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Mixed reactions prolong U.S. vaccination process, worsen COVID-19 situation


Healthcare systems in some parts of the United States are in "dire straits" as unvaccinated people fill up hospitals, says Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Mixed or de-synchronized responses to the U.S. federal government's universal call for vaccination against the coronavirus have been delaying the whole process, and in some states dragging hospitals into an overflow of unvaccinated patients.

Healthcare systems in some parts of the United States are in "dire straits" as unvaccinated people fill up hospitals, Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told CBS on Sunday.

Some parts of the country are using "crisis standards of care" and are running out of hospital beds, Walensky said. "That means that we are talking about who is going to get a ventilator, who is going to get an ICU bed."

A medical worker prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine at the Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles, California, the United States, June 18, 2021. (Photo by Zeng Hui/Xinhua)

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Between Sept. 18 and 24, U.S. hospitals admitted a daily average of nearly 9,000 COVID-19 patients, much lower than in early January, when the seven-day average peaked at 16,489, per CDC data. However, Walensky stressed, those filling up the hospitals were mostly unvaccinated.

As the CDC updated on Monday, 213,456,787 people have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, making up 64.3 percent of the whole U.S. population; fully vaccinated people stood at 183,670,870, accounting for 55.3 percent of tha total.

According to The New York Times, the 7-day average of confirmed cases of the pandemic stood at 119,883 nationwide on Sunday, with its 16-day change striking an 18-percent fall. COVID-19-related deaths were 2,031 on Sunday, with the 14-day change realizing a 23-percent rise.

REJECTION OF VACCINES

Tens of thousands of health care workers in New York appeared to be risking their jobs by defying the state mandate to receive at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine by Monday, setting up an early test for similar employer mandates across the United States, reported The New York Times.

In New York, Rhode Island, Maine, Oregon and the District of Columbia, health care workers must get vaccinated to remain employed. In California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Illinois, workers have the option to be tested regularly if they choose not to get inoculated.

Resistance to vaccine mandates has so far stopped most states from threatening to fire unvaccinated workers, even though employers are legally allowed to require workers to get vaccinated, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Meanwhile, under New York City's vaccination mandate for education department employees, the requirement to receive at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine was set to take effect close of business Monday, with unvaccinated staffers barred from entering schools on Tuesday and faced with unpaid leave.

But a federal appeals court granted an injunction that is expected to remain in place until a panel of three judges reviews the case on Wednesday. Currently, at least 87 percent of teachers are vaccinated, according to city officials.

Administrators have been bracing for staff shortages, since a sizable minority of teachers, school safety agents, and other staff still haven't received the vaccine, reported New York news portal The City on Sunday.

Photo taken on Aug. 23, 2021 shows Pfizer signage at Pfizer

VACCINE URGENCY

Pfizer and BioNTech plan to ask for the authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine for some children under 12 soon, bringing the United States one step closer to offering protection to a population that has grown particularly vulnerable as the fall season gets underway, reported CNN on Monday.

"It is a question of days, not weeks," said Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla. On Monday, CDC Director Walensky told ABC that the CDC will review data on vaccines for 5 to 11-year-olds with urgency.

"We are all enthusiastically awaiting these data," she said. "As soon as they get submitted to the FDA (the Food and Drug Administration), I know the FDA is urgently planning to review these data, it will go from the FDA to the CDC, and we will review it with similar urgency."

In the mean time, the recommendation of COVID-19 booster shot by the FDA and the CDC includes those older than 65, the immunocompromised and those in high-risk jobs, but it leaves out most of people who received the Moderna shot and all who received Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

"The wait for boosters news is making some non-Pfizer vaccine recipients a bit salty," The Washington Post reported on Monday, noting there has been "a rush of patients, and their questions."

To give those non-Pfizer vaccine recipients some hope in their wait, J&J said in a press release last week that a global study showed boosters helped increase the protection of its COVID-19 shot. Moderna similarly has said data supports boosters and has been submitted for the FDA's approval.

Published : September 28, 2021