Vaccination rates rise in the US following demands from healthcare systems, companies and governments; cases and deaths decrease

WASHINGTON — Vaccination rates increased 20 percentage points after private companies, health systems and social institutions, as well as state and local governments, began demanding immunization against Covid-19, the White House said on Wednesday.

Jeff Zients, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, told a news conference that 77% of eligible Americans received at least one dose of the vaccine. In absolute numbers referring to the population, 66% of the entire country received at least one dose of the immunizing agent, while 57% have already completed the vaccination cycle.

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— Since late July, when the president first announced vaccination requirements and urged organizations to follow his lead, the number of eligible unvaccinated Americans has declined by about one-third, from 97 million to 66 million individuals — said Zients.

The director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said the average of seven days of daily cases of Covid-19, which on Wednesday reached 91,399, was down 12% from the last week when it reached 101,314. The moving average of deaths, which is now in the 1,730 range, is down 5% from last week, when it was at 1,811.

“Despite the recent decline in cases, most communities across the country are still experiencing moderate to high levels of local transmission,” Walensky said. “We must remain focused on getting Covid under control across the country, especially in the fall and winter through masks and vaccinations,” he added.

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On Tuesday, in a move also linked to vaccination, the US Department of Labor presented the White House with the initial text of President Joe Biden’s plan to require private sector workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19 or to be tested regularly.

The obligation will apply to companies with 100 or more employees and will be implemented under a federal rule-making mechanism known as a temporary emergency rule. It would affect an estimated 80 million workers across the country.

Along with Biden’s request last month, which requires all federal and contract workers to be vaccinated, the measures cover 100 million people, about two-thirds of the US workforce.

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Since the start of the pandemic, the US has recorded 44.6 million cases of Covid-19 and 711,000 deaths from the disease.