Skip to main content

ALERT: KPBS Radio is undergoing scheduled upgrade work which may result in temporary signal outages.

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Justice

Half Of All US Adults Are Now Fully Vaccinated Against COVID-19

Nearly 130 million U.S. adults have completed their vaccine regimens, the CDC...

Photo by Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Above: Nearly 130 million U.S. adults have completed their vaccine regimens, the CDC says, with another 70 million vaccine doses currently in the distribution pipeline. Here, Maryland National Guard Brig. Gene. Janeen Birckhead greets soldiers at a mobile vaccine clinic in Wheaton, Md.

The U.S. COVID-19 vaccination program has gone from zero to 50% in less than six months.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Biden administration said, half of the country's adults are now fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

"This is a major milestone in our country's vaccination efforts," Andy Slavitt, a White House senior adviser on the COVID-19 response, said during a midday briefing. "The number was 1% when we entered office Jan. 20."

Nearly 130 million people age 18 and older have completed their vaccine regimens since the first doses were administered to the public in December, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Another 70 million vaccine doses are currently in the distribution pipeline, according to the agency.

Vaccinations have risen sharply in children 12 years and older, weeks after the Food and Drug Administration said that cohort is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech. Nearly 5 million adolescents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the CDC's latest data.

The U.S. is pushing to add millions more people to the ranks of the vaccinated. President Biden said this month that his new goal is to administer at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to 70% of U.S. adults by the Fourth of July.

Nine states have given at least one vaccine shot to 70% of their adult population, Slavitt said at Tuesday's briefing. Acknowledging the welcome return to a more normal life taking place around the country, he urged more people to get the vaccine: "Unless you're vaccinated, you're at risk."

An increasing number of states, businesses and organizations are offering incentives for people to get vaccinated, from free doughnuts to free airline flights. One of the best-known programs is in Ohio, where people who get vaccinated are entered into a $1 million lottery called the Ohio Vax-a-Million.

"Gov. Mike DeWine has unlocked a secret," Slavitt said, noting that Ohio's vaccination rate went up 55% among young adults in the days after unveiling the program. Other states have since announced similar plans.

The stunning speed of the vaccines' development and rollout has helped tame COVID-19 in the U.S., which remains the worst-hit country in the world, despite having less than 5% of the world's population. The U.S. has reported more than 33 million COVID-19 cases, and more than 590,000 people have died from the disease.

Vaccination rates vary sharply across the nation. On the state level, more than half of all adults were fully vaccinated in just 25 states, along with the District of Columbia and Guam, as NPR's Laurel Wamsley reported.

The lowest overall vaccination rates in the U.S. remain in the South, where Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Arkansas have administered the fewest doses per 100,000 adults, according to the CDC. The highest rates are in Vermont, Massachusetts, Hawaii and Connecticut.

Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine is the most prevalent in the U.S., with more than 155 million doses administered, the CDC said. Moderna is next, with nearly 122 million doses. Johnson & Johnson, whose one-dose vaccine was approved after the two messenger RNA vaccines, accounts for more than 10 million doses.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

FEATURED PODCAST

San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Curious San Diego banner

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.