ATLANTA, Ga. — So far, one in five Americans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC’s COVID Data Tracker said Monday morning that more than 69.7 million Americans or 21% of the total population have gotten a vaccine. Still, the tracker shows only around 37.4 million residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, amounting to 11.3% of the population.
As more people get vaccines, the nation moves closer to herd immunity, meaning that enough people in a community are protected from getting the disease because they’ve already had it or because they’ve been vaccinated. Herd immunity makes it hard for the disease to spread from person to person.
However, the CDC says it’s still learning how many people have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before most people can be considered protected.
Public health officials have given varying answers about how much herd immunity is enough. In a CNBC interview in December, Dr. Anthony Fauci estimated that the U.S. would need between “70, 75, maybe 80% of the population vaccinated.”
Many Americans have had to wait to get a vaccine as the most vulnerable to the virus got inoculated. But now, President Joe Biden has directed states and other jurisdictions to make all adults eligible for vaccines by May 1.
Even as more people become eligible for the vaccines, it can be extremely challenging to find one that’s available. The Biden administration is hoping to combat that by creating a federally supported website to help people fine vaccine appointments. It’s slated to go up by the beginning of May.
The coronavirus pandemic is far from over, but the continued vaccine distribution and lowering case count in the country has many hopeful that we’re rounding a corner. Still, health officials have warned not to ease up on safety measures just yet. There is a still chance cases could spike due to eased restrictions or emerging variants.
As of Monday, nearly 535,000 people have died as a result of COVID-19 in the United States, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.