PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Only about half of the country is fully vaccinated, which means over 100 million eligible Americans are not protected. That’s allowed the more contagious Delta variant to skyrocket.
Nationwide infections are up almost 70% from just a week ago and the cases in Pennsylvania and New Jersey both are over 1,000 a day from Thursday.READ MORE: Evesham Township Police Searching For Suspect Accused Of Hitting Officer With Stolen Truck
“We still have only 52% of our population fully vaccinated,” Acting Philadelphia Health Secretary Allison Beam said.
Pennsylvania health officials announced a new texting campaign aimed at more than 250,000 people who have missed their second dose of the vaccine.
“Getting that second dose is important to protect against the Delta variant,” Beam said.
Officials revealed that 65% of COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania are now linked to that new strain and even with cases increasing, they are not instituting new recommendations or mandates for masks or vaccinations.
But, President Biden is now requiring federal employees to be vaccinated.READ MORE: Philadelphia Flower Show Set For Return To South Philly's FDR Park In 2022
Several major companies are also introducing strict new vaccine policies for employees, including Facebook and Google. The owner of Shake Shack is going even further; not only will employees be required to be vaccinated, but customers as well.
“I think it is great that there is as much momentum behind this,” Dr. P.J. Brennan, with Penn Medicine, said.
Dr. Brennan says the hospital was one of the first and the largest hospitals to mandate vaccinations for its workforce of 44,000 people.
It’s considered critical for patient safety.
“If they absolutely refuse to be vaccinated and don’t have an exemption, then they’ll have to be terminated,” Dr. Brennan said.
At the time Penn Medicine announced its policy in May, about 70% of its staff were fully vaccinated, and the deadline is September 1.MORE NEWS: Company Says Planned Natural Gas Pipeline From Pennsylvania To New Jersey Won't Go Forward
Whether it’s due to stricter policies or the fast-spreading Delta variant, the vaccination rate increased slightly on Wednesday.