Amid a Surge, Some Hope: United States Reaches 70 Percent Vaccine Goal

The unvaccinated can be swayed, it seems.

A healthcare worker at a drive-thru site setup by Miami-Dade and Nomi Health in Tropical Park prepares to administer a COVID-19 vaccine.Joe Raedle/Getty

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After weeks of lagging vaccinations, 70 percent of US adults have received at least one shot of the COVID vaccine, a positive sign amid rising cases driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant.

The CDC reported the vaccination milestone on Monday, about one month behind President Biden’s Fourth of July goal. The news comes amid a surge of cases, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announcing an average of 72,000 COVID-19 cases a day—more cases than last summer. Hotspots in the South have been devastated by COVID, leading to packed hospitals.

But there’s some hope. In Alabama, the number of residents starting a vaccine series tripled between July 12 and July 28. In Missouri, the daily average of new vaccinations is nearly 90 percent higher.

This trend flies against talk that the unvaccinated won’t be swayed. In fact, some who were previously vaccine-hesitant have been convinced to get the jab. The Los Angeles Times reported some thought they had immunity from a previous COVID infection. And with the uninsured making up the largest unvaccinated demographic among adults, there’s the possibility some are worried about being charged for getting vaccinated.

In a dozen states, fewer than 60 percent of adults have received at least one shot, with Mississippi having the lowest rate at 50 percent. Health officials have been warning vaccine stragglers to get vaccinated, noting that breakthrough infections are very rare. While regions with lagging vaccinations would still be vulnerable, this latest target is inching close to the 80 percent vaccination rate that experts say would allow the country to reach some form of herd immunity.

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