WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Pfizer announced its vaccine is 100% effective in teenagers on Wednesday, and the White House is encouraging all Americans to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
“We are facing an accelerated threat,” Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services Acting Director Andy Slavitt said.
On Wednesday, the White House COVID-19 Response Team said the administration is picking up the pace to combat the virus through an increase in vaccination sites.
“Within three weeks, there will be about 70,000 locations. As we nearly double the number of pharmacies that are vaccinating Americans,” Slavitt said.
The administration promises more Americans will have access to appointments in more convenient locations, and 12 more federally-run mass vaccination sites will also open up.
“We need to keep case numbers down so we can save lives,” Slavitt said.
This, as the CDC continues to see an increase in hospitalizations, while the number of deaths has not gone down.
“As we see increases in cases, we can’t afford to let our guard down,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said.
Walensky says minority groups have taken a big hit during the pandemic.
“COVID-19 related deaths were more than double the death rate of non-Hispanic white persons.” Walensky said.
Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci encourages all Americans to get the vaccine, but not just for the virus we’re dealing with now.
“It has the potential, to a greater or lesser degree, to also protect against a range of variants,” Fauci said.
The COVID-19 Response Team says until the country reaches mass vaccination, Americans should continue to mask up and reduce contact.