The Biden Administration reported that as of May 25th, half of the country’s adult population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
According to data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, not only is 50.3% of the adult population fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but 47% of people twelve years and older are fully vaccinated, as well as 74.1% of the population aged sixty-five years and older. All of these statistics contribute to 39.7% of the total U.S. population being fully vaccinated. Andy Slavitt, a White House senior adviser on the COVID-19 response, reported that “this is a major milestone in our country’s vaccination efforts. The progress that we have made is due to all of you who have gotten vaccinated, who have contributed not only to your health but to mine and my family’s and my friends’ and yours, and the health of people who can’t get vaccinated because of their medical condition. You’ve contributed to our country.”
Earlier this month, President Biden announced that his new goal is for 70% of adults to receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by the Fourth of July. There has been a wide range of responses to the COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Krispy Kreme has given away free doughnuts to people who show their vaccine card; airlines are offering the chance to win free flights for those who are vaccinated (NPR). Ohio, Colorado, New York, Maryland, and other states have created a lottery system with prizes of up to $1 million in which only people who are vaccinated are able to win (NBC News). Opponents of the COVID-19 vaccine, or at least the public pressure to get the vaccine, argue that getting vaccinated should be a personal choice, not one that is so heavily incentivized. After the CDC announced that vaccinated people do not need to wear a mask in most settings, many states and businesses dropped their mask mandates for vaccinated people or dropped it altogether.
As a result of new CDC guidelines and the increase of fully vaccinated people, calls for a vaccine passport have been made. While some state legislatures/governors such as Alabama, Texas, and Florida have passed legislation to ban vaccine passports, others have expressed the likelihood of utilizing one. For example, California health officials have said they have no plans to require COVID-19 vaccine passports, but when announcing reopening rules for concerts and sporting events, officials have allowed for larger events to occur when vaccination/negative COVID-19 tests are verified (LA Times). UC Berkeley infectious-disease expert Dr. John Swartzberg said, “Of course, it is a form of a vaccine passport.”
ARTICLE: KATE SCHLESSELMAN
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: BLOOMBERG