White House touts uptick in COVID vaccinations amid renewed mandates, Delta spread

More adults are getting their first shot as COVID cases are on the rise, Biden officials say

The Biden administration is touting a recent increase in COVID-19 vaccinations in the United States, amid new concerns about the highly contagious Delta variant and fresh coronavirus restrictions. 

Cyrus Shahpar, the White House's COVID-19 Data Director, took to Twitter to celebrate a "big Friday" where the number of newly vaccinated people hit its highest daily rate since July 1.  

And Saturday's new vaccination numbers were also an improvement from a week ago, which caught the attention of White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain. 

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"We are seeing more adults get their first shot than any time in the past 8-10 weeks," Klain tweeted in response to Shahpar's data. "We are seeing particularly strong increases in the states that are hard hit by Delta."

The Biden administration aimed to get at least 70% of adult Americans at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19 by July 4. But the White House missed its target as daily vaccination rates tapered off from a peak in April. 

But with a renewed push to get jabbed, surge in coronavirus cases and imposition of new mask mandates in various spots around the country, there appears to be more interest now in getting the shots. According to the CDC, just over 69.6% of adults in the country had received at least one vaccination shot as of Friday – just shy of Biden's original July 4 target. 

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Nearly a month after Biden celebrated independence from coronavirus with 1,000 mask-free people at a July 4th White House fete, the CDC has now advised a return to masking to indoors for even vaccinated people living in areas of high transmission. Certain localities, including the U.S. House of Representatives, have followed with new mask mandates. 

Meanwhile, the Biden administration has reversed course on its initial hesitancy regarding federal mandates for vaccinations, with the Department of Veterans Affairs first mandating vaccinations for its medical personnel. Then Biden announced Thursday he will require federal workers to be vaccinated or submit to frequent testing.

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The crackdown is in response to the rise in coronavirus cases nationwide fueled by the more contagious Delta variant. On Thursday, the U.S. had almost 80,000 new COVID-19 cases. That's still well below the early January peak of nearly 300,000 new daily cases, but a stark rise from a month ago when daily cases were under 10,000 in the United States.