A White House official said on Aug. 6 that half of the total population of the United States has now been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
Cyrus Shahpar, the White House COVID-19 data director, provided the update on Twitter, in which he noted that on Aug. 6 alone, more than half a million Americans received their first dose of vaccine.
More than 821,000 vaccine doses were administered on Aug. 6, he said, while the seven-day average of newly vaccinated people rose 11 percent over the past week and 44 percent over the past two weeks, in a possible sign that the Biden administration’s efforts to encourage vaccinations are bearing fruit.
President Joe Biden and senior officials in his administration have promoted vaccines as the key to beating the pandemic and returning to normal life.
Besides setting a goal of 70 percent of U.S. adults receiving the vaccine by July 4, a target met about a month late, Biden has also urged states and local governments to offer $100 payments to the newly vaccinated as an incentive, while also seeking to enlist community and social media “influencers” to help persuade the those hesitant to receive the vaccine.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s (KFF) most recent vaccine monitor survey, 14 percent of U.S. adults said in July that they’ll “definitely not” get a COVID-19 vaccine, a number that has held relatively steady since December.
One example of the Biden administration seeking to leverage star power in its vaccination campaign involved singer and actress Olivia Rodrigo addressing the public from the White House briefing room in July.
“It’s important to have conversations with friends and family members encouraging all communities to get vaccinated,” Rodrigo said at the time, noting that she was “humbled to be here today to help spread the message about the importance of youth vaccination.”
Rodrigo was also featured in a video of herself and White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci reading fan posts on Twitter about getting the vaccine.
“I got my first dose of the Fauci ouchie,” Fauci read out one of the Twitter posts.
“Olivia RodriGO to the vaccine clinic,” Rodrigo read another, before commenting, “Very true—all the funny puns as long as you’re getting vaccinated.”
White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients touted progress in vaccination rates.
“We have more than doubled the average number of people newly vaccinated each day over the past three weeks in the states with the highest case rates,” Zients said during an Aug. 5 briefing.
He also noted that states that have been lagging in vaccinations were picking up the pace, singling out Tennessee and its 90 percent increase in the administration of first doses over the past two weeks, as well as Oklahoma with an 82 percent increase and Georgia with a 66 percent rise.
“Clearly, Americans are seeing the impact of being unvaccinated and unprotected, and they’re responding by doing their part, rolling up their sleeves, and getting vaccinated,” Zients said.
White House official also said the Biden administration was “spurring action on vaccination requirements,” including the president announcing the prior week that all federal workers and federal contractors would be subject to a vaccine mandate.
He also noted Biden’s push for local authorities and businesses to mandate vaccines, saying that, “already, we’re seeing momentum in vaccination requirements across the country,” while giving examples such as nearly 650 colleges and universities requiring on-campus staff and students to get the shot.
“America’s businesses, large and small; universities and medical schools; and many other institutions are stepping up on vaccination requirements,” Zients said.
Vaccine mandates have become a hot-button issue, with advocates welcoming them as a measure to help stem the spread of the CCP virus and protect vulnerable populations, while opponents object on a range of grounds, including that the vaccines are currently under emergency use authorization and that mandates infringe on personal liberties.