Those vaccinated are not free of coronavirus and 1:51 variants
. – It has been months since covid-19 vaccines became available to the majority of the US population and things are looking much more like the beginning of the pandemic: cases are increasing, events are postponed and the restrictions have returned.
The culprit is the insufficient rate of vaccinations, and a solution may be to demand that people take steps to protect themselves and their community, said Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Center for Vaccine Education at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and member from the US Food and Drug Administration’s Advisory Committee on Vaccines
“We hit a wall,” Offit told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday. “We have reached the point where you have to force people to do the right thing,” he warned.
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Initial enthusiasm for getting vaccinated has waned, and many of those who haven’t expressed hesitancy or resistance to getting vaccinated. Currently, 49.3% of the US population is fully vaccinated, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s a far cry from the 70-85% range that experts have estimated would be necessary to slow or stop the spread of the virus.
“There was a time when we gave three million doses a day. If we had kept that course, we could have about 80% immunity of the population,” Offit said.
And the case numbers are increasing again. There are 49 states experiencing an increase in cases, and 35 have a seven-day average of at least 50% more cases than the previous week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Wednesday’s Major League Baseball game between the Washington Nationals and the Philadelphia Phillies was postponed after 12 Nationals, four players and eight staff members tested positive for COVID-19.
Controversy over the obligation to use masks
Escalating case numbers have pushed some areas back to mask-wearing mandates:
The mayor of Atlanta issued an ordinance Wednesday requiring the use of face masks in all enclosed public places. In Kansas, state employees and visitors will be required to wear masks indoors starting Monday. The Pentagon implemented a mandate to wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
But other local leaders are rejecting a return to pre-vaccine precautions.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp tweeted Wednesday that he will not issue any mask wearing or lockdown mandates in the state.
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Georgia is one of 35 states where new cases this week are more than 50% higher than last week. Currently, 38.5% of the state’s population is fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
“The biggest obstacle to getting more people vaccinated and the country getting back to normal is the mixed messages from Washington and those with partisan agendas. In Georgia, we have been consistent,” Kemp said in his tweets.
Health experts have said that changes in the recommendations, such as those made in the guidelines for the use of masks, are the result of insufficient vaccination and the delta variant, which changes the landscape of the pandemic.
Experts Advocate Covid-19 Vaccine Mandates As Doubts Increase
Despite educational efforts, increased accessibility, and financial incentives in many places, vaccination rates have dramatically slowed. It’s a troubling trend for health experts who say vaccination is the best hope to end the pandemic.
Overall vacillation vacillation has subsided over the past few months, but some Republicans are more likely to reject a COVID-19 vaccine now than they were in March, according to data from a poll released Wednesday by the Public Religion Research Institute and the Interfaith Youth Center.
About 46% of Republicans who trust far-right news the most said they will refuse to get vaccinated, up from 31% who said the same in March. However, the 77% of the Republicans who trust the mainstream media the most and the 64% of the Republicans who trust Fox News the most are “vaccine acceptors,” according to the survey data.
Among Democrats, 85% accept vaccines, up from 73% in March, and 71% of independents accept vaccines, up from 58% in March, according to survey data.
Mandatory application of vaccines against covid-19, a possibility
One motivating factor that could help overcome reluctance is vaccine application mandates, some officials and experts have suggested. And many places have started to implement them.
The New York State Court System announced Wednesday that all employees will need to undergo regular covid-19 testing if they are not yet vaccinated, according to a statement. And the Durst Organization, one of New York City’s largest real estate developers, said employees who remain unvaccinated after Labor Day will be fired.
The Baylor Scott & White Health system in Texas announced Wednesday that the more than 49,000 employees, volunteers, providers and students will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in October.
“The delta variant is the most contagious and dangerous strain that we have seen to date, leading to exponentially increasing rates of serious illness and hospitalization. The vast majority of these cases are among the unvaccinated,” the company said in a release.
At Maui Memorial Medical Center, visitors must now get vaccinated against COVID-19 due to a surge on the island, hospital executive director Michael Rembis told CNN affiliate Hawaii News Now.
Vaccinated people don’t need a booster yet, says CEO of Health after Pfizer news
Pfizer released new data Wednesday suggesting that a third dose of its vaccine may “strongly” boost protection against the delta variant, beyond the protection provided by the two standard doses.
The data, which included 23 people, has yet to be peer-reviewed or published.
But US Chief Health Officer Dr. Vivek Murthy told CNN on Wednesday that fully vaccinated people don’t need to get a booster right now, if they ever do. And he said any decision on whether that will be made by agencies like the CDC and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
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“We’ve been in discussions with this data from Pfizer about what they’re looking at regarding their studies related to drivers,” Murthy told CNN’s “Newsroom” when asked about releasing the data. “But at this point, I want to be very clear: people don’t need to go out and get a booster shot,” he stressed.
Murthy also argued that whether it would be ethical to recommend a third dose while there is a severe shortage of vaccine supply in the developing world was a “critical question.” The ability to reduce the likelihood that variants will develop in the future depends on reducing the spread around the world, he said.
Pfizer anticipated it will submit data on a third dose of its coronavirus vaccine to the FDA next month, one of its R&D leaders said during a company earnings conference call Wednesday.
CNN’s Kay Jones, Dave Alsup, Raja Razek, Barbara Starr, Deidre McPhillips, Taylor Romine, Alison Kosik and Andy Rose contributed to this report.