States reported 54,672 new COVID-19 cases yesterday and 776 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker.

Michigan is still the epicenter of virus activity. Michigan's largest health system is straining under the weight of the state's third COVID-19 surge, according to Michigan Public Radio. The CEO of Beaumont Health System says there are 800 COVID-19 patients in Beaumont's eight hospitals, and some hospitals have had to set up outdoor emergency triage centers.

Breakthrough infections in nursing homes

Nursing home staff and residents were among the first groups to receive vaccines in the United States, and a new CDC study shows they had limited breakthrough infections once two doses had been administered.

The study was based on 7,931 skilled nursing facility (SNF) residents and 6,834 staff members who received two doses of the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines in 78 Chicago-based SNFs.

Only 22 breakthrough infections were detected 2 weeks or more after completing vaccination, 14 of which were asymptomatic. No facility-associated secondary transmission was detected. Two nursing home residents were hospitalized with infections, and one death was recorded.

"The results in this report highlight the importance of COVID-19 vaccination in high-risk congregate settings such as SNFs; most fully vaccinated persons were not infected, did not have COVID-19–like symptoms, and did not have severe illness," the authors concluded.

Other US developments

  • New York City officials estimate that nearly a quarter of adult New Yorkers were infected with the coronavirus last spring, and that the toll was even higher among Black and Hispanic residents, the New York Times reported today. The estimates are based on antibody test results from more than 45,000 city residents last year.

  • A year after a Connecticut company received $1.3 billion in federal loans and a contract to supply an essential syringe for the vaccine rollout, no syringes have been made, according to NBC News, and the syringe hasn't even received the approvals it needs to be manufactured.

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