About 1 in 10 Americans have gotten at least their first Covid-19 shot. But supply challenges remain

An expert explains why the United States has struggled to identify and stay ahead of Covid-19 mutations.

Posted: Feb 10, 2021 7:10 AM
Updated: Feb 10, 2021 8:10 AM


About one in 10 Americans -- nearly 32.9 million people --- have so far received at least a first dose of the two-part Covid-19 vaccines, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows, and about 9.8 million people have been fully vaccinated.

And while US and state leaders are optimistic vaccinations will ramp up further in the coming months, several challenges remain, including supply shortages and equitable access -- which come as public health experts say the US is in a race against time as Covid-19 variants keep spreading across the country.

"We're in a situation, and we will be for a little while, of undersupply," said Andy Slavitt, the senior White House adviser for Covid-19 Response.

In Delaware, officials announced Tuesday the state was no longer expecting to open another phase of vaccine eligibility on March 1 as was planned due to an "extremely limited supply" of vaccines. In Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said the state will receive more doses from the federal government and added, "it's not enough, but it's great."

"I wish we had 200,000 doses a week right now. We could allocate all of them," Beshear said.

But there is good news on the vaccine front: The Biden administration said Tuesday it was boosting weekly vaccine supply going to states, tribes and territories to 11 million doses, adding it was continuing to work with manufacturers to increase vaccine supply.

Several thousand retail pharmacies will also begin administering vaccines this week as part of a federal program, with both CVS and Walgreens saying vaccinations will kick off Friday in the participating stores.

And more leaders say they're working to address disparities in who's getting a vaccine. Next week, the administration will begin sending some of the Covid-19 supply directly to community health centers as part of an effort to reach underserved areas, White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said Tuesday.

North Carolina officials said they're working to allocate more vaccine doses to those communities and will have more vaccine events targeting the underserved, Black and Latinx populations. According to the state's vaccine dashboard, since vaccinations began, 79% of those who have received their first dose in the state are White, nearly 14% are Black, 2% Asian and 2% Hispanic.

82% of educators not vaccinated, survey finds

Amid nationwide conversations on the steps needed for safe school school reopenings, the country's largest teachers' union released a survey showing about 82% of educators it represents have not yet received a vaccine.

The survey, conducted by the National Education Association, found that "the number of educators back to work in physical buildings far outpaces the number of educators being vaccinated."

That comes as teachers have protested and voiced concerns about returning to the classroom after losing colleagues to the virus. But according to a CNN analysis, teachers are not currently being prioritized for vaccination in 24 states.

After polling more than 3,300 of its members, the association found about 70% said they would feel safer about returning to in-person learning if they were vaccinated. About 64% said they are currently working in school buildings all or part of the time.

The survey also found White educators were twice as likely (20%) as Black members (9%) to be vaccinated.

Americans' perception of Covid-19 risk is lowest in months

The US is in no way out of the woods yet. The country has recorded more than 27 million Covid-19 cases since the pandemic's start -- far more than any other country in the world -- and now variants are complicating the outlook, and concerning experts.

CDC data updated on Tuesday shows more than 940 cases of Covid-19 variants first spotted in the UK, South Africa and Brazil have been reported in the US -- with the vast majority of those being the highly contagious variant known as B.1.1.7, originally detected in the UK.

That number is concerning enough. But the CDC says it likely does not represent the total number of the variant cases -- just those that have been found by analyzing Covid-19 positive samples.

These variants are why experts caution that now is not the time for the nation to let down its guard.

"We're ... seeing what happens in other countries when these variants take over," emergency physician Dr. Leana Wen told CNN earlier this week. "There is (an) explosive surge, even when the countries are basically in shutdown."

Despite the dangers, Americans' perception of risk is the lowest it's been in months, according to a new Axios-Ipsos poll. About 66% of people surveyed reported they thought there was a moderate or large risk in returning to pre-pandemic life. The last time that number was so low was in October.

In reality, now that variants are circulating, even everyday activities like grocery shopping could be more dangerous, Wen has previously cautioned.

This could be why we may need vaccines annually

Covid-19 variants could also be the reason why vaccines for the virus may become an annual necessity for years to come.

"Unfortunately, as [the virus] spreads it can also mutate," Johnson & Johnson Chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky, told CNBC on Tuesday.

"Every time it mutates, it's almost like another click of the dial so to speak where we can see another variant, another mutation that can have an impact on its ability to fend of antibodies or to have a different kind of response not only to a therapeutic but also to a vaccine."

Johnson & Johnson asked the Food and Drug Administration for an emergency use authorization of its vaccine last week -- and a green light for the company could further boost vaccination doses available across the US.

Unlike the two vaccines already authorized in the US which require two shots, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is only a single dose.

Its Covid-19 vaccine was shown to be 66% effective in preventing moderate and severe disease in a global Phase 3 trial, according to the company. The vaccine is 85% effective overall at preventing hospitalization and 100% at preventing death in all regions where it was tested.

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Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1605320

Reported Deaths: 27132
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook61354910964
DuPage1039171357
Will873121089
Lake771121060
Kane65888850
Winnebago39007544
Madison38143576
St. Clair35003569
McHenry33032316
Peoria25972362
Champaign25862182
Sangamon24588271
McLean21879207
Tazewell19736326
Rock Island17806344
Kankakee16784234
Kendall15459106
LaSalle14496275
Macon14478240
Vermilion13234189
Adams12695148
DeKalb11667128
Williamson11419157
Whiteside7897176
Jackson769188
Boone760082
Coles7341112
Ogle713486
Grundy701281
Franklin686899
Clinton681498
Knox6651164
Marion6547138
Macoupin646399
Henry620474
Jefferson6060132
Effingham604382
Livingston571295
Woodford554291
Stephenson546289
Randolph529297
Monroe508199
Christian491780
Fulton487970
Morgan487296
Logan477474
Montgomery467476
Lee458156
Bureau427188
Perry415171
Saline409263
Fayette398956
Iroquois394673
McDonough354956
Jersey322253
Shelby311843
Douglas306636
Crawford304130
Lawrence301131
Union296747
Wayne274057
White265930
Richland262054
Hancock256334
Pike255956
Cass250928
Clark250738
Bond244024
Clay240047
Ford235256
Edgar234744
Carroll225437
Warren224960
Johnson213524
Moultrie211831
Jo Daviess206126
Washington206127
Wabash200915
Greene200739
Mason199351
Massac198144
De Witt195530
Piatt190814
Mercer190634
Cumberland178325
Menard158612
Jasper152418
Marshall134721
Hamilton128821
Brown10178
Pulaski98311
Schuyler9688
Edwards96315
Stark76827
Gallatin7435
Scott6975
Alexander67611
Henderson65114
Calhoun6442
Hardin56013
Putnam5444
Pope4815
Unassigned1882432
Out of IL40

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 941120

Reported Deaths: 15315
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1282511983
Lake633041097
Allen53609758
Hamilton43827447
St. Joseph41906590
Elkhart33545490
Vanderburgh30383448
Tippecanoe26820249
Johnson23609417
Hendricks22250341
Porter21737346
Clark17409229
Madison17366384
Vigo16108281
Monroe14466191
LaPorte14311239
Delaware14070221
Howard13865272
Kosciusko11418135
Hancock10841165
Warrick10674177
Bartholomew10542168
Floyd10430205
Wayne9959226
Grant9130204
Morgan8865160
Boone8389111
Dubois7710123
Dearborn762289
Henry7608130
Noble7413101
Marshall7362128
Cass7176117
Lawrence6957153
Shelby6584111
Jackson656785
Gibson6156107
Harrison603786
Huntington600195
Montgomery5805105
DeKalb574291
Knox5494104
Miami542488
Putnam536768
Clinton533665
Whitley524953
Steuben497268
Wabash483592
Jasper479160
Jefferson470092
Ripley454277
Adams444068
Daviess4169108
Scott405865
White391857
Clay390857
Greene388392
Decatur385296
Wells384983
Fayette374278
Posey359941
Jennings353156
Washington332047
LaGrange321375
Spencer317835
Fountain316555
Randolph312888
Sullivan307449
Owen283863
Starke280064
Fulton277553
Orange275859
Jay254837
Perry251652
Carroll243729
Franklin239338
Rush234130
Vermillion233250
Parke219820
Tipton209655
Pike207639
Blackford168334
Pulaski163551
Crawford146018
Newton144345
Benton142516
Brown135346
Martin128217
Switzerland125810
Warren114616
Union96911
Ohio79711
Unassigned0479