Scary news about the coronavirus might be spurring a positive side benefit — more vaccinations.
White House officials said late Sunday the U.S. administered 816,000 doses in a single day, including 517,000 initial doses to people coming forward for the first time.
“The past week has been our strongest week of vaccinations since early June, in terms of first-time shots,” White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain tweeted.
Average daily doses dropped to around 500,000 earlier this month — down from an April peak of more than 3.4 million — but have steadily crept up again, to an average of 650,000 or so.
“Since the week of July 5, there has been a steady increase in the number of people who are getting vaccinated in the U.S.,” tweeted Cyrus Shaphar, the White House COVID-19 data director.
Mr. Shaphar on Monday said 70% of U.S. adults have received at least one dose of a vaccine — the goal President Biden had set for July 4.
The increase coincides with buzz about vaccine mandates and concerns around the delta variant that is ripping through communities with poor vaccination rates. Slightly less than half of the U.S. — 49.6% — is fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and several states have vaccination rates lower than 40%.
Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health estimated Sunday there are 100 million Americans who are eligible for the shots but have not come forward.
Officials point to data that show as of late July, fewer than 0.004% of those fully vaccinated had a breakthrough infection that put them in the hospital and fewer than 0.001% of the vaccinated died from a COVID-19 case.
A Kaiser Family Foundation analysis found “breakthrough” infections in fully vaccinated persons remain quite rare. The share of vaccinated persons who’ve experienced an infection was below 1% in all reporting states, KFF found.
Some people might find it paradoxical to see cases and hospitalizations rise even as vaccination uptake improves. But the shots take time to work.
Doses of the two-shot Pfizer-BioNTech version are given 21 days apart and the Moderna shots are given 28 days apart.
A person is considered fully vaccinated 14 days after receiving the second dose or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The cable airwaves are filled with patients who regret not getting vaccinated.
KLAS 8 News Now reported that a Las Vegas father of five texted his wife from his hospital bed before he died Thursday.
“God. This is terrible,” Michael Freedy, 39, wrote. “I should have gotten the damn vaccine.”
Mr. Biden recently mandated millions of federal workers to get vaccinated or submit to regular testing.
Democratic governors and mayors are imposing similar rules on public employees and urging private employers to tighten their rules.
“Private business, I am asking them, and suggesting to them: Go to vaccine-only admission,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, said Monday.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, meanwhile, said he is encouraging people to wear masks in public indoor spaces after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that both unvaccinated and vaccinated persons cover their faces in areas of high or substantial transmission.
He will not mandate their use, however, because masks are not a substitute for the shots.
“It’s really strategic. It’s about keeping the focus on vaccination,” the Democrat said.