US picks up pace of vaccinations, averaging 2 million shots a day

The Biden Administration announced Wednesday it has secured an additional 100 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose COVID-19 vaccine.

This comes as the US picks up the pace of vaccinations, averaging about two million shots a day.

About 91 million Americans have now received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 32 million, or about 10% or US adults and 60% of Americans 65 and older, are now fully vaccinated.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky says coronavirus infection rates, hospitalizations and deaths, while still high, have dropped significantly.

"Earlier this week, we saw the number of deaths per day drop to lower than 1,000 for the first time since November," Walensky says.  "All of this is really good news."


The US states, territories, and tribes are now receiving about 20 million doses of the vaccine each week.

Dr. Walensky says the CDC is working with 9,000 pharmacies and 1,300 community health centers to get the vaccine out.

"We are at a critical point in this pandemic and on the cusp of having enough vaccine to protect every adult in the United States," she says.

There are still questions about how long the vaccines will provide protection and how effective they are against new, more contagious variants of the virus.

Walensky says while there is emerging evidence that fully vaccinated people are at low risk of passing the virus on to others, the CDC continues to recommend Americans avoid travel, even after they have been fully vaccinated.

"What we have seen is that we have surges after people start traveling," she says.  "We saw it after July Fourth. We saw it after Labor Day.  We saw it after the Christmas holidays.  Currently, 90% of people are still unprotected and are not yet vaccinated.


Dr. Walensky says the CDC will update its travel guidance once more Americans have been vaccinated. 

If the pace of the US rollout, Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to the President, says the US could reach herd immunity, with about 70 to 85% of Americans either vaccinated or previously-infected, by the end of summer, a major step in turning the tide against the virus.

"We don't want to get too hung up on reaching this end game of herd immunity, because, every day that you put 2 million to 3 million vaccinations into people makes society be more and more protected," Dr. Fauci says.

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