WASHINGTON, D.C. – Federal health officials are urging U.S. residents to hold on just for a few months longer.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said they are months away from being able to vaccinate every adult in the country.
There’s a growing concern the nation will relax coronavirus restrictions before everyone is vaccinated, giving the pandemic a chance to surge once again by allowing more contagious variants to take hold.
“The next three months are pivotal,” Walensky said. “I’m asking you to reach deeply to protect our nation’s health and to protect your loved ones.”
With President Joe Biden promising there will be enough doses to vaccinate every adult in the U.S. by the end of May, health officials are warning we could waste our best chance at gaining an advantage over COVID-19.
“Stamina has worn thin, fatigue is winning and the exact measures we have taken to stop the pandemic are now too often being flagrantly ignored,” Walensky said. “All the while, we are just on the verge of capitalizing on the culmination of a historic scientific success: the ability to vaccinate the country in just a matter of three or four more months. How this plays out is up to us.”
White House advisor Andy Slavitt said they hope the country will rally together and finish the race.
“It’s actually the most important time for people to make sure we run through the tape and finish that up. I think that’s a commonly shared sentiment not just from us, but from public health experts everywhere,” Slavitt said. “Hopefully the country will continue to rally together in this front.”
“Whether mandated or not, as individuals and as communities, we can still take the right public health action to protect ourselves and others: wearing a well-fitting mask, avoiding travel in crowds, social distancing and practicing good hand hygiene,” Walensky said. “Now more than ever, we must do all we can to stop the spread of the virus.”
There is a real risk in letting up too soon. Currently, the vaccines are effective against the standard virus and the U.K. variant that is expected to become the dominant strain, but if we allow another variant to take over that our vaccines are not as effective against, we risk a serious setback in this pandemic and that is something no one wants to see.
The CDC is expected to release new guidelines Thursday on what fully vaccinated people can do to stay safe.