Seventy-seven percent of eligible Americans had received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine as of Wednesday, White House officials said, crediting the success of the mass inoculation drive to the growing number of vaccine mandates being put in place across the country.

Aiden Arthurs receives the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 Vaccine from Pharmacist Andrew Mac at the Jewish … [+] Federation/JARC’s offices in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, on May 13, 2021.
AFP via Getty Images

More than 3,500 organizations nationwide have mandated coronavirus vaccines, White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients told reporters Wednesday, including healthcare systems, schools, universities, state and local governments and private businesses.

President Joe Biden first floated the notion of federal vaccine mandates in July, when he encouraged local businesses and government agencies to require them for employees — since then, the number of eligible Americans who are unvaccinated has plummeted by about one-third, from 97 million to 66 million, Zients said.

Vaccine mandates have helped contribute to a more than 20-point jump in the national vaccination rate, Zients said, as well as a slump in new coronavirus infections and deaths.

The weekly average for new daily coronavirus infections is down 12% from the previous week, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during the same press conference, while weekly average deaths are down 5%.

According to the CDC, 187.7 million Americans have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus, representing about 56.5% of the population. On Friday, the U.S. had administered 400 million doses. While areas with mandates in place have observed vaccination rates rise, some states have banned innoculation requirements and “vaccine passports.” Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott signed an executive order Monday that bars any entity in the state from requiring coronavirus vaccines, a sweeping move that even applies to private businesses. On Tuesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration said it would fine Leon County, which surrounds Tallahassee, $3.57 million after the local government asked employees to provide proof of vaccination. The state says the action violated the Florida ban on vaccine passports.

Read More