Despite the U.S.’s improved coronavirus vaccination efforts, not enough people are vaccinated at this point to hold off a potential fourth surge of infections in the coming weeks, health experts say.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Monday only about 18.5% of Americans are fully vaccinated.

“I do think we still have a few more rough weeks ahead,” Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious diseases specialist and epidemiologist, told CNN. “What we know from the past year of the pandemic is that we tend to trend about three to four weeks behind Europe in terms of our pandemic patterns.”

A coronavirus variant first discovered in the U.K. has caused a recent surge of cases in Europe and could ravage the U.S. as well if preventative measures get lax before enough people are vaccinated, officials warn.

“We have to think about the B.1.1.7 variant as almost a brand-new virus,” said Dr. Pete Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, CNN reported. “It’s acting differently from anything we’ve seen before, in terms of transmissibility, in terms of affecting young people, so we have to take this very seriously.”

As of Monday, the U.S. has administered roughly 165 million of its 207 million available vaccine doses, with more than 61 million people fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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