Even with 3 vaccines now, CDC head warns of possible 4th COVID surge
Over the weekend both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave the green light to Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine, making it the first one-dose option available to Americans.
The newly approved vaccine is expected to arrive in arms as soon as tomorrow. A total of 4 million doses will be administered across the United States by the end of the week, Reuters reported. Johnson & Johnson previously said it aims to have 20 million doses delivered to Americans by the end of the month, and 100 million doses by June.
Biden administration officials warned that availability of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be sporadic and limited, most likely until April.
‘Very real threat’ of variants
The welcomed news of a third COVID-19 vaccine was tempered today by warnings from CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, who said during a White House press briefing that recent declines in case counts are stalling.
“The most recent 7-day average of cases, approximately 67,200, represents an increase of a little over 2% compared to the prior 7 days,” said Walensky. “Please hear me clearly—at this level of cases with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained. These variants are a very real threat to our people and our progress. “
Walensky said the country cannot settle for 70,000 cases and 2,000 deaths per day due to the virus. She also said if states lift mitigation mandates, like mask-wearing, too quickly, the nation could see a fourth wave of virus activity before enough Americans are vaccinated.