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Slow vaccination rates may leave America vulnerable later

(CNN) – Even as signs of normalcy return across the United States, from in-person graduations to maskless Memorial Day festivities, experts warn that the country must redouble its efforts to vaccinate more people by July 4.

The United States reached its peak in daily vaccinations on April 1, with more than 4.3 million people vaccinated in a single day, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Center for Disease Control). Since then, the numbers have fallen to an average of 560,000 per day in the past week.

President Joe Biden has called on 70% of all adults to have at least one vaccine by July 4. But a recent analysis of CNN From data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) it found that the United States probably won’t reach the target until mid to late July.

Dr Ashish Jha, dean of the School of Public Health at Brown University, agrees that the country is not on track to reach this milestone. “So we have to redouble our efforts,” he told CNN reporter Jake Tapper. Countries really have to speed up their pace. If we stay in the status quo, I don’t think we’ll get to 70% by July 4th.”

State leaders offered Incentives ranging from free beer to lottery tickets To encourage more people to get vaccinated.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows 63.7% of Americans received their first dose of the vaccine, but misunderstandings about transmission risks and the need for vaccines could put more people at risk, Jha said.

“I understand that in the short term we can continue as we are, with slow vaccination rates,” he explained. “But these people are really at risk, once we have more variants circulating in the United States, to re-infection and potentially serious illness.”

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File data Center for Disease Control They show that about one in three Americans contracted COVID-19 during the pandemic.

Jha said that while affected people may think they now have natural immunity, they may not be aware of the risk posed by the variants.

Misunderstandings about vaccines lead to hesitation

Return cruises from Florida and Texas 1:05

In Mississippi, the state with the lowest vaccination rate in the country, the governor attributed residents’ reluctance to the idea of ​​natural immunity.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows that less than 45% of adults in the state have received at least one dose of the vaccine and only 35.7% have received their full vaccinations.

“We have a million Mississippi people with natural immunity and that’s why there’s so little virus in our state,” the Mississippi governor told CNN on Sunday.

Reeves and his wife have been vaccinated and have said he believes the vaccine is safe and effective. However, the governor called Biden’s goal “arbitrary” and said the 320,000 Mississippi residents who tested positive for the virus may have natural immunity.

The governor said the number of cases and hospitalizations have dropped dramatically in his state, so while he encourages people to get vaccinated, he feels people have a right to make their own decisions.

“This is a misunderstanding unfortunately a lot of people have,” Jha said. There is an idea that if you do become infected, you have a natural immunity and do not need to be vaccinated. “I have no doubt that the immunity induced by the vaccine is more permanent and will hold up better against variants,” he added.

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The CDC released data Monday showing that even rare disruptive infections — people who test positive for COVID-19 despite being vaccinated — create a milder disease response.

Medical workers at Delta Health Center prepare to vaccinate people against COVID-19 at a temporary vaccination clinic in Leyland, Mississippi.

People who got a “disturbing” infection after one or two doses of the vaccine had 40% less virus in their body and 58% less likely to develop a fever. According to the study, they also spent fewer days in bed with COVID-19 than unvaccinated patients.

“The only way to protect is to get full vaccinations,” Jha said, adding that people should get both doses. “That’s why everyone needs a second dose.”

Ongoing debate about vaccine passports

As officials push to increase vaccination rates, a proof of vaccination debate is raging, with some state leaders saying they won’t implement it and others banning it entirely, as many Americans are beginning to travel for the first time since the pandemic.

New York was the first state to issue a digital passport for a vaccine with IBM’s Excelsior Pass app that displays a custom QR code that checks vaccination status. The app was tested in sports in March.

In April, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the federal government would not issue a vaccine passport.

On Monday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill that would prevent companies from requiring customers to provide proof that they have received a vaccination.

“Texas is 100 percent open,” Abbott said when he signed Senate Bill 968. “We want to make sure they have the freedom to go where they want without limits.”

“No company or government entity can require a person to provide a vaccine passport, or any other information about the vaccine as a condition of receiving any service or entering any location,” Abbott said.

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Abbott’s signing came on the same day Carnival Cruise Line confirmed it would resume operations in the Port of Galveston, Texas, on July 3.

Carnival currently requires proof of vaccination as part of its passenger protocol.

“We are evaluating recently enacted legislation in Texas regarding vaccination information,” the company said. “The law provides for exceptions when a company implements covid protocols in accordance with federal law consistent with our plans to comply with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.”

Moderna vaccine data for younger children will be available in September or October

Moderna told CNN Monday that data on a COVID-19 vaccine for children up to age five will likely be available in September or October.

During an event on social media platform Clubhouse on Monday, Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel erred in answering a question and incorrectly suggested that a vaccine for children up to 5 years old would be available in early fall.

Moderna announced in May that its vaccine is safe and appears to be effective in children ages 12 to 17. The company is testing the vaccine on babies as young as 6 months old.

Bancel noted that it takes time to determine the appropriate doses for young children, which may differ from what works for adults.

“We expect the data to be available in the September timeframe,” Bancel said.

Editor’s note: This article was updated after the Moderna CEO made a mistake when answering a question on Monday. The data About the vaccine for younger children, not a vaccine for younger children, will likely be available in September or October, the company says.

Keith Allen, Lauren Mascarenas, Jamil Lynch and Nicolette Higgs of CNN contributed to this report.