COVID-19 Booster Shots Now Surpassing Initial Vaccine Doses

Carolyn Crist

October 08, 2021

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

The number of Americans receiving booster shots is now outpacing those receiving their first or second initial vaccine doses.

The jump in booster shots during the past week has led to a modest increase in COVID-19 vaccinations in October, NBC News reported.

From Sept. 30 to Oct. 6, about 6.7 million total shots were administered, according to CDC data. Among those, about 2.7 million were booster shots, 2 million were second doses, and 2 million were first doses.

Nearly 400,000 people are getting a booster shot each day. About 288,000 people are starting their vaccination series each day, and about 276,000 people are becoming fully vaccinated each day.

As of Thursday, about 6.76 million booster shots had been given, the CDC reported. More than 4.3 million have gone to adults over age 65 years, and 2.4 million have gone to adults between ages 18 and 64.

An estimated 5 million boosters have been administered since the FDA authorized the Pfizer/BioNTech booster about 2 weeks ago for those ages 65 and older and high-risk adults, the CDC reported. What's more, about 1.4 million Moderna doses have been given since the FDA authorization in August allowed those with compromised immune systems to get an extra shot.

Johnson & Johnson filed for FDA authorization of a booster on Tuesday. Vaccine advisory committees for the FDA and CDC will meet next week to discuss boosters for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

More than 216 million Americans have received at least one vaccine dose, and 186 million are fully vaccinated. That means about 76% of the eligible population over age 12 has received at least one dose, while 66% of the eligible population is fully vaccinated.

On Thursday, Pfizer asked the FDA for emergency authorization of its two-dose COVID-19 vaccine for ages 5-11. An FDA advisory committee will meet to discuss the shot for kids on Oct. 26.

It's not clear when the lower-dose shots will become available for children, though a ruling is expected by late November, The Associated Press reported.

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