HealthDay News — Nearly 14 million Americans got their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in August, a steep rise from July, White House officials said Tuesday. The statistic is a sign that vaccine skepticism may be waning, as the highly contagious delta variant continues to fuel case surges across the United States.
“We’ve accelerated the pace of first shots. In August, we got over 14 million. That’s almost 4 million more first shots in August compared to the prior month, July,” White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said during a news conference. “Back in mid-July, we were averaging 500,000 vaccinations per day. Today, we’re averaging 900,000. That’s an 80 percent increase in the number of shots we’re getting into arms each and every day.”
One important tool in that mission, Zients said, is vaccine mandates, which are helping drive immunization numbers up. He championed those already in place for federal workers and at some colleges and companies. “Tens of millions of Americans are now covered by vaccination requirements. And these requirements are already working to get more people vaccinated,” he said.
A new poll suggests Zients is right: It showed that a stubborn core of vaccine-hesitant Americans is slowly warming to the vaccines. Only 20 percent of American adults now say they will not get immunized, the lowest number ever, the Axios-Ipsos poll revealed, and there has been a sharp increase in the past two weeks of the number of parents who plan to get their younger children vaccinated as soon as it is allowed. Sixty-eight percent of parents said they either have already vaccinated their children or are likely to do so as soon as the vaccines are approved for their child’s age group. That is the highest share ever seen in the survey and a 12-point spike from 56 percent just two weeks ago.
One in three unvaccinated Americans in the survey said full approval of the vaccines would make them likely to get shots. But 43 percent said employer vaccine mandates would make them likely to do so, up from 33 percent a month ago.