The U.S. is getting close to President Joe Biden’s goal of having 70% of the adult population receive at least one vaccine dose by July 4, but at least 30 states will likely miss that goal and a handful may not reach it by year-end.
That’s according to a New York Times analysis of vaccination rates across the nation that comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s tracker is showing that 65.4% of adults above the age of 18 have received one jab of two-dose regimens developed by Pfizer Inc. PFE, +1.57% with German partner BioNTech SE BNTX, +6.44% or Moderna Inc. MRNA, +4.54%. Johnson & Johnson’s JNJ, +1.15% one-shot vaccine has also been authorized in the U.S., while the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca AZN, -0.10% AZN, +0.29% and Oxford University has not, although it has been widely used in Europe and elsewhere.
The tracker is showing that 149.7 million Americans are fully vaccinated, equal to 45.1% of the overall population. Among adults 18 and older, 144 million are fully vaccinated, equal to 55.8% of that group.
At current vaccination rates, Alabama and Mississippi will need more than a year to reach the 70% goal, the analysis found, while Wyoming will need 10 months and Louisiana seven months. Oklahoma, Tennessee and North Dakota will need another six months. The lagging rate is due to limited access as well as vaccine hesitancy, but experts fear it will prolong the pandemic and potentially lead to another wave of cases later in the year.
In medical news, Moderna is expanding production at the former Polaroid plant where it makes its COVID-19 vaccine, the Wall Street Journal reported. The company is adding two new production lines to prepare for booster shots, which experts expect will be needed. The move is expected to help Moderna increase overall production capacity by 50%.
Vir Biotechnology Inc. VIR, +6.41% said the COVID-19 antibody treatment it developed with GlaxoSmithKline GSK, -0.15% GSK, -0.59% cut the risk of hospitalization and death among adults at high risk. The confirmatory data came from a Phase 3 clinical trial that was used to inform the emergency-use authorization granted last month to sotrovimab, the companies’ COVID-19 monoclonal antibody treatment.
Vir also said the National Institutes of Health updated its guidelines to recommend using the monoclonal antibody in people with mild or moderate forms of the disease who are at high risk for disease progression.
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Gilead Sciences Inc. GILD, +1.11% said retrospective research based on real-world data shows that Veklury, its COVID-19 treatment, reduces mortality among people who have been hospitalized with COVID-19. Veklury, originally named remdesivir, which received full approval from the Food and Drug Administration last year, can be prescribed to people who have COVID-19, are hospitalized and are at least 12 years old.
Elsewhere, India opened its vaccine program to all adults in an effort to get more shots into arms, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicked off International Yoga Day by recommending yoga as a protection against the virus, AFP reported.
India’s vaccine program is limping along, with about 4% of its population fully vaccinated.
South Africa has reported a doubling of COVID cases in the past two weeks with no signs of a slowdown, the Guardian reported. Governments across Africa are struggling with their vaccine drives as a third wave of cases overwhelms hospitals. Last week, the World Health Organization warned that infections in Africa are surging as a third wave sweeps across the continent, driven by more infectious variants.
The global tally for the coronavirus-borne illness headed above 178.5 million on Monday, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University, while deaths climbed above 3.86 million.
The U.S. continues to lead the world in total cases at 33.5 million, while deaths total 601,825.
India is second in total cases at 29.9 million and third by fatalities at 388,135, although those numbers are expected to be undercounted given a shortage of tests.
Brazil has the third highest caseload at 17.9 million, according to Johns Hopkins data, and is second in deaths at 501,825, having passed the 500,000 mark over the weekend.
Mexico has fourth highest death toll at 231,187 and 2.5 million cases.
The U.K. has 128,240 fatalities and 4.6 million cases, the highest number of deaths in Europe and fifth highest in the world.
China, where the virus was first discovered late in 2019, has had 103,546 confirmed cases and 4,846 deaths, according to its official numbers, which are widely held to be massively underreported.