With the advance of the delta variant of the coronavirus and the decline in the pace of vaccination against Covid-19, the United States will demand that federal officials be immunized against the disease, which has killed 610,000 in the country. Those who are not vaccinated should wear a mask, keep their distance and get tested regularly.
The announcement was made this Thursday afternoon (29) by the White House, and drew attention because the federal government is the largest employer in the United States. U.S. government human resources agency 2017 data speaks of 1.9 million federal government employees. The number could reach nearly 3.7 million including postal workers and contract workers, according to figures from the Reuters news agency.
The US government expects the requirement to also encourage private companies to require vaccination of their employees. On Wednesday (28), Google had already announced that it would charge proof of vaccination to allow employees to access the company’s offices in the United States.
The US government also wants to pay $ 100 for those who get vaccinated, as another incentive to speed up vaccination in the country, the US Treasury Department said, “a benefit to increase vaccination rates, protect communities and save Lives”. declaration.
The stimulus and obligation for officials comes at a time when the vaccination rate has fallen to levels close to what was recorded in January. After peaking at 4.6 million new doses applied in a single day on April 10, the delivery of new vaccines has steadily declined and today the daily average is around 600,000 doses.
The drop in the pace of vaccinations has thwarted government plans to speed up the return to normalcy. The goal was to vaccinate 70% of the adult population with at least one dose by July 4, the American Independence Day, but as of Thursday, nearly a month after the plan, the proportion was 69.4% of adults vaccinated with at least one dose. dose — and 57.2% of the general population.
Among those who have completed the vaccination cycle, that is, who have taken both doses of the vaccine in cases where it is necessary, the proportion of fully vaccinated adults is 60.3% and 49, 4% considering the general population.
For comparison, in Brazil, the proportion of adults vaccinated with at least one dose is 63.3% and that fully vaccinated is 24.5%.
This difficulty in increasing the number of vaccines in the United States contrasts with the country’s ability to acquire and administer these vaccines. That’s because Americans have less confidence in the vaccine: A February Pew Research Center poll showed 30% of the nation’s population had no intention of getting the vaccine – a proportion that had risen to 49 % in September of the previous year. To give you an idea, in Brazil adhesion to the vaccine is 94%, according to a Datafolha survey, and only 5% say they do not want to be vaccinated.
The decline in the speed of vaccination has become of even greater concern with the advance of the delta variant of the coronavirus in the United States, a more contagious mutation that has quickly become predominant. In April, 0.6% of Covid-19 cases in the country were caused by the delta variant. In July, that number rose to 83.2%, according to data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
The delta variant also raises economic concerns. Government data released on Thursday shows the country’s GDP (gross domestic product) grew 6.5% in the second quarter, less than the 8.5% expected, even as this brings the country’s economy back to levels of before the pandemic. Among the factors listed for weaker-than-expected growth is the resurgence of Covid-19 in parts of the country, in addition to the labor shortage. The Federal Reserve, the US central bank, said that “the trajectory of the economy continues to depend on the evolution of the virus”.
With this scenario, the US government has already changed its plans to resume normal life. The country, which was one of the first to revoke the recommendation for the use of masks for people already vaccinated, in May, announced on Tuesday (27) that the protection should return to being used indoors in high-rise locations. risk.
The directive also works for teachers and kindergarten children regardless of region, and was taken after the agency identified rare infections, in which fully vaccinated people carry the same amount of the virus as those who don’t. have not received the vaccine.
In Washington, the capital, masks will be mandatory indoors even for those who are vaccinated, Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Thursday.