Fears About Delta Variant Have Boosted Vaccination Numbers, Says White House

White House officials on Thursday highlighted improving numbers on vaccinations in the United States, noting that rates have increased in the past few days as more Americans take note of the difficulties that have come about due to the Delta variant of coronavirus.

White House COVID-19 data director Cyrus Shahpar shared a tweet in which he noted that around 864,000 doses of the vaccine were administered in the past day, dwarfing the previous day’s totals by more than 135,000 doses. That number included over half million Americans getting their first vaccination dose.

These figures were the highest single-day numbers of vaccinations seen in more than a month, Shahpar said.

In remarks he made to reporters, White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said that many of the new vaccinations were happening in states where the Delta variant was hitting people hardest — including states like Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri and Oklahoma.

“Importantly, we’re seeing the most significant increases in the states with the highest case rates,” Zients said. “We’ve more than doubled the average number of people newly vaccinated each day over the past three weeks in the states with the highest case rates.”

Americans are taking note of the risks of being unvaccinated, and “they’re responding by doing their part, rolling up their sleeves and getting vaccinated,” Zients added.

The increases in vaccination rates can be attributed to fears of the Delta variant, which is more contagious than the original strain of COVID-19 seen last year. But new vaccinations are also likely being driven by vaccine requirements by employers and schools across the country.

Still, there remain many difficulties in getting people who aren’t yet vaccinated to agree to it.

An Economist/YouGov poll published this week found that 18 percent of Americans have said they will never get vaccinated, while another 9 percent said they are unsure about doing so. When those saying they would never get a vaccine were asked what could be done to change their minds, the poll demonstrated that very few in that group could be persuaded to take the vaccine.

Just 6 percent of respondents in that subgroup said they would get the vaccine if their doctor told them to. Nine percent said a cash incentive of $100 would convince them, and only 13 percent said full Food and Drug Administration authorization would make them change their minds.

Even when shown that getting the vaccine would protect their families from COVID, only 16 percent of those who said they’d never get vaccinated expressed any interest in adjusting their views and getting the shots they need in order to give their families that protection.