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White House: COVID-19 vaccination rates rise in hard-hit states

(AP Photo/John Locher, File)
(AP Photo/John Locher, File) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

As COVID-19 infections surge in hot spots around the country, there was some good news Thursday mixed in with newly released statistics that paint a grim picture.

The White House COVID-19 Response Team announced Thursday morning that vaccination numbers in the hardest-hit states are on the rise.

Unvaccinated Americans in the states seeing the most COVID-19 infections and deaths appear to be heeding the warnings during the latest surge in cases. According to the White House, vaccination rates are climbing in some states, but for thousands of Americans, the realization has come too late.

White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said vaccination rates are increasing in the states of Florida, Arkansas, Louisiana and Nevada.

“People in these states are feeling the impacts of being unvaccinated and responding with action,” said White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients.

Zients said many of the states that account for most of the country’s new cases are beginning to experience what some would consider a breakthrough.

“For the second week in the row, states with lower vaccination and higher case rate are seeing their vaccination rates grow faster than the national average,” Zients said.

The progress, however, comes as newly released statistics reveal just how fast the delta variant has spread:

  • The seven-day average of new infections is up 53%.
  • Hospital admissions over the last week are up 32%.
  • The seven-day average of deaths is up 19%.
Unvaccinated Americans Seeing Most COVID-19 Infections and Deaths
Unvaccinated Americans Seeing Most COVID-19 Infections and Deaths

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said the delta variant is the most infectious respiratory virus she’s seen in her career of 20-plus years.

“If you are not vaccinated, take this delta variant seriously,” Walensky said. “This virus has no incentive to let up, and it remains in search of the next vulnerable person it can infect. Please take the actions to get vaccinated.”

White House officials said trusted messengers in key communities are continuing to convince Americans to go and get the vaccine -- testimonies like you may have seen on News4Jax from COVID-19 patients in local intensive care units.

White House officials said stories like these appear to be making a difference.

“One out of five adults who are unsure about the vaccine in January have now been vaccinated, and when asked what changed their mind, it’s their family, friends and doctors and seeing people the knew are safely vaccinated, so we need to keep having these conversations,” said U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy

The White House also announced $1.6 billion in funding to bolster testing and vaccination in homeless shelters, mental health and substance abuse treatment facilities, and domestic violence shelters. In the past 10 days, 5.2 million Americans have made up their mind and got the shot.


About the Author:

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.