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Half of U.S. adults are now fully vaccinated

Maine, Connecticut and Vermont lead the country in adult vaccinations.
Jennifer Conary receives a Covid-19 vaccination on May 12, in Auburn, Maine.Robert F. Bukaty / AP file

The United States reached another milestone in its Covid-19 vaccination efforts, with half of adults now fully vaccinated, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday.

The milestone comes almost two weeks after CDC officials relaxed social distancing and mask requirements for the 129 million adults now fully vaccinated, laying the groundwork for many states to further ease restrictions.

That number is expected to increase as 61 percent of adults have received at least one dose, and children over the age of 12 are now eligible to receive Pfizer-BioNTech’s Covid-19 shots. Close to half of all Americans have received their first dose of the vaccine.

In December, then President-elect Joe Biden promised 100 million shots in his first 100 days in office. He upped that goal twice, and then exceeded his self-imposed benchmarks with more than 200 million shots during that time period. Earlier this month, Biden announced two new vaccination goals.

The vaccination effort, which began in December under the administration of then-President Donald Trump, was initially kept to elderly or at-risk individuals, as well as health care and essential workers.

As additional vaccines became available and supply increased, eligibility was opened up to every adult in April.

Now, a handful of states have surpassed the halfway mark for adults, including Maine, Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts. But several states, including Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Georgia have vaccinated a little more than one-third of their adult population.

Despite the milestone, the spread of the virus continues in the U.S., with a seven-day average of 23,000 new cases and close to 500 deaths per day.

Meanwhile, India recorded its 300,000th Covid-19 death Monday.