In the first month that it has been available, about 5% of the U.S. population has gotten an updated COVID-19 vaccine, data from Health and Human Services released on Thursday indicates.
According to an HHS official, nearly 14 million vaccines have been distributed to pharmacies throughout the U.S. Of those, 7 million shots have been administered.
“COVID-19 vaccine distribution, which has shifted to the private market, is a lot different than it was last year when the government was distributing them. The Biden-Harris Administration, through HHS, has been working directly with manufacturers and distributors to ensure that the vaccines are getting to pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, pediatricians, and other vaccination sites, including long-term care facilities," an HHS spokesperson said.
The updated vaccines are being made by Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech and are intended to target more recent variants of the virus.
Last year's bivalent COVID-19 booster is no longer authorized in the U.S., the FDA said.
The updated mRNA vaccines are approved for individuals 12 years of age and older and are authorized under emergency use for individuals 6 months through 11 years of age.
Data indicates there is waning interest in staying up-to-date on COVID-19 shots, despite recommendations from leading health officials.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just 17% of the U.S. population got an updated booster from September 2022 through May 2023. By comparison, 69.5% of the population was considered fully vaccinated with the original vaccine.
While 79.1% of the adult population got the primary series of COVID-19 shots, just 20.5% of adults went back for a booster.
Unlike last year's booster shot, which required previous vaccination against COVID-19, the updated shots this year are available to everyone, regardless of whether they have been previously vaccinated.
The Food and Drug Administration has said it is confident that the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine outweigh the risks.
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