A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in Boston on June 17, 2021. Adam Glanzman / Bloomberg / Getty Images
At the current vaccination rate, according to a CNN analysis of data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it will take until mid-February for all eligible Americans to receive at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine.
More than 90 million eligible people in the US are still unvaccinated. And although the seven-day average of people vaccinating each day is the highest since July 4, at 446,300, many experts say the U.S. is still not where it needs to be to handle the pandemic – and the rapidly expanding delta variant – to get. under control.
With less than half of the population fully vaccinated, cases have risen again, leading to serious illness.
On Tuesday, more than 50,000 hospital beds across the country were occupied by Covid-19 patients for the first time since February, according to new data from the US Department of Health. That number is more than three times what it was a month ago.
“We’re not howling a wolf here. This surge that we are currently going through has the potential to be the worst surge we have seen so far, ”said former US surgeon general Dr. Jerome Adams during a live online interview with The Washington Posted on Tuesday.
The director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday he would like the US to get more than a million vaccinations a day to close the vaccination gap.
“We’ll maybe make it when mandates come, but it can’t be 250,000, 500,000 a day, otherwise it will go well into winter. I want to arrive earlier, ”said Fauci.
With the spread of the delta variant, it may not be possible to completely stop the spread of the coronavirus, said Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, on Tuesday.
“But we could still get to a place where this becomes a nuisance rather than a threat to your life.”
Although experts have said the data so far does not suggest the general population needs booster vaccines, Fauci said efforts are underway to get them for people who are immunocompromised.
Some conditions – including autoimmune diseases, transplants, and cancer that are treated with chemotherapy – affect people’s immune systems.
“The people we know almost always don’t have an adequate response, so the need to give them an extra boost is much more pressing than the general population,” Fauci said during a virtual event hosted Tuesday by Virginia Governor Ralph Northam was organized.
The CDC’s vaccine advisors have met to discuss whether immunocompromised people may need additional protection from a booster dose, but have not yet made a formal recommendation or voted on guidelines.
“We are working very hard to put the regulatory mechanism in place very soon to give these individuals a boost that could, if possible, bring their immunity to the level it should be,” said Fauci.
During a discussion hosted Tuesday by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Fauci said it was “very likely” that Covid-19 variants have developed in the bodies of immunocompromised people.
People with immunosuppression may not be able to fight off Covid-19 infections for weeks or even months, which means the virus has plenty of time to develop and change.
“Variations, as we all know, have arisen because of the pressure the human immune system has put on the virus, most likely from people who are immunocompromised … and who had the virus for days before clearing it and / or dying and then essentially led to the creation of a variant, ”said Fauci.