The Biden administration has responded well to the nearly vertical rise in coronavirus-related cases by urging more people to receive their initial doses of vaccine as well as booster shots.
Federal health officials have approved boosters for children aged 12-17 who have received the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. The government also changed the definition of “up to date” Covid vaccination to include boosters.
However, even though the United States has made rapid progress to expand eligibility for boosters and has been able to persuade Covid-fatigued Americans to obtain them, there has been little progress.
About 62 percent of Americans — about 206 million people — are fully vaccinated, according to federal data. C.D.C. however, found that only 35% of Americans have received booster shots since mid-August. A C.D.C. database shows that only 35% of Americans have received boosters since mid-August when additional shots were authorized. This is despite the fact that eligibility has increased significantly.
On Nov. 19, F.D.A. The F.D.A. authorized boosters for anyone 18 years or older who had received two doses each of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines. On Dec. 9, the F.D.A. authorized boosters for 16- and 17 year-olds who have received the Pfizer vaccine.
According to the federal database, those changes led to more Americans receiving boosters. However, that trend has since slowed down.
The pace of all vaccines increased after the Omicron variation was discovered in late November. But it reached its peak in early December before it slowed down again. (Reporting lags around the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays have affected the daily numbers throughout this period.)
Omicron, a highly transmissible virus, has proven to be more effective at evading vaccinations than other varieties. However, scientists believe booster shots can offer significant protection, especially against severe illness.
The average number of cases in the United States is staggeringly 585,000 per day. This is a record and 247 percent more than two weeks ago. Hospitalizations are increasing more slowly, up 53 per cent in the past two week, and a lower percentage of patients are landing at intensive care units or needing mechanical ventilation compared to previous waves. Deaths have fallen by 3 percent.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention went even further in encouraging booster shots on Wednesday, when health officials recommended that to remain up to date, people should get three doses of Pfizer’s or Moderna’s vaccines. The agency also recommended that recipients of Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose vaccine receive a second dose, preferably of Moderna’s or Pfizer’s.
“There really isn’t debate here in what people should do,” the C.D.C.’s director, Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, said in an interview on Tuesday. “If they’re eligible for a boost, they should get boosted.”
However, the expansion of eligibility for booster shots is not being met with equal demand. Dr. Rebekah E.gee, the former Louisiana health secretary, attributed the resistance to boosters for pandemic fatigue.
Referring to the pandemic’s many problems, Dr. Gee said some people simply “don’t want this to be there” and are trying to “will it out of existence.”
Source: NY Times