‘We still have a long way to go,’ White House Vaccination Coordinator gives update on COVID-19 vaccines progress


WASHINGTON (WMBD) — White House Vaccination Coordinator Dr. Bechara Choucair gave an update on the country’s progress in getting vaccinated for COVID-19.

“We continue to make good progress on getting more and more people vaccinated every single day,” Choucair said. “More than three in four people who are eligible to get vaccinated in this country have gotten at least one shot.”

Plenty of vaccines are available, and Choucair said there is a plan to get them administered.

“We still have a long way to go, we still have about 65 million people in this country who are eligible but not yet vaccinated,” Choucair said. “But we have programs in place, we have strategies in place, that will get us to get a lot more people vaccinated in the next few weeks.”

Choucair said there are several reasons some people have waited to get vaccinated.

“For some folks, it takes a lot more conversation, one on one conversations with their doctors. They still have a lot of questions about the vaccines. Those are legitimate questions. And encouraging those one on one conversations with doctors is really important. For others, they were waiting for the full FDA approval for the vaccine, and now that has come with Pfizer. Others are incentivized if there are incentives in place, and that might help them change their mind. And we know there is a group of people who are not going to get vaccinated until their employer tells them to get vaccinated. That’s why we have been focusing on vaccine requirements across the country.”

White House Vaccination Coordinator Dr. Bechara Choucair

Choucair said he expects many more people to get vaccinated in the weeks and months ahead due to vaccine requirements. He said their top priority is to get as many people vaccinated as possible.

“The facts are so clear, if you are unvaccinated, you are five times more likely to end up catching this virus, 10 times more likely to end up in the hospital, or dying from this virus compared to someone who is vaccinated,” Choucair said. “We know vaccines work, we have three safe and very effective vaccines that are available at over 80,000 locations in this country.”

“My call to action for those who are still debating whether they want to get vaccinated or not, now is the time to get vaccinated, so you will be safe and protected, for thanksgiving and the holidays,” Choucair said.

Choucair also said more booster shots could be approved soon, and encourages those eligible to get them when they are available.

“We want to do everything we can to optimize the protection that we are getting from our wonderful vaccines,” Choucair said.

More data about vaccines in Illinois is available on the Illinois Department of Public Health’s Website.

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