As many states are starting to open coronavirus vaccines to all adults, one-fourth of the US population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to CDC figures.
The latest milestone comes as a number of states in recent days have opened up vaccines for the general adult population, including Arizona, Texas and Ohio. Opening up vaccines to all adults, however, has drawn criticism from the World Health Organization.
“Countries that are now vaccinating younger, healthy people at low risk of disease are doing so at the cost of the lives of health workers, older people and at-risk groups in other countries,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the WHO. “The world’s poorest countries wonder whether rich countries really mean what they say when they talk about solidarity.”
Public health experts counter that getting as many Americans vaccinated as quickly as possible will limit the effect of variant strains of the coronavirus. As the virus mutates, the COVID-19 vaccines become less effective.
Health experts also say that the faster viruses spread, the faster viruses mutate. But in addition to getting people vaccinated, the CDC says that social distancing measures should continued to be followed while there is still community spread of the virus.
"We are at a critical point in this pandemic, a fork in the road, where we as a country must decide which path we are going to take,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC director, said. “We must act now, and I am worried that if we don't take the right actions now, we will have another avoidable surge -- just as we are seeing in Europe right now and just as we are so aggressively scaling up vaccination."
According to the White House, the US will allocate an average of 3 million vaccines per day over the next week. The White House also says that 7 in 10 Americans over age 65 have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Biden administration said it has set the end of April as a goal for all states to open vaccines to the entire adult population.