One month after the rollout, less than 4% of eligible persons have received updated Covid booster shots

According to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday, at least 7.6 Million people have received the updated Covid booster since September. This number is approximately 3.6% of all people eligible for shots in the U.S.

According to the CDC, this data is unlikely to include those who have received Pfizer-BioNTech boosters updated in Idaho or Texas.

On Sept. 1, the CDC approved updated versions of Moderna’s and Pfizer’s booster shots. The new shots were then administered by pharmacies and other sites around Labor Day weekend. Bivalent shots are designed to target both the original coronavirus strain as well as the current circulating subvariants of omicron, BA.4 or BA.5.

Dr. Scott Roberts, an infectious disease specialist at Yale Medicine, stated that the low booster uptake was “demoralizing.”

He said, “I would expect a higher proportion of Americans have gotten the booster at this point.”

Roberts stated that vaccine distribution was hindered by a lack of public awareness or the belief that the pandemic is over.

He said, “The fact that the booster was released days before Biden declared the pandemic over is a mixed message.” “It’s going to prove harder to convince those at high risk to get a booster.

However, the U.S. has experienced an increase in Covid shots demand since the booster rollout. The U.S. currently administers around 356,000 Covid vaccine doses per week. This is more than three times the amount administered at the beginning of each month.

The U.S. has shipped over 25 million booster doses of bivalent vaccines to thousands of sites as of last week. Most people live within five miles of sites offering updated vaccines.

The CDC recommends that anyone over 12 receive an updated booster as long as two months have passed since the last Covid shot. The CDC recommends that people who have recently been diagnosed with Covid wait until their acute illness has resolved. Those who are already suffering from symptoms should not delay getting their boosters.

Moderna and Pfizer can be mixed and matched, but Pfizer’s latest booster is only available to those 12 years old and over. Moderna’s vaccine is only available to those 18 and older.

Some pharmacies reported shortages in Moderna’s updated booster this month. CVS stated on Friday that it has been receiving additional Moderna doses and will continue to do so in the coming days and weeks. Walgreens stated that the availability of Moderna doses is dependent on where you live.

Nearly 80% have received at least one shot of the primary Covid vaccine. Nearly 68% are considered fully vaccinated according to the CDC. This means they’ve had either one dose or two shots of Pfizer, Moderna, or Novavax, which were authorized in July.

Officials from the Biden administration have cited the new boosters as an important step in pushing the U.S. to end the pandemic.

Ashish Jha, White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator, stated that “For the first time since December 2020, these vaccines (our vaccines) have caught up to the virus.” He spoke at a briefing earlier in the month.

Jha stated that the shots would provide greater protection against infection transmission and more long-lasting protection against severe illness than earlier Covid vaccines.

Experts are still collecting real-world data since shots were not tested on humans. Laboratory studies showed that boosters produced strong antibodies against BA.4 & BA.5, while human trial data indicated that a similar vaccine generated a strong immune response against the original omicron strain, B.1.

The approval of bivalent boosters for children aged 5-11 may be within weeks, Dr. Peter Marks of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research said this week at an event with the Covid-19 Vaccine Education and Equity Project.

Officials in public health expect another Covid wave to hit around Thanksgiving. Flu season tends to peak in October so the CDC suggests that the flu shots and updated Covid boosters can be combined.

Roberts stated that if the rate of booster vaccinations does not pick up, the U.S. might see an increase in deaths, hospitalizations, and cases.

He said, “Many people are certain to require a boost and this comes at an important time.” “We are entering the winter season when we expect cases will go up. High levels of the virus are still being found in many areas across the country.

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