Patients wait to receive a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot at a mobile vaccination station on 59th Street below Central Park on Dec 2, 2021, in New York. (JOHN MINCHILLO / AP)
WASHINGTON / MOSCOW – The White House expects the rate of vaccination in its fall booster campaign to pick up over the coming weeks, and its COVID response coordinator Ashish Jha on Friday characterized the initial pace as "a really good start."
The United States in September started rolling out the updated COVID-19 shots, redesigned to take on both the currently circulating BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants as well as the original version of the virus targeted by all previous COVID vaccines and boosters. The so-called bivalent boosters are available to anyone aged 12 and older.
Jha estimated that between 13 million and 15 million Americans will have gotten the so-called bivalent booster by the end of this week.
Around 11.5 million people received the updated shots over the first five weeks of the rollout, including around 3.9 million who received them over the past week, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data released on Thursday
"We think that's a really good start. Also, let me be very clear, we need to continue and up that pace as we get into October," Jha said.
Around 11.5 million people received the updated shots over the first five weeks of the rollout, including around 3.9 million who received them over the past week, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data released on Thursday.
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That represents only 5.3 peercent of the 216 million people aged 12 or older who may be eligible to receive the shots after completing their primary vaccination series.
This year's booster campaign has not kept pace with 2021, when the United States initially authorized COVID-19 boosters just for older and immunocompromised people. Nearly 17 million people received their third shot in the first five weeks of that vaccination campaign, according to CDC data.
President Joe Biden's administration hopes to drive up US booster usage by working with medical societies nationwide and targeting areas with low vaccine confidence through a media campaign, Jha said.
People wait to undergo a free rapid antigen test for the coronavirus disease at a testing center in the GUM, State Department store in Moscow on Jan 31, 2022. (NATALIA KOLESNIKOVA / AFP)
Russia has registered 20,571 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 21,184,513, the official monitoring and response center said Saturday.
The nationwide death toll increased by 106 to 388,097, while the number of recoveries grew by 38,289 to 20,385,431, the center said.
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Meanwhile, Moscow reported 1,553 new cases, taking its total to 3,210,595.