Expanded eligibility boosts COVID-19 booster shots in US ahead of holidays By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Vials labeled “Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccine Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer-Biotech” are shown in this illustrative photo taken on May 2, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Rovich

Written by Michael Erman and Ahmed Abul-Enein

(Reuters) – Millions of Americans received booster doses of COVID-19 at nearly a record pace after the Biden administration expanded eligibility last week, but health officials concerned about a surge in infections ahead of the winter holiday season urged more for additional protection.

About 37.5 million people received a booster dose in the United States as of Tuesday, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“I think it’s a good start,” said Dr. William Schaffner, a leading infectious disease expert from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, adding that he believes boosters are more important for personal protection than limiting the spread of the virus.

“Hopefully it’s a lot better. I’d like to see it all multiply really, really quickly,” he said of booster absorption.

US regulators have expanded eligibility for the booster vaccines for all adults, allowing millions of Americans to get additional protection amid the recent surge in infections, including among those fully vaccinated.

Previously, people 65 and older who had a high risk of infection due to underlying health or employment conditions were eligible for additional shots.

Just over six million people got an extra dose of one of the three approved COVID-19 vaccines last week, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows, the highest weekly total since the boosters were first approved, and a more than 15% increase on the week. the previous.

More than 130 million fully vaccinated adults in the United States are now eligible for the injection, at least six months after the second dose of Pfizer/BioNTech or modern (NASDAQ:) or two months after receiving a single-dose Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:) vaccine.

More than a quarter of those qualified now have obtained reinforcements. Some experts felt that prior eligibility requirements for the booster shots were too complex and might discourage them from obtaining them, or that prior evidence for the booster shots was lacking.

“There’s a much better rationale for boosters now than there was when the White House first pitched the idea (in August). They’ve created some mixed messages,” said Dr. William Moss, executive director of the International Center for Access to Vaccines at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg. College of Public Health. “We are in a better place now.”

decreased immunity

Public officials, including CDC Director Rochelle Wallinsky and infection expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, have for weeks been urging more Americans to opt for extra protection as they prepare to travel and gather with friends and family over Thanksgiving in the USA this week.

After about two months of declining infections, the US has reported daily increases over the past two weeks, driven by the type of virus that moves more easily from Delta and people spend more time indoors because of the colder weather.

“We would like to increase the number of people who were originally vaccinated with the first treatment regimen,” Fauci said, https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharm Pharmaceuticals/fauci-says-vast-majority-vaccinated-americans-should- get-covid-19-booster-2021-11-23 on Tuesday in an interview for the upcoming Reuters Conference.

He said the “vast majority” of fully vaccinated Americans should now receive a booster dose of COVID-19 based on data showing that they provide “substantial” protection beyond what was seen from the original vaccination.

Regulators supported the additional doses due to concerns about data showing that immunity from the first shots wanes over time. Studies have shown that booster doses generate higher neutralizing antibody levels on average than initial vaccinations, and data from Pfizer (NYSE: 🙂 It is suggested that they can significantly reduce infection.

Some scientists believe that boosters are not necessary for many healthy adults, arguing that vaccinating the unvaccinated should be the priority.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has advised countries not to make boosters available until more people around the world receive their initial doses.

But the World Health Organization’s regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, urged Europeans on Tuesday to get booster doses if they are introduced in the face of the rising cases. The World Health Organization said there could be another 700,000 deaths by March if action is not taken.

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