Only 1 in 10 of all Americans have had their COVID booster vaccine as new cases of the virus continue to rise nationally and look set to continue to soar after the Thanksgiving holiday break.
On November 19, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) gave all adults the green light to get a booster shot six months after their second dose of an mRNA vaccine, or two months after getting Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine. Later that day, the U.S. offered booster shots to all adults and encouraged people over 50 to get a booster.
On Tuesday, the U.S. recorded 100,636 new cases of COVID-19, according to the CDC. National daily cases have been rising since October 24, the data shows, when only 23,596 cases were reported. In the past two weeks, the seven-day daily average of new cases increased nearly 30 percent, according to CDC figures.
The United States has administered 11.13 booster doses per 100 people, or just over 1 in 10 Americans, according to Our Word in Data on Thursday morning. That amounts to some 37.5 million people, according to the CDC. 196.2 million Americans have had two mRNA vaccine shots or one shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and are considered to be fully vaccinated.
Many countries, including Israel, Chile, Uruguay, the UAE and the United Kingdom— have given a higher proportion of their population booster shots. Israel is leading the pack, having given 43.66 in 100 of its people the boosters, according to Our World In Data. British overseas territory Gibraltar has given 46.54 doses per 100 people the booster shot, the website says.
Sixty nine percent of all Americans aged 12 and older have had two shots of the vaccine, according to the CDC.
A study by the U.K. Health Security Agency shows that boosters significantly increase protection against illness from COVID-19. It found that two weeks after a booster shot, protection levels increased to 93.1 percent for those who had AstraZeneca for their first two doses and 94 percent for those who had Pfizer.
On Tuesday, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a White House briefing that people have had fewer reactions to booster shots than their second doses of mRNA vaccines Pfizer and Moderna. If side effects are experienced, they are most likely to be pain in the injected arm, tiredness, muscle pain, headache, fever, as well as chills and nausea. Less common side effects include nausea and swollen or sore lymph nodes. The side effects tend to disappear within three days at most.
That same day, Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor, said the vast majority of Americans who have been vaccinated should receive a booster shot, and that an additional dose could eventually become the country’s standard for determining who is fully vaccinated.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) predicted millions of people would travel to be with family for Thanksgiving this week, despite the soaring COVID-19 infections across the country.
AAA predicts that 48.3 million people, 4 million more than last year, will travel at least 50 miles from their home for the celebration, The Associated Press reported.
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