“For those who are not vaccinated, they are more at risk as more and more options develop,” Surgeon General Vivek Murty told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Wednesday, citing option B.1.617. 2 or Delta, first identified in India.
“The news about the Delta option is proof of why it is really so important for us to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” he said, adding that the option is more transmissible and potentially more dangerous.
Concerns about the risk options to end national resumption are shared by many health experts and officials.
“We do not want to allow what is happening in the United States at the moment in the United Kingdom, where you have a worrying option that essentially takes over as the dominant option, which has made the situation very difficult in the UK,” he said on Wednesday. that the Delta variant represents more than 6% of the sequenced virus in the United States.
Although the United States is “doing very well” in vaccinating its population, Fauci said, “we cannot declare victory early because there are still a significant proportion of people who have not been vaccinated.”
“We are pleased to announce that we have approved the emergency use of our COVID-19 vaccine with the FDA for use in adolescents in the United States,” said Stefan Bansel, CEO of Moderna. “We are encouraged that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine has been very effective in preventing COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 infections in adolescents.”
According to the CDC, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Wyoming are among the lowest levels of vaccination in the country. And officials are urging citizens that the best way to stay ahead is with vaccinations.
Murty told CNN, “The good news is that when they looked at the Pfizer vaccine, they found that it was quite effective after two doses of protection, even against the Delta variant.”
States are looking ahead
In another example of local optimism with improved Covid-19 numbers, about two dozen states have decided to reduce their daily follow-up of cases, hospitalizations and deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University this week.
Many countries reduce to five updates each week, but others reduce to three or less. For example, Florida has dropped to once a week.
However, some health officials are calling for this move to be premature to current levels of vaccination, citing needed improvements in these areas before countries can release the accelerator pedal for Covid-19.
“As far as I know, we are still in a state of emergency in public health as a state … This has not yet been reduced,” Lori Tremel Freeman, chief executive of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, told CNN. Wednesday.
“The ultimate goal is to get to the point where even those who remain unvaccinated are at far less risk – and no one I know has really come across that number,” Freeman said of the herds’ immunity.
This week, several countries in the country also announced plans to further loosen their Covid-19 protocols. South Carolina overturned an emergency order issued to the state, calling for what Gov. Henry McMaster called the state’s “timid” approach to closures and restrictions.
“We no longer need to have a state of emergency, although we still need to be smart, follow the rules, follow the guidelines and be very careful,” McMaster said.
In New York, the state plans to remove “virtually all” pandemic-related restrictions when 70% of adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office said in a press release Wednesday. Currently, the condition is 69.1%, according to the report.
Expiring vaccines are a new concern
With vaccination rates lagging behind, some countries report having doses of Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine that expire before they get used to.
“There have been government health officials who have been sounding the alarm for months that they will soon reach a point where supply exceeds demand in those states,” CNN medical analyst Dr. Leana Wen said.
The average seven-day vaccine administered daily in the United States is more than 1.12 million, a slight increase from earlier in June, but well below the average of 3.38 million shots per day reached on April 13, according to CDC data on Wednesday.
For Johnson & Johnson vaccines left in the United States, which require only one dose when dispensed and have a three-month shelf life at refrigerator temperatures, reduced demand means that doses remain unused and may soon expire.
Dr Fauci said on Wednesday that the US Food and Drug Administration was “very, very carefully” considering extending the expiration date or redistribution of the expired Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
Speaking at the Wall Street Journal Tech Health event on Wednesday, Johnson & Johnson Chairman and CEO Alex Gorski said the company is working to ensure that vaccines can be used and used effectively.
“We are working very hard, both at the federal level and at the local level, to do everything we can to make sure that these vaccines can be used and used in the best possible way,” Gorski said.
“The good news was that we pulled out a lot of vaccines to meet this initial jump in demand, and now we’re making sure we get the best possible deployment and distribution, and the distribution system becomes even more agile, more flexible, not just here. in the United States, between countries, but in fact around the world, it will be a job that we need to keep focused on in the coming weeks and months, ”he said.
CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas, Adrienne Vogt, Deidre McPhillips, Jacqueline Howard, Jamiel Lynch, Laura Ly, Lauren del Valle, Nadia Kounang, Rebekah Riess and Naomi Thomas contributed to this report.