US says 50 percent of citizens are fully vaccinated against COVID-19

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Half of the US population is now fully vaccinated against Covid-19, the White House said Friday, as inoculations rise in response to the surging Delta variant of the novel coronavirus.

“50 percent of Americans (all ages) are now fully vaccinated. Keep going!,” Cyrus Shahpar, White House Covid-19 data director, said in a tweet.

Read the latest updates in our dedicated coronavirus section.

That means more than 165 million people have received either the two-dose Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or the one-and-done Johnson & Johnson shot.

The threshold of half of all adult Americans fully vaccinated was reached in late May.

Shahpar said the seven-day average of newly vaccinated people is up 11 percent from last week and up 44 percent over the past two weeks.

The US is the nation hardest hit by the pandemic with 615,000 deaths.

Biden has been pressing hard for Americans to get vaccinated ever since he took office in January. But after peaking in April, the rate of people getting vaccinated each day fell off sharply.

This aggressive vaccination program had raised hopes of a return to some semblance of normal life this summer, but in the end this did not pan out because of the Delta variant.

Daily new cases, deaths and hospitalizations are up sharply in recent weeks, and cities like New York and Los Angeles are imposing new restrictions such as demanding proof of vaccination for entering indoor venues like restaurants and gyms.

Last week there was an average of 90,000 new coronavirus cases per day. Florida and Texas accounted for a third of them, the White House said.

For four straight weeks, the average number of people getting vaccinated each day has risen, White House Covid coordinator Jeff Zients said Thursday.

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