Officials from the Biden administration said on Wednesday that vaccination rates against COVID-19 in the United States have increased by more than 20 percentage points after several institutions implemented vaccine mandates, while infection figures and deaths from the disease have decreased.
According to White House pandemic response coordinator Jeff Zients, 77% of eligible Americans have received at least one vaccine dose.
Vaccination rates have increased as a result of measures enacted by private organizations, healthcare systems, social institutions, and state and municipal governments, Zients disclosed in a news conference.
Because a substantial portion of the U.S. population continues to refuse to take safe and widely available immunizations, President Joe Biden's administration has struggled to end the coronavirus pandemic.
Last month, Biden proposed regulations requiring most healthcare workers and federal employees to undergo COVID-19 inoculation, as well as requiring large companies to have their personnel immunized or tested on a weekly basis, although the federal laws implementing the mandate are still being finalized. Vaccines are already required in several jurisdictions and by some large companies.
"Since the president originally announced vaccine mandates and called on organizations to follow his lead in late July, the number of eligible Americans who are unvaccinated has dropped by approximately a third, from 97 million to 66 million," Zients said.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the seven-day average of daily COVID-19 cases was down 13% from the previous week, and the seven-day average of daily mortalities dropped 5%.
Officials warned, however, that even if a new strain of the extremely contagious Delta virus that has wreaked havoc around the world was unlikely, it was not time to relax the country's guard.
"Despite the recent drop in cases, most communities across the country continue to experience significant to high levels of community transmission," Walensky added.
"We must keep focused on getting COVID-19 under control across the country, especially as we head into the fall and winter seasons," she said.
More than 700,000 people have died in the United States as a result of COVID-19, and Biden has made it a priority to bring the epidemic under control for health, economic, and political reasons.