Half of U.S. adults are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Tuesday.
The country crosses this milestone just five months after it first began distributing doses. Some 61% of American adults have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, putting the U.S. on track to meet President Joe Biden’s goal of that figure hitting 70% by July 4.
“Cases, hospitalizations and deaths are all declining because of the millions of people who have stepped forward and done their part to protect their health and the health of their communities, to move us out of this pandemic,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said at Tuesday’s White House COVID-19 briefing.
Here’s a look at the latest vaccination figures from the CDC, which show more than 73% of U.S. adults over 65 have been fully vaccinated:
The country’s overall vaccination rate remains just under 40%, as the Food and Drug Administration only recently approved the Pfizer vaccine for children age 12-15, making it the first coronavirus vaccine approved for people in the U.S. under 16. Moderna, one of the other major vaccine manufacturers, plans to seek FDA approval for children as young as 12 early next month.
Andy Slavitt, a senior adviser on President Joe Biden’s coronavirus response team, said at Tuesday’s briefing that programs providing incentives for people to get the vaccine appear to be working, citing Ohio entering vaccinated people into lotteries with $1 million payouts.
“People do care about getting vaccinated, but it turns out they also have other things they care about,” Slavitt said.
The pace of vaccination remains slow in much of the rest of the world, though the U.S. has vowed to export 80 million of its vaccine doses abroad, with many likely going to Central and South America, sources told Reuters last week.