FRIDAY, Sept. 23, 2022 (HealthDay News) — At least 4.4 million Americans have received the updated COVID-19 booster shot. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted the count Thursday as public health experts decried President Joe Biden’s televised claim that “the pandemic is over.”
The White House estimates that more than 5 million people have actually received the reformulated booster, accounting for lags in state reporting, according to the Associated Press.
Public health officials expect demand for the new booster to surge in the next few weeks.
“We’ve been thinking and talking about this as an annual vaccine like the flu vaccine,” said White House COVID-19 Coordinator Ashish Jha, M.D., the AP reported. “Flu vaccine season picks up in late September and early October. We’re just getting our education campaign going. So we expect to see, despite the fact that this was a strong start, we actually expect this to ramp up stronger.”
While some Americans rolled up their sleeves as soon as the new boosters were available, others are waiting because they recently had COVID-19 or received a booster in later summer. That is in line with public health advice. Others may be timing shots to be closer to holiday gatherings and winter months. Still others may be hoping to choose the Moderna booster over the Pfizer shot. Both companies created bivalent vaccines that target both the original COVID-19 strain and recent omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5.
The United States has ordered 171 million doses of the new boosters for Americans, the AP reported. It is too early to say whether demand will match that.
Earlier boosters did not have the uptake public health experts hoped to see. According to the AP, Anthony Fauci, M.D., the president’s chief medical adviser, told a panel of biodefense experts that he is concerned that half of vaccinated Americans have never gotten a booster. “We have a vulnerability in our population that will continue to have us in a mode of potential disruption of our social order,” he said. “I think that we have to do better as a nation.”
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