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Every American 16 and older is now eligible for COVID vaccination: Biden hails it 'good news' that the CDC expanded access to hit his deadline but six states BARELY hit the April 19 target

 Everyone in United States aged 16 years and above is now eligible for COVID-19 vaccination, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Monday.

'Folks, I have good news. Everybody is eligible, as of today, to get the vaccine. We have enough of it, you need to be protected, and you need, in turn, to protect your neighbors and your family,' said President Joe Biden in a video posted to Twitter, announcing the eligibility expansion. 

'So please, get the vaccine.'  

The majority of U.S. states have already expanded their COVID-19 vaccine rollouts to people from this age group. 

Alaska was the first state to lower statewide eligibility to age 16 and was followed by states including Georgia, Texas and California. Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont barely hit Biden's deadline, expanding access on Monday. 

More than half of U.S. adults have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, according to the CDC.

It comes as COVID-19 rates remain stubbornly high in the U.S., despite the ongoing push to expand vaccination. Meanwhile, hospitalizations remain stable at about 5,459 a day, an increase of less than one percent compared to last week. 

The average number of daily deaths remains stable at 737, including 313 fatalities recorded on Sunday. 

The average number of new daily COVID-19 cases finally below 70,000 over the weekend, but still hovers near that figure, which experts say is too high.

On Sunday, the U.S. recorded 42,018 new cases of COVID-19, driving the seven-day rolling average down to 68,664. That's slightly lower than a week prior, when the average number of new cases was 70,196.  

President Biden announced that all states had expanded vaccine eligibility to those 16 and older as of Monday, meeting his deadline and coinciding with updated CDC guidance, in a short video clip posted to Twitter

President Biden announced that all states had expanded vaccine eligibility to those 16 and older as of Monday, meeting his deadline and coinciding with updated CDC guidance, in a short video clip posted to Twitter 


'Seventy thousands cases a day is not acceptable,' Dr Barry Bloom, former dean of the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health told the New York Times. 

'We have to get that down.' 

Over the past week, new cases were still rising in at least 20 U.S. states., according to tracking from Johns Hopkins University. 

After a remarkable run of low Covid figures despite its early reopening, Florida is now seeing more new cases a day than any other state in the aftermath of Spring Break. 

The state recorded 6,834 new COVID-19 cases and 35 new fatalities on Sunday. 

Maine is seeing the steepest increase, however, with its seven-day rolling average of new cases rising to 478 on Sunday, compared to 423 average new cases a week prior. 

In Delaware, 411 new cases are now being reported a day, compared to 359 the previous Sunday. 

After a harrowing surge in new COVID-19 cases that began in mid-February, Michigan is finally seeing its new daily cases decline. 

The state's seven-day rolling average of new infections is now down to 5,779, compared to its latest peak of 7,873 on April 10. 

Hope is likely on the horizon for all four states, however. 

Each has now vaccinated more than 60,001 per every 100,000 residents, according to the CDC's tracking. 

Nationwide, more than a quarter of Americans are fully-vaccinated, and 40 have had at least one dose of vaccine. 

Among adults 18 and older, rates are considerably higher. 

Nearly a third of people 18 or older are fully vaccinated and 50.4 percent of adult Americans are have had at least one shot. 

Vaccinations are ramping up across the country - and set to do so more steeply with supply and eligibility both expanding - but a few states lag behind. 

Alabama has the lowest vaccination rate in the country, with 46,751 doses administered per 100,000 residents.  Mississippi has fared little better, with 49,251 doses given per 100,000 people. 

On the other end of the spectrum, New Mexico now leads the pack with 77,605 dose administered per 100,000 residents, and Alaska is close behind with 70,467 shots-in-arms per capita. 

Their high vaccination rates are likely driving encouraging trends in new Covid cases in each state. Last week, just 2.3 percent of COVID-19 tests administered in New Mexico and 2.6 percent of tests in Alaska were positive. 

According to tracking from Bloomberg, cases have begun to decline in 16 states where at least 35 percent of people are now vaccinated. 

Four countries - Gibraltar, the Falkland Islands, Israel and Seychelles - have seen their Covid curves flatten nationwide after 40 percent of their populations were fully vaccinated. 

And at the current pace, the U.S. is on track to reach herd immunity, with 75 percent of its population vaccinated, within four months. 

People aged 16 years and above who have underlying medical conditions that increase the risk of serious, life-threatening complications from COVID-19, should be among those offered the vaccine first, according to the U.S. health agency's latest recommendations

Earlier in April, U.S. President Joe Biden had directed states to widen the vaccine eligibility to people aged 18 or above by April 19. No COVID-19 vaccine is authorized yet for those under 16, although testing is underway.

Currently, the CDC and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have placed a pause on the use of Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine amid fears that it may cause life-threatening blood clots in rare cases. 

Guidance on the use of the shot is expected within days, US Surgeon General Dr Vivek Murthy told CNN. It may offer different advice depending on a person's gender and age, he said. 

The pause on J&J's vaccine could slightly hamper the rollout of vaccines in the U.S., but issues at a Baltimore manufacturing plant last month meant that America was predominantly relying on the other two manufacturers - Moderna and Pfizer - already.  

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