If you are unvaccinated, you are still at risk of getting seriously ill: White House COVID-19 response coordinator

·6-min read
White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients.
White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients.

Washington [US], June 4 (ANI): White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients in a press briefing on Thursday (local time) said that unvaccinated people are at risk of getting seriously ill or spreading the disease to others.

"Here's the bottom line: The bottom line is that if you are unvaccinated, you are still at risk of getting seriously ill or spreading the disease to others," said Zients.

Briefing the press, Zients said that US President Joe Biden reiterated yesterday afternoon, we have millions of Americans still in need of protection and communities at risk because of low vaccination rates.

He informed that President Biden released a comprehensive strategy to marshal a whole-of-government wartime effort to defeat the pandemic on his first full day in office.

"We have spent each and every day of the last four and a half months executing against that strategy," said Zients.

Updating the press about the progress, he stressed two-prong strategy, efforts to get Americans vaccinated as quickly, efficiently, and equitably as possible; and second, on efforts to help combat the pandemic globally.

Regarding vaccination programme of the US, Zients said, "Here at home, we have built a best-in-class vaccination program. Already 63 per cent of adult Americans have received at least one shot, and 52 per cent of adult Americans are fully vaccinated. Already 12 states have 70 per cent of adults with at least one shot. That's an important milestone. And 28 states and the District of Columbia have fully vaccinated 50 per cent or more of their adult population. As a result, in communities and states across the country, the pandemic is in retreat."

"Since the President took office on January 20th, cases are down over 90 per cent and deaths are down over 85 per cent. Our successful vaccination program isn't just saving tens of thousands of lives. It's letting tens of millions of Americans get back to living their lives. It's fair to say that we're far ahead of where anyone thought we would be in our fight against the virus. And, importantly, we have secured enough vaccine supply for all Americans," he added.

This was achieved through the use of the Defense Production Act, the DPA, to mobilize the full force of US vaccine manufacturing and production.

Because of these actions and the success of US vaccine manufacturers, Washington is confident about the supply of authorized vaccines.

"As a result, we're removing the DPA priority ratings for AstraZeneca, Novavax, and Sanofi. While the manufacturers will continue to make these three vaccines, this action will allow US-based companies that supply these vaccine manufacturers to make their own decisions on which orders to fulfill first," said Zients.

To help get as many people vaccinated by July 4th, US kicked off a month of action, mobilizing an all-of- America effort, including new commitments from childcare providers across the country to provide free drop-in childcare to allow parents to get vaccinated; extended hours of local pharmacies for vaccinations, including many pharmacies that will be open 24 hours every Friday starting next week; commitments from states in the private sector to incentivize vaccinations, including free beer for everyone over the age of 21, on July 4th, courtesy of Anheuser-Busch, informed Zients.

Also, US Vice President Kamala Harris is leading a "We Can Do This" national vaccination tour. This national vaccination tour to key communities across the country will help reach millions of Americans who still need protection against the virus, highlight the ease of getting vaccinated, encourage vaccination, and energize and mobilize grassroots vaccine education and outreach efforts.

Regarding efforts to help combat the pandemic globally, Zients said, "We're focused on driving progress to help the pandemic -- help end the pandemic around the globe. It's both the right thing to do and an important step in protecting Americans by helping to stamp out the virus."

The vaccine supply is guided by a three-part approach, said Zients.

"First, having successfully secured enough supply of vaccine for Americans, we are donating surplus US vaccine supply and encouraging other countries with surplus supplies to do the same."

In March, the US shared over 4 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine supply with Canada and Mexico. President Biden announced a US commitment to sharing a total of 80 million doses by the end of June. And these 80 million doses represent 13 per cent of the total vaccines produced by the United States by the end of this month.

"We will continue to donate additional doses across the summer months as supply becomes available. But at the same time, we know that won't be sufficient. So, the second part of our approach is working with US vaccine manufacturers to vastly increase vaccine supply for the rest of the world in a way that also creates jobs here at home," said Zients.

Driven by the aggressive actions that have been taken to accelerate manufacturing and production lines in the US, Pfizer and Moderna have already increased their capacity to produce vaccines for the world.

"The third part of our approach will have us work with our partner nations and pharmaceutical companies and other manufacturers to facilitate the kind of global vaccine manufacturing and production capacity and capabilities that can not only help the world beat this pandemic, but also prepares the world to respond to potential future threats," added Zients.

Meanwhile, the US outlined the framework for sharing with the world the first 25 million doses.

"This is certainly a complex operational challenge but one that we take on and will get done. In fact, less than two weeks ago, the President committed to providing one million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to the Republic of Korea," said Zients.

"After making a 2,000-mile journey to California, these one million doses are being loaded into a plane that will take off to the Republic of Korea this evening, carrying hope and bringing life-saving protection to the one million South Koreans who have already signed up to get a shot," said Zients.

"This is just the beginning. We expect a regular cadence of shipments around the world across the next several weeks. And in the weeks ahead, working with the world's democracies, we will coordinate a multilateral effort, including through the G7, to combat and end the pandemic," added Zients.

Meanwhile, amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic, the US is set to allocate the first tranche of 25 million COVID-19 vaccines globally to address potential surges and the needs of the most vulnerable countries affected by the pandemic, including India.

Sharing the framework for the distribution of 80 million vaccines, the White House press statement said that 75 per cent of vaccine share will be given through COVAX while 25 per cent share for immediate needs and to help with surges around the world. (ANI)

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