The United States on Monday hit President Joe Biden’s goal of administering at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to 70 percent of American adults—a month behind schedule—according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Biden had originally aimed to reach that target by July 4.
The CDC announced late Monday that 180,762,301 people, or 70 percent of American adults, had received at least one dose, while 164,919,666 people, or 49.7 percent of the population, were fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
According to the agency, as of Monday morning, a total of 346,924,345 doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered nationwide.
The three COVID-19 vaccines currently authorized for emergency use in the United States are produced by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. The three vaccines haven’t yet received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Pfizer and BioNTech submitted their request on May 7, Moderna in June began a rolling submission, while Johnson & Johnson said in April that it plans to do so later this year.
The FDA usually takes several months to grant a vaccine full approval. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, which regulates vaccines, told The Washington Post last week that the agency typically requires at least six months’ follow-up on those who received the vaccine in the clinical trial.
The milestone was reached amid a surge in cases of the highly contagious Delta COVID-19 variant, and shortly after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its mask-wearing guidance to state that fully vaccinated individuals should also be wearing masks indoors in high risk areas.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told reporters on July 27 that research indicates that “on rare occasions, some vaccinated people infected with the Delta variant after vaccination may be contagious and spread the virus to others.”
Fully vaccinated individuals who contract the Delta variant may have the same viral load as people who are unvaccinated, Walensky said, noting that the variant can be transmitted by vaccinated people.
The Delta variant currently accounts for more than 80 percent of new cases in the United States.
Following the updated CDC guidance, some jurisdictions have moved to reimpose mask mandates, regardless of vaccination status. On Monday, Louisiana became the first state to do so for all indoor settings except when at home, including colleges and schools, citing the spread of the contagious variant.
Meanwhile in a Massachusetts county, COVID-19 outbreaks last month associated with large public gathering occurred primarily among fully vaccinated people.
The president on July 27 suggested that those who are still unvaccinated are “sowing enormous confusion.”
“We have a pandemic because of the unvaccinated, and they’re sowing enormous confusion,” Biden said while visiting McLean, Virginia. “And there’s only one thing we know for sure, if those other 100 million people got vaccinated, we’d be in a very different world. So get vaccinated. If you haven’t, you’re not nearly as smart as I said you were.”