High schoolers feel sense of normalcy after vaccine opens to ages 16 & 17
Across the country states are expanding their COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to 16 and 17-year-olds. Pfizer announced its vaccine is safe and effective in preventing the illness in students aged 12 and older.
The latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) appear to reflect that about one in four U.S. adults is now fully vaccinated against COVID-19. According to the agency’s vaccine tracker, about 64.2 million adults aged 18 and older, or 24.9% percent of the population, have received either the one-shot Johnson & Johnson jab or both doses of either the Pfizer and BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.
In total, the country has seen 171 million shots administered with the daily average of jabs now hovering around 3.1 million. At the newly accelerated pace, the U.S. is on track to exceed President Biden’s new goal of administering 200 million vaccines before his 100th day in office, which falls on April 30.
The president has also moved up the deadline for states to make all adults eligible to receive the vaccine to April 19, although the majority have already opened up registration and have begun vaccinating residents 16 and up. Vermont, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, Illinois, Missouri, Hawaii, California, Oregon and Washington remain holdouts but are scheduled to open eligibility either before or on President Biden’s deadline.
On Wednesday, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that there is “so much reason for so much hope,” but warned against states letting their guards down prematurely as cases and hospitalizations show recent increases.
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“These trends are pointing to two clear truths,” Walensky said, during a White House COVID-19 briefing. “One, the virus still has hold on us – infecting people and putting them in harm’s way – and we need to remain vigilant. And, two, we need to continue to accelerate our vaccination efforts and to take the individual responsibility to get vaccinated when we can.”
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Recent studies from both Pfizer and BioNTech and Moderna have suggested that protection against COVID-19 lasts for at least six months post-vaccination. Another showed both vaccines were 80% protective after one dose, but experts have warned immunity wanes at a quick rate without receiving the second dose.
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“When you just leave it at one dose, the question is, how long does it last? And when you’re dealing with variants, you’re in a tenuous zone,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and the director of the National Insitute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), recently said.
Fox News’ Madeline Farber contributed to this report.