COVID-19 Milestone: In the United States, the Number of People Fully Vaccinated Is Now Larger Than the Number of Reported Cases

As of this morning, researchers at Johns Hopkins University are reporting 29,048,819 reported cases of COVID-19 in the United States since the pandemic began. (The New York Times has a similar number on their COVID-19 website.) According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of fully vaccinated people in the United States is at a little over 32 million as of today. This is significant because well over 90% of the United States population should receive at least one dose of the vaccine by September, taking the country as a whole well into herd immunity territory. (One dose matters now that the Janssen/Johnson&Johnson vaccine has received Emergency Use Authorization.) It is also significant because, as long as the pace of vaccination outpaces the rate of new infection, the epidemic in the United States should slow down and begin to reverse.

However, we are not quite there yet. It is early March, and there are months to go before we reach herd immunity. Because of that, we must continue to wear masks in public, practice social distancing and gather in small groups (per CDC guidelines). Those who are at high risk for severe complications from COVID-19, or those who care for such folks, even when vaccinated, should be very mindful of their actions because the pandemic is still continuing. Finally, even as the United States reaches herd immunity, there will be pockets and communities that are not at that level, so further vigilance will last until the pandemic is declared over.

Author: René F. Najera, DrPH

I am the editor of the History of Vaccines site, an online project by the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. All opinions expressed on these blog posts are not necessarily those of the College or any of my employers. Check out my professional profile on LinkedIn: Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @EpiRen