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3 New England states have already reached Biden’s new vaccination goal, but vaccine hesitancy may make it challenging for others

(CNN) — In three states, more 70% of adults have already received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, federal data showed Wednesday — meaning they’ve reached the Biden administration’s new vaccination goal months ahead of the July 4 target.

Those three states are New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Vermont, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data showed. Three others are very close, with more than two-thirds of adults vaccinated with at least one dose: Connecticut, Maine and Hawaii.

President Joe Biden announced a plan Tuesday to get at least one dose of vaccine administered to 70% of the nation’s adult population by July 4, a target date some officials have set for a full reopening.

However, vaccine hesitancy will make it challenging for some other states to reach 70% of adults with a Covid-19 vaccine, findings from the latest Household Pulse Survey from the US Census Bureau suggest.

In Wyoming, more than a quarter of adults said that they will “definitely not” or “probably not” receive the Covid-19 vaccine, according to the Census Bureau survey.

In four additional states — Montana, North Dakota, Kentucky and Ohio — more than 20% of adults said the same.

When those who said they are “unsure” about receiving the Covid-19 vaccine are also included, more than 30% of adults in Wyoming, North Dakota and Montana could be considered to be vaccine hesitant.

Fewer than 45% of adults in Wyoming have received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine, CDC data shows, along with five other states: Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee and West Virginia.

This comes as vaccination rates have fallen: While the US averaged 3.38 million doses administered per day across a week in mid-April, the current seven-day average is 2.19 million doses per day, according to CDC data.

To get out of the Covid-19 pandemic, the US will need to shift its vaccine strategy from mass-vaccination sites toward “walk-in capabilities in 40,000 or so pharmacies throughout the country (and) getting mobile units going,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN Tuesday.

If the US doesn’t reach 80% population immunity through a combination of vaccination and natural infection, the nation could face another surge in the winter, vaccine expert Dr. Paul Offit said.

As of Wednesday morning, about 44.7% of the US population had at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, and 32.3% was fully vaccinated, according to the CDC. Among those 18 and older, 56.7% have had at least one dose and 41.3% are fully vaccinated.

For now, cases per day are falling. The US averaged more than 48,170 new cases a day over the last week — the country’s lowest average of 2021, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

That’s 32% below this spring’s peak of more than 71,200 cases a day reached three weeks ago, and about a fifth of the country’s all-time peak average of 251,056 per day set on January 8.

 

Canada authorizes Pfizer vaccine for children 12-15; US could soon do the same

 

Canada’s national health department on Wednesday announced it has authorized the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for children ages 12-15, citing clinical trial results showing the vaccine had 100% efficacy and was well tolerated in that age group.

Currently, the youngest people eligible for Covid-19 vaccines in the US are 16. But the US could follow Canada’s lead soon.

The US Food and Drug Administration is considering a request to extend its emergency use authorization for Pfizer/BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine to ages 12 to 15. A federal official has told CNN that authorization should be straightforward and could be expected by early next week.

The CDC’s vaccine advisers have scheduled an emergency meeting for May 12, according to a new schedule posted on the CDC website.

If and when the FDA grants EUA, then the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices would have to meet to vote on whether to recommend the use of the vaccine in the new age group, and the CDC director would then have to sign off on it.

In September, Pfizer expects to submit for EUA for children ages 2 to 11 years old, the company said during its first-quarter earnings teleconference on Tuesday.

 

States set dates to reopen

 

The US may not be at herd immunity levels yet, but states are preparing for major easing of restrictions.

On Thursday, Los Angeles and San Francisco will advance into California’s least restrictive reopening tier, allowing most businesses to resume indoor operations.

Both areas, which account for about a quarter of the state’s population, have case rates lower than 2 per 100,000 residents. The seven-day positivity rate in Los Angeles County is 0.7%, while San Francisco’s is 0.6%, according to state health data.

Starting May 21, Delaware will lift all restrictions on indoor capacity for restaurants, retail, other businesses and houses of worship, according to a press release from Gov. John Carney’s office. Masks will still be required indoors.

Once Pennsylvania fully vaccinates 70% of the state’s population, officials will lift masking orders, Gov. Tom Wolf announced.

Just over 50% of the state has had at least one dose of the vaccine, and over 3.5 million have been fully vaccinated, the Department of Health said in a release Tuesday.

The-CNN-Wire
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