Coronavirus News Update – June 12: Lags in Vaccinations in Some Groups Could Delay a Return to ‘Normalcy’ in U.S.

By Anna Breuer on 12 June 2021
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People strolling in St. James’s Park in London

In the United States, over 64% of adults have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine and over 53% are fully vaccinated.  Experts warn, however, that a lag in vaccinations amongst adolescents and other groups could delay a return to normalcy.

As of Saturday morning, the world has recorded over 176.1 million Covid-19 cases and has seen more than 3.8 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, over 160 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus.

Since the start of vaccinations at the end of last year, over 2.3 billion doses have been administered across the globe as of Saturday morning, the equivalent of over 30 doses for every 100 people.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Saturday, 172.8 million people in the United States – or 52% –have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 42.8%, or 142 million people, are fully vaccinated, bringing the total number of doses dispensed in the United States to over 306.5 million. Breaking this down further, 64.1% of the population over the age of 18 – or 165.4 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 53.6% of the same group –or 138.3 million people – is fully vaccinated.

New York State – once the major epicenter of the coronavirus in the United States – has seen the statewide seven-day average positivity rate decline for 67 consecutive days.  The positivity rate was 0.37% on Friday, the lowest since the start of the pandemic. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 69.2% of New Yorkers have received at least one dose of vaccine and 60.3% are fully vaccinated. The state plans to lift virtually all restrictions related to the pandemic when that figure hits 70%.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the number of childhood vaccinations such as for the measles plummeted last year amidst pandemic restrictions such as shelter-at-home orders. Such vaccinations are required by virtually all schools and day camps and the CDC warned that the lag in vaccinations “might pose a serious public health threat that would result in vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks.”

Widespread vaccinations amongst adults in a community has the effect of protecting non-vaccinated children as well, a new study from Israel, “Community-Level Evidence for SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Protection of Unvaccinated Individuals,” published in the journal Nature Medicine. The study found that, for every 20 percentage point increase in the share of 16- to 50-year-olds who were vaccinated in a community, the share of unvaccinated adolescents under the age of 16 who tested positive for the virus fell by half. “Vaccination not only protects individuals who have been vaccinated but also provides cross-protection to unvaccinated individuals in the community,” the study’s authors concluded.

Finally, a study out of the United Kingdom fond that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 88% effective at preventing symptomatic infection from the India variant, known as B.1.167 or the Delta variant.  Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the Moderna vaccine should have similar efficacy because it uses the same messenger RNA technology that is used in the Pfizer vaccine.

Kurt Stolz contributed reporting to this story.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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