Covid-19 vaccinations are on the rise as the Delta variant surges nationwide, with White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients saying Thursday the U.S. just registered its highest daily number of vaccinations since early July, and that states with particularly high case rates—and particularly low vaccination rates—are recording the biggest increases.
The U.S. recorded 864,000 vaccinations over the past 24 hours, Zients said during a White House Covid-19 briefing Thursday morning, the highest number since July 3.
Of those vaccinations, 585,000 were first shots, the highest number since July 1, and this is the fourth week in a row where the country has increased its daily average of Americans that are newly vaccinated.
The biggest vaccinations have been in states with the highest case rates, Zients said, which have more than doubled their average number of newly vaccinated people each day over the past three weeks.
Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Alabama, Oklahoma and Mississippi are now vaccinating people at their fastest pace since April, Zients said, with Oklahoma increasing its number of first doses by 82% over the past two weeks.
There’s a strong correlation between Covid-19 surges and vaccination rates, with Zients saying Florida, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi—all of which have less than half their residents fully vaccinated—accounted for approximately half of all new Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations over the past week despite making up only a quarter of the U.S. population.
58%. That’s the percentage of the total U.S. population that’s now received at least one vaccine dose, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including 67.9% of residents ages 12 years and older who are eligible for vaccination. The states that still have the lowest vaccination rates are Mississippi (40.8% of total population received at least one dose), Idaho (41.4%), Wyoming (41.8%), Louisiana (43.4%) and Alabama (44.1%).
“Clearly, Americans are seeing the impact of being unvaccinated and unprotected, and they respond[ed] by doing their part, rolling up their sleeves and getting vaccinated,” Zients said Thursday about the rise in vaccinations.
Covid-19 is now surging in the U.S. as the highly transmissible Delta variant has taken hold, with CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky reporting Thursday the seven-day average of daily Covid-19 cases—89,463—is approximately 43% higher than it was last week. Covid-19 vaccines remain highly effective against severe illness and death, keeping hospitalizations and deaths lower than during previous surges during the pandemic, though both are also on the rise. The increase in vaccinations comes as many parts of the country have continued to register high rates of vaccine hesitancy that have left their areas particularly vulnerable to the Delta variant, with Republicans in particular expressing skepticism about the shot. In addition to vaccination efforts from the White House, more GOP officials have been endorsing the shot in recent weeks in an effort to combat the high rates of hesitancy among Republicans, with former Vice President Mike Pence saying in a speech Wednesday night, “Anyone here who hasn’t gotten the shot, who is eligible, to go get it.”