PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — COVID-19 vaccinations are now open to everyone whose eligible. Monday was the deadline set by the Biden Administration to lift all vaccine restrictions.
Many states, including Pennsylvania, had already opened vaccinations to everyone over the age of 16.READ MORE: Four Guns Confiscated From Philadelphia International Airport Passengers Over Weekend
A media blitz today from the Biden Administration included former Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine.
“We want people to get the vaccination,” Levine said.
Levine, the assistant secretary of HHS, pushed the Biden Administration’s agenda to get more people vaccinated.
So far, more than 131 million Americans have gotten at least one dose — that’s more than half of all adults in the country.
“We now have one thing on our mind, making sure the other 50% know how easy it is to get a shot,” said Andy Slavitt, White House Senior Advisor for COVID-19 Response.
Even with increased vaccinations, the U.S. is still seeing close to 70,000 new COVID infections a day — about the same as last summer’s peak.READ MORE: Giant Supermarket Chain Opening 4 New Stores In Philadelphia, Hiring 700 Employees
Thirty-eight states reported hikes in hospitalizations last week. The hardest hit were Michigan, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and New Jersey.
“We are still very concerned about COVID-19. You know we can see the light at the end of the tunnel but we are not there yet,” Levine said.
Pennsylvania’s former secretary of health says there will be a big public awareness campaign targeted at people who are reluctant to get vaccinated.
“I think this is a very important issue and that’s why we want to get the message out about the safety and the effectiveness of these vaccines,” Levine said.
Dr. Levine said the pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was disappointing but should assure people that safety is being carefully monitored. It’s the vaccine she received two weeks ago, before the vaccine was put on hold because of a rare blood clot risk.
Dr. Levine said she was “absolutely fine” after getting her vaccine.MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Chef Eli Kulp Finds New Mission After Being Paralyzed In Amtrak Crash, Battle With Depression
A CDC advisory committee is expected to announce a decision on the J&J vaccine Friday. Officials say the pause on that vaccine is not impacting overall availability.