Half of US adults receive at least one COVID shot

WASHINGTON, DC, United States (AP) — Half of all adults in the United States have received at least one COVID-19 shot, the Government announced yesterday, marking another milestone in the nation’s largest-ever vaccination campaign but has more work to do to convince sceptical Americans to roll up their sleeves.

Almost 130 million people 18 or older have received at least one dose of a vaccine, or 50.4 per cent of the total adult population, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported. Almost 84 million adults, or about 32.5 per cent of the population, have been fully vaccinated.

The US cleared the 50 per cent mark for adults just a day after the reported global death toll from COVID-19 topped a staggering three million, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University, though the actual number is believed to be significantly higher.

In other developments, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert indicated yesterday that the Government will likely move to resume use of Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine this week, possibly with restrictions or broader warnings after reports of some very rare blood clot cases.

Dr Anthony Fauci, in a series of news show interviews, said he expects a decision when advisers to the CDC meet Friday to discuss the pause in J&J’s single-dose vaccine.

“I would be very surprised if we don’t have a resumption in some form by Friday,” he said. “I don’t really anticipate that they’re going to want to stretch it out a bit longer.”

Fauci, who is President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, said he believed that federal regulators could bring the shots back with restrictions based on age or gender, or with a blanket warning, so that it is administered in a way “a little bit different than we were before the pause”.

The J&J vaccine has been in limbo after the CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said last week that they needed more evidence to decide if a handful of unusual blood clots were linked to the shot and if so, how big is the risk.

The reports are rare — six cases out of more than seven million US inoculations with J&J vaccine. The clots were found in six women between the ages of 18 and 48. One person died.

The acting FDA commissioner had said she expected the pause to last only a matter of days. Still, the decision last Tuesday triggered swift action in Europe and elsewhere.

Fauci said he doubted very seriously that the US would permanently halt use of the J&J vaccine.

“I don’t think that’s going to happen,” he said. “The pause was to take a look, make sure we know all the information we can have within that time frame, and also warn some of the physicians out there who might see people, particularly women, who have this particular adverse event, that they treat them properly.”

“I think it’ll likely say, ‘OK, we’re going to use it. But be careful under these certain circumstances.’ “

More than 6.8 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been given in the US, the vast majority with no or mild side effects. Authorities stressed that they have found no sign of clot problems with the most widely used COVID-19 vaccines in the US — Moderna and Pfizer.

Fauci appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press, CNN’s State of the Union, ABC’s This Week and C BS’s Face the Nation.

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