Less than 2% of U.S. adults have gotten updated Covid booster shots


Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  2 months ago  •  26 comments

By:   Aria Bendix

Less than 2% of U.S. adults have gotten updated Covid booster shots
At least 4.4 million people have received an updated Covid booster shot since the start of September.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

At least 4.4 million people have received an updated Covid booster since the start of the month, according to data released Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That number represents around 1.5% of people currently eligible to receive the shots in the U.S.

The data does not include people who received updated Pfizer-BioNTech boosters in Idaho and Texas, the CDC said, so it is likely an underestimate. The White House estimates the number to be closer to 5 million doses of the new booster, The Associated Press reported.

The CDC signed off on updated versions of Pfizer's and Moderna's booster shots on Sept. 1, and pharmacies and other vaccination sites began administering the new shots around Labor Day weekend. The bivalent shots target both the original coronavirus strain and the currently circulating omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5.

Dr. Scott Roberts, a Yale Medicine infectious disease specialist, said the relatively low booster uptake was "demoralizing."

"I would expect a much higher proportion of Americans to have gotten the booster by this point," he said.

Roberts said a lack of public awareness about the shots or the prevailing narrative that the pandemic is ending might have hindered the vaccine rollout.

"The fact that this booster came out days before Biden said the pandemic is over is a huge mixed message," he said. "Now it's going to be that much harder to convince those at risk who are on the fence to get a booster."

Still, the U.S. has seen an uptick in overall demand for Covid shots since the booster rollout began: The U.S. is currently administering around 314,000 Covid vaccine doses per day, as a weekly average. That's nearly triple the number from the start of the month.

As of Tuesday, the U.S. had shipped more than 25 million bivalent booster doses to tens of thousands of sites. The vast majority of the population now lives within 5 miles of a site offering the updated vaccines.

The CDC recommends that everyone over 12 get an updated booster, as long as at least two months have passed since their last Covid shot. People who recently got Covid should wait at least until their acute illness is over, and the CDC says they can consider delaying their boosters until three months after their symptoms started or since they first tested positive.

People can mix and match vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, but Pfizer's updated booster is available to people ages 12 and up while Moderna's is limited to ages 18 and up.

Some pharmacies reported shortages of Moderna's updated booster earlier this week. But CVS said Thursday it has started to receive additional Moderna doses and expects more over the coming days and weeks. Walgreens said the availability of Moderna doses varies by location.

Nearly 80% of the U.S. population has received at least one shot of a primary Covid vaccine, and nearly 68% is considered fully vaccinated by the CDC, meaning they've gotten either one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or two shots of Pfizer's, Moderna's or Novavax's, which was authorized in July.

Biden administration officials have pointed to the updated boosters, however, as a critical step to pushing the U.S. out of the pandemic.

"For the first time since December of 2020, these vaccines, our vaccines, have caught up with the virus," White House Covid-19 Response Coordinator Ashish Jha said at a briefing earlier this month.

Jha said the shots should provide better protection against infection and transmission, as well as more lasting protection against severe illness, compared to earlier Covid vaccines.

But experts are still gathering real-world data, since the shots were distributed without results from human trials. Laboratory studies found that the boosters generated strong antibody responses against BA.4 and BA.5, and human trial data showed that a similar vaccine yielded a strong antibody response against the initial omicron strain, BA.1.

Authorization of the bivalent boosters for children ages 5 to 11 may be just weeks away, Dr. Peter Marks, director of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said at an event this week with the Covid-19 Vaccine Education and Equity Project.

Public health officials expect to see another Covid wave around Thanksgiving, and flu season tends to pick up in October, so the CDC says the updated Covid boosters and flu shots can be given together.

If the pace of booster vaccinations doesn't pick up, Roberts said, the U.S. could see an increase in cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

"Many people are certainly due for a booster and this comes at a critical time," he said. "We're going into the winter season when we expect cases to go up. Many areas around the country right now are continuing to have high levels of circulating virus."

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed.


jrDiscussion - desc
Junior Quiet
1  squiggy    2 months ago

"The fact that this booster came out days before Biden said the pandemic is over is a huge mixed message," he said. "Now it's going to be that much harder to convince those at risk who are on the fence to get a booster."


Professor Quiet
1.1  cjcold  replied to  squiggy @1    2 months ago

Haven't yet but likely will.

Professor Principal
2  Kavika     2 months ago

Got mine yesterday and my wife is scheduled for 11am today.

The only side effect is soreness in the area of the shot.

Professor Principal
2.1  devangelical  replied to  Kavika @2    2 months ago

I get mine in 2 weeks.

Junior Quiet
3  squiggy    2 months ago

I ended up with Covid four weeks after my second booster. It was easier than any flu I've ever had - no loss of anything. It made the sore arms worthwhile.

Professor Principal
3.1  TᵢG  replied to  squiggy @3    2 months ago
It was easier than any flu I've ever had - no loss of anything.

Do you attribute that to COVID-19 itself being no big deal or due to your immune system being in a state ready to combat the virus?

Junior Quiet
3.1.1  squiggy  replied to  TᵢG @3.1    2 months ago

Both. Efficacy wanes over time. Also, my wife brought it home from a Barry Manilow concert - the anecdotal significance being it was likely the weaker, more transmissible variant passed along by vaccinated, boosted, no-mask old farts.

Professor Principal
3.1.2  TᵢG  replied to  squiggy @3.1.1    2 months ago

Would you recommend people be vaccinated or simply chance getting COVID-19 because it is no big deal.

Greg Jones
Professor Guide
3.1.3  Greg Jones  replied to  TᵢG @3.1.2    2 months ago

He never said Covid was "no big deal". I took his words to mean his infection was mild.

Junior Quiet
3.1.4  squiggy  replied to  TᵢG @3.1.2    2 months ago

I gambled and happened to win. I waited until I thought Covid was nearing my circle until I got the second booster. My interim will be up soon and I'll likely try to beat the clock again with the latest, more targeted bruiser - I'd rather have peak immunity concurrent with exposure.

My disease course was much easier than my wife's, who's had one booster. She lost taste/smell. I never did skip my eight-mile bike ride but in fairness, my heart rate, (exercising) was 16% higher within 24 hours of the shot yet normal during the course of symptoms.

Get vaccinated - because that asshole in Walmart who just coughed in your space didn't.

Professor Principal
3.1.6  TᵢG  replied to  squiggy @3.1.4    2 months ago
Get vaccinated ...

I agree.

Professor Principal
3.1.10  JBB  replied to  squiggy @3.1.1    2 months ago

A guy from my hometown who was among the very first to get COVID and who had fairly easily recovered from it the first time just died from his second bout with Covid. All along he told people not to get vaccinated because Covid was, "Just a bad cold".

Greg Jones
Professor Guide
3.1.13  Greg Jones  replied to    2 months ago


Freshman Participates
3.1.14  George  replied to  Greg Jones @3.1.13    2 months ago


Professor Principal
4  Nerm_L    2 months ago

Where I live, the first bivalent booster clinic was announced earlier this week.  The roll-out seems to have slowed.  The number hours the clinic is being operated has been reduced to two hours.  And it looks like the number clinics has been reduced from once a week to once a month.  The bivalent booster isn't as readily available unless obtained from a private provider.

Seems like the pandemic is being privatized.  IMO that will adversely affect uptake of the bivalent booster.


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