US sees ‘summer of joy’ as Covid shots surpass 300mn
June 19 2021 01:47 AM
US Senator Raphael Warnock speaks next to Vice President Kamala Harris while Dr Jayne Morgan, execut
US Senator Raphael Warnock speaks next to Vice President Kamala Harris while Dr Jayne Morgan, executive director of the Covid Task Force at the Piedmont Healthcare Corporation, looks on during a visit to a pop-up Covid-19 vaccination site at Ebenezer Baptist Church, in Atlanta, Georgia, US, yesterday.

Reuters/ Washington

The US has administered 300mn Covid-19 vaccinations in 150 days, a White House official said yesterday ahead of President Joe Biden’s scheduled update on his administration’s vaccination programme.
Biden’s government-wide push to accelerate vaccinations was paying off, with Covid-19 cases, hospitalisations and deaths down to their lowest levels since the start of the pandemic, the officials said.
While Biden would “make clear that there is more work to be done” to ensure an equitable response to the pandemic, the US economy was experiencing its strongest rebound in decades, the White House said.
“The results are clear: America is starting to look like America again, and entering a summer of joy and freedom,” the White House said in a fact sheet.
The news comes days after the US marked a grim milestone, surpassing 600,000 Covid-19 deaths.
The US death toll remains the highest in the world, although other countries, including Brazil, Britain and Russia, have higher death rates as a measure of their populations.
A White House fact sheet said the number of Covid-19 deaths has decreased by 90% since Biden took office in January, when more than 3,300 Americans were dying each day, and highlighted big gains in the economy as people return to work.
It said more than 175mn Americans had now received at least one Covid-19 vaccine shot, and 55% of adults were fully vaccinated.
Addressing racial imbalances in vaccination rates remained a huge and continuing concern, the White House said, but pointed to gains there as well.
In the past month, it said, people of colour had accounted for 54% of nationwide vaccinations, while making up 40% of the US population.
Vice President Kamala Harris visited a vaccination site at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta yesterday, underscoring the importance of faith groups and community-based organisations in accelerating vaccinations and overcoming vaccine hesitancy.
“We just need to get the word out. One of the most important ways is friend to friend, neighbour to neighbour... please help us get the word out,” Harris said, according to a pool press report on the visit.
Earlier  a top US official said the White House will finish allocating 80mn US-made covid-19 shots that it has pledged to ship abroad in the coming days, with shipments going out as soon as the countries are ready to receive them.
The US has already begun shipping doses, said White House Covid-19 response co-ordinator Jeff Zients, adding that some shots were meant to go to Brazil in the coming weeks.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Twitter that the US had delivered a million doses to Canada.
The Biden administration earlier this month announced plans for how it will allocate 25mn shots and said it would allocate the remaining 55mn shots by the end of June.
The US has been increasing shot shipments abroad as it progresses quickly in its vaccination campaign for its own residents. The White House announced last week that it was purchasing 500mn Pfizer shots to donate to poorer countries in 2021 and 2022.

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