Craig Moore of Sumner gets a bandage after his first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from Everett Flannery, a paramedic with Redington-Fairview EMS, at the Skowhegan State Fair on Aug. 20, 2021. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

More than 80 percent of American adults have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and seven in 10 are fully vaccinated, White House officials said.

White House coronavirus task force chief Dr. Jeff Zients said on Monday that the statistical benchmarks show the U.S. is making significant progress fighting the pandemic, especially as the country awaits final approval of the shots for children aged 5 to 11.

“These are important milestones,” Zients said. “We know vaccines are the very best tool we have to accelerating our path out of the pandemic.”

Zients said the numbers reflect the success of vaccine mandates in pushing Americans to get their lifesaving shots as COVID-19 caseloads, hospitalizations and deaths continue to ebb.

The next major vaccination effort is expected to focus on younger children, who may get the green light for vaccines as soon as Wednesday or Thursday.

The Food and Drug Administration has already approved kid-sized doses of the Pfizer vaccine for children 5 to 11 and the Centers for Disease Control is expected to give final approval this week.

Federal officials have been preparing to ship millions of vaccine doses to a network of 20,000 pediatricians, drug stores and community health centers within hours of getting the go-ahead.

“Bottom line: we’ve been planning and preparing for this moment,” Zients said. “We are ready to execute pending CDC’s decision.”

Dave Goldiner, New York Daily News