US surpasses 300 million COVID-19 vaccine shots administered

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(NEW YORK) — The U.S. surpassed another milestone Sunday in its efforts to vaccinate Americans against the coronavirus.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that over 300 million vaccines doses have so far been administered across the country.

The Pfizer vaccine is currently eligible for Americans over the age of 12, while the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are eligible for Americans over 16. As of Sunday, roughly 49.3% of the U.S. population over 12 is fully vaccinated, the CDC said.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use mRNA technology and require two doses, while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is one dose. All the vaccines are free.

Health officials said the increase in vaccinations since states opened up eligibility in April has resulted in a major drop in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

The seven-day average of new daily cases reported has decreased from 65,053 on April 1 to 12,780 on June 5, the CDC reported. The seven-day average of new daily deaths reported decreased from 681 to 367 during the same time period, according to the CDC.

Health officials, however, are warning the unequal vaccination rates among states and the recent drop in new vaccine administrations could slow down the country’s recovery.

As of Sunday, 14 states, most of which are located in the northeast, have passed the 70% threshold of their population over 18 years old with at least one vaccine dose, CDC data showed. Six states, four of which are in the South, have not passed the 40% threshold of their population over 18 years old with one dose, according to the CDC.

The seven-day average of first doses administered across the country has declined from a peak of 1.96 million on April 11 to 444,000 on May 31, CDC data showed.

Several states are trying to pick up their vaccine rates with incentives such as lotteries, free beers and college scholarships.

Anyone who needs help making an appointment for a vaccine can log onto vaccines.gov.

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