KEY POINTS

  • 1 in 4 American adults have been vaccinated against COVID-19
  • 80% of educators and school staff members have received their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine
  • New infections in the US are now commonly caused by a variant first found in Britain

The U.S. reached a milestone in its vaccination efforts on Wednesday as new data showed that one in four American adults have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

Data published by the CDC showed that 25% of adults in the U.S. are now fully protected against the coronavirus. The statistics also showed that 40% of adults and 75% of seniors have received at least one shot. 

Several states, including Alaska and New Mexico, completed vaccinations for more than 30% of their adult populations.

On Tuesday, the CDC released a statement revealing that nearly 80% of all Pre-K-12 teachers, school staffers and child-care workers in the country have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. 

“Our push to ensure that teachers, school staff, and child-care workers were vaccinated during March has paid off and paved the way for safer in-person learning,” the CDC's director, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, said. “CDC will build on the success of this program and work with our partners to continue expanding our vaccination efforts, as we work to ensure confidence in COVID-19 vaccines.”

The U.S. began distributing the COVID-19 vaccine in December after the FDA granted emergency use authorization to the vaccine made by Pfizer/BioNTech. The inoculation effort was accelerated after the agency approved vaccines from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. 

Federal health officials have warned that a highly infectious variant first identified in the U.K. has become the most common source of new COVID-19 infections in the country. 

The U.S. has seen new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths drop from their peak in January. Even so, new infections are on the rise, and have reached nearly 65,000 a day as of Tuesday. 

These new infections are concentrated mostly in the Upper Midwest and Northeast. Data from Johns Hopkins University also showed that 43% of new coronavirus cases reported last week came from Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. 

In Michigan, health officials reported an average of more than 6,600 cases a day this week compared with 1,350 daily cases over a month ago. 

“These trends are pointing to two clear truths,” Walensky said. “One, the virus still has hold on us, infecting people and putting them in harm’s way, and we need to remain vigilant. And two, we need to continue to accelerate our vaccination efforts and to take the individual responsibility to get vaccinated when we can.”

xyz_Walensky Dr. Rochelle Walensky has been named director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by President-elect Joe Biden. Photo: Biden-Harris Transition Team