COVID-19 response team urges younger Americans to seek vaccinations

Dr. Rochelle Walensky
Posted at 9:02 AM, May 18, 2021

The White House COVID-19 response team on Tuesday urged younger Americans to seek out vaccinations as the country inches toward a return to normalcy.

"In many ways, your generation has shown us how to make the world a better place," Slavitt said Tuesday. He added that getting vaccinated is another way for younger Americans to make the world a better place.

Last week, the U.S. began administering COVID-19 vaccines to people aged between 12 and 17. On Tuesday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky noted that more than 600,000 adolescents in the U.S. had gotten at least one dose of vaccine.

Slavitt also disclosed Tuesday that his son contracted COVID-19 in the fall. Six months later, he says his son is still exhibiting symptoms.

"Many young people are in this situation, and many have it worse," Slavitt said.

The briefing came a day after the Biden administration committed to sending an additional 20 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the rest of the world.

In remarks on Monday, President Joe Biden said the U.S. would be sending 20 million doses of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine to boost the global supply.

Monday's pledge follows a commitment made earlier this year to donate 60 million doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine to the global supply. While that vaccine is not yet approved for use in the U.S., Biden said yesterday the administration would only deliver those doses after the FDA and CDC have granted the vaccine emergency use authorization.

As of Tuesday morning, the CDC reports that new cases of COVID-19 have dropped to an average of about 30,000 a day — the lowest levels since last summer. In addition, average daily deaths have dropped to about 545 a day — the lowest levels since the virus became widespread in the country last spring.

Biden has said that he expects the number of adults in the U.S. with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will surpass 60% on Tuesday. He's set a goal to have 70% of adults to be vaccinated with at least one dose by July 4.

The response team's address also comes as states, local governments and major retailers roll back mask requirements and social distancing regulations. Last week, the CDC announced that anyone who is at least two weeks removed from their last vaccine dose could safely resume most activities without the use of a mask or physical distancing.