Anthony S. Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser, warned Americans that the country’s level of 50,000 new infections a day is still too high and urged people to get vaccinated, even as rates of new doses administered have dropped 14 percent in the past week.
“That’s a precarious level, and we don’t want that to go up,” he said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday, as he urged Americans to get vaccinated. Public attitudes to vaccinations have been breaking down along party lines, with many more Republicans expressing reluctance to get doses.
In a poll by NBC News, 24 percent of respondents who identified as Republican said they would not get vaccinated, compared with just 4 percent of respondents who identified as Democrat. Rates of vaccination in predominantly Republican-voting states have been substantially lower than in Democratic states as well.
Vaccination rates vary from just 31.5 percent of people in Alabama having received at least one dose up to 52 percent in Maine.
The director of the National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins, warned, however, that the constant criticism of those who are vaccine-hesitant can be counterproductive, and more must be done to convince people of the benefits.
“One thing we need to do is change the conversation a little bit; maybe there has been too much finger-wagging. I’ve done some of that, and I’m going to try and stop,” he told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” He urged more effort to listen to people’s concerns while relating to them the benefits of being vaccinated.
The U.S. vaccination program has shown signs of slowing in recent days, even as the numbers of new cases remain flat or are increasing in places. Collins noted that 90 percent of the country lives just five miles from a vaccination site.