“Press Briefing by White House COVID-19 Response Team and Public Health Officials”

CITY OF WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 15, 2021)—today the White House COVID-19 Response Team and Public Health Officials held the White House press briefing.

Highlights:

  • The President has now laid down some markers about steps to move our country back to normal activities with a fully vaccinated population, provided we all work together.
  • Nearly 30 percent of adults and nearly two thirds of seniors have now received their first vaccination shot. And we are accelerating vaccinations in anticipation of meeting the President’s goal of being ready to be — open up all vaccinations to all adults by May 1 st at the latest.
  • Over the last seven days, we’re now averaging 2.4 million shots per day. For those who pay extremely close attention, there was a delay in data syncing over the weekend, which resulted in a reporting cut-off time of 11:00 a.m. instead of 6:00 a.m. Eastern time on Saturday.
  • There were 3.2 million shots reported administered on Saturday and 2.7 million on Sunday. 
  • There were 3.2 million shots reported administered on Saturday and 2.7 million on Sunday. This is an enormously complex effort, and it’s a result of the work of tens of thousands of people who are going above and beyond the call of duty.
  • The Biden administration will nearly double Medicare’s reimbursement rates for administering COVID vaccines, from about $23 per shot to $40 per shot. That’s $80 total for a two-dose vaccine.
  • The administration will now be covering 100 percent of the cost for Medicaid and children’s health insurance beneficiaries to get vaccinated. This protects states from bearing any costs associated with the increased Medicare reimbursement rates.

DR. WALENSKY:

  • CDC’s most recent data show cases continue to fluctuate somewhere between 50,000 and 60,000 per day, with the most recent seven-day average approximately 52,500 cases per day. The most recent seven-day average of hospital admissions has also declined to just over 4,700 per day.
  • We also continue to see decline in deaths, with the latest seven-day average just over 1,200 deaths per day. We have come a long way from where we were in early January, but we still have much work to do.
  • This past Friday, we saw more travelers pass through our airports: over 1.3 million. This is the most travelers that we’ve had in a single day since last March, before the WHO declared the global pandemic. We have seen footage of people enjoying spring break festivities maskless. This is all in the context of still 50,000 cases per day.
  • We also found that 96 percent of people who got both doses did so within the recommended timeframe: on or within four days of the 21 days for the Pfizer vaccine and 28 days for the Moderna vaccine.
  • CDC is working across the government and with state and local partners to identify and address barriers to getting both doses. Some strategies include working with trusted messengers and communities to spread science-based messages on the importance of getting fully vaccinated; partnering with jurisdictions and vaccination providers to schedule both vaccination appointments upfront or schedule the second appointment when you get the first shot.
  • CDC implemented an improvement to how we calculate the age of people who have received vaccinations. This was done to correct for differences in how states report date of birth to CDC and to more accurately determine the age of people getting vaccinated. As a result, there was a slight change in our age distribution of those vaccinated, with the percentages in all age groups under 75 increasing slightly, and those 75 or older decreasing slightly.
  • This largest shift occurred among people aged exactly 75 when more than 1 million individuals previously classified as 75 were reclassified as age 74. This should not be concerning as we’re vaccinating exactly the right cohorts, and those people will be 75 sometime in the next 12 months.

Source: White House

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