Experts: Numbers on Updated COVID Shots Are 'Abysmal'

Per CDC, only 7% of adults, 2% of children have received most recent coronavirus vaccine
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 27, 2023 12:26 PM CDT
Experts: Numbers on Updated COVID Shots Are 'Abysmal'
A Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is seen at a drugstore in Cypress, Texas, on Sept. 20.   (Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle via AP, File)

A month after federal officials recommended new versions of COVID-19 vaccines, 7% of US adults and 2% of children have gotten a shot. One expert called the rates "abysmal," per the AP. The numbers, presented Thursday at a meeting held by the CDC, come from a national survey of thousands of Americans, conducted two weeks ago. The data also indicated that nearly 40% of adults said they probably or definitely won't get the shot. A similar percentage of parents said they didn't plan to vaccinate their children. In the late summer, government health officials made the nation's COVID-19 vaccination campaign more like the annual flu campaign.

Officials approved updated shots that have a single target, an omicron descendant named XBB.1.5. They replaced vaccines that targeted the original coronavirus strain and a much earlier omicron version. Last month, the CDC recommended the new shots for everyone 6 months and older. The government also transitioned to a commercialized system that relied on the health care industry—not the government—to handle the distribution of the shots. Many people who immediately went for shots said pharmacies or doctors didn't have them.

Americans have been urged to get different iterations of the vaccines for more than two years. This year, COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations fell to lower levels than seen in the previous three years. Cases remain low compared with the pandemic's early months. Even so, health officials say about 18,000 hospitalizations and 1,200 deaths are still being reported each week. One expert at the meeting, Dr. Camille Kotton of Harvard Medical School, called the numbers "abysmal" and said part of the problem may be patient confusion. She urged stepped-up public education efforts. Dr. David Kimberlin, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, also expressed dismay. "The recommendations are not being heard," he said.

(More coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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