Millions of Americans rolled up their sleeves after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized COVID-19 vaccine booster shots.
Third shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were given emergency use authorization on September 22 for those aged 65 or older, or 18 and older who are high risk of severe complications from the virus due to underlying conditions or their jobs.
Between September 22 and September 29, the White House reported that almost two million people received boosters.
The shots were in high demand after the White House announced plans to roll out boosters by September 20, though regulatory barriers prevented the shots from becoming available until a few days later.
Almost two million Americans received Covid boosters last week, according to the White House. More than five million boosters have been distributed overall with a majority going to people over the age of 65. Pictured: an elderly woman in London, England, receives a shot of the Pfizer Covid vaccine on March 10
Jeff Zients, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, announced the marker during a news briefing on Friday.
‘As we vaccinate the unvaccinated, we’re also enhancing protection for vaccinated Americans through booster shots,’ he said.
‘We estimate that by day’s end, almost two million Americans will have rolled up their sleeves and gotten a booster shot. Nearly two million booster shots in the first week.’
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 1.6 million Americans received the first dose of a Covid vaccine series between September 25 and October 1.
This means that the rate of Americans receiving booster shots is outpacing the amount of people getting vaccinated for the first time.
The White House planned to make the booster shots available to all Americans starting on September 20, eight months after receiving their second shot.
Many health experts and officials opposed the move, though, instead wanting the government to focus on getting unvaccinated people around the world jabbed in order to prevent the development of new virus variants.
As a compromise of some sorts, the FDA and the CDC declined to authorize the shots for all Americans, and instead only for those deemed to be at most risk from the virus.
The CDC reports that more than 5.2 million booster shots have been administered in the United States, as of Monday morning.
More than half, 3.3 million, of those boosters have been given to someone over the age of 65, per government data.
Some of these shots came before the boosters’ authorization, because officials made the third shot available to some immunocompromised people at the end of August.
Many are also unauthorized shots being distributed by health care providers.
The Pfizer booster shot has been administered 3.9 million times, and 1.3 million booster shots of the Moderna vaccine have been distributed as well.
Across the U.S., 65 percent of Americans have received at least one dose of a Covid vaccine – which is available to everyone 12 years or older.
Nearly 56 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated.
The CDC has not yet changed the definition of fully vaccinated and those who have completed a vaccine series – no matter their eligibility for an extra shot – are considered to be completely immunized.
New cases of the virus are beginning to decline again, with the U.S. now recording around 100,000 infections per day, a 50 percent drop from the 150,000 per day being recorded in mid-September.
Source: Health & wellbeing | The Guardian