(CNN)The United States will likely reach its Covid-19 vaccination goals for the summer, but vaccine hesitancy and variants could still cause a surge in the winter, an influential model predicted Thursday.
With more variants being identified around the world, like the B.1.617 that has sent cases skyrocketing in India, officials are racing to encourage Americans to get vaccinated and help the country reach herd immunity before vaccine-resistant variants develop and reach the US.
Under certain circumstances, virus transmission can “rapidly and explosively” rise, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington (IHME) said.
Friday morning, Pfizer/BioNTech announced it has begun seeking full approval from the US Food and Drug Administration of its vaccine for people 16 and older. This is the first Covid-19 vaccine in the US to be assessed for full approval from the FDA.
Pfizer’s mRNA two-shot vaccine is currently used under emergency use authorization from the FDA, and full approval may help get people who are holding back vaccinated.
Full approval “takes away one of those drivers of hesitancy in so many Americans” to get vaccinated, CNN medical analyst Megan Ranney said.
“We as scientists have been trying to reassure folks that these vaccines are safe, as well as effective, but once something gets full FDA approval, there’s no more argument,” Ranney said.
“It also allows businesses and universities and schools to start to insist on vaccination with a little more confidence,” she said.
President Joe Biden announced a goal Tuesday of having 70% of the nation’s adult population receive at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by July 4.
The IHME forecast that goal will be reached by the end of May. And by September, 185 million Americans — equivalent to about 88% of the adult population — will be vaccinated, the modelers say … Click here to read more.