Half of all American adults are on track to receive at least one Covid-19 vaccination by this weekend, according to a government adviser, although Joe Biden offered a reality check on Tuesday when he warned the US is still in a “life-and-death race” against the coronavirus.
Andy Slavitt, White House senior adviser for Covid-19 response, said that 50% of adults are likely to receive a shot in the next few days.
The good news is tempered by some states seeing coronavirus cases rising at a rate not seen since late 2020, however, with Michigan seeing a surge among young people in particular.
“We do have to remember that there are 100 million-plus adults that still haven’t been vaccinated,” Slavitt told CNN in an interview on Tuesday night.
“They’re not there yet, and you don’t win the war until you bring everybody over with you.”
At least 108.3 million people had received at least one dose of the vaccine by Wednesday morning, according to the Washington Post’s tracker.
About 63 million Americans are fully vaccinated, and adults in more than 30 states are now eligible to receive the vaccine. On Tuesday the president announced that all US adults will be eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine by 19 April.
A record 4m doses were administered on Saturday, but Biden was quick to warn against complacency.
“We aren’t at the finish line. We still have a lot of work to do,” Biden said in remarks at the White House. “We’re still in a life-and-death race against this virus.”
The vaccination success is offset by reports of rising coronavirus cases in some states.
Michigan has recorded the most severe increase in infections over the past two weeks, at a rate not seen since early December.
ABC’s Good Morning America show was at Beaumont hospital in Michigan on Wednesday morning, where a reporter said the emergency room is “slammed”.
Covid patients were waiting in the emergency room for treatment, as a hospital administrator Dawn Holland told the show: “We are seeing the numbers go up.”
Lynn Sutfin, Michigan health department spokeswoman, said the increase is down to a “combination of factors”.
“Variants, outbreaks among schools/sporting teams and a high case rate among 10- to 19-year-olds and now increasing rates among all age groups through 59, and Covid-fatigue,” Sutfin said, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Dr Anthony Fauci, the top infectious diseases expert in the US, said “it is premature to declare a victory” against the virus.
“We are seeing more and more young people getting into serious trouble, namely severe disease requiring hospitalization and occasionally even tragic deaths in quite young people,” he said.
The White House said that more than 40% of US adults had received at least one shot as of Tuesday.
Biden added another encouraging statistic: more than 75% of Americans over the age of 65 have been vaccinated, he said, calling it a “dramatic turnaround” in the country’s fight against the virus.