More than one-third of eligible seniors have received boosters, White House says
More than one-third of seniors who are eligible to get a third Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 shot have received a booster dose, the White House said on Wednesday.
About three weeks after a third dose was authorized for certain Pfizer recipients, including those aged 65 and older, White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said 7 million people by the end of Wednesday will have gotten their booster shot.
Approximately 3 million of these Americans received their third dose in the last week.
“Our program is off to a very strong start and continues to accelerate,” Zients said during a briefing, noting the Biden administration is preparing for the potential authorization of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters.
“We have the vaccine supply, and we will be ready to hit the ground running as soon as any additional boosters are authorized,” he added.
Advisory panels for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have scheduled meetings to discuss data supporting Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters.
The FDA’s advisory committee will meet Thursday and Friday, while the CDC’s panel is scheduled to meet next week.
“All of these layers of review, the thousands of pages of data, the expert committees, and the fact that this is open to the public, they should all bolster our confidence that we have a rigorous, independent and transparent review process for vaccines in our country,” Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said during Wednesday’s briefing.
Currently, those vaccinated with Pfizer are eligible for a third dose if they are aged 65 and older, live in long-term care facilities or are adults with underlying health conditions or considered at increased risk for COVID-19 “because of occupational or institutional setting.”
While millions have now gotten their boosters, about 66 million eligible Americans remain unvaccinated. The Biden administration has pursued vaccine requirements to boost the national rate, and Zients said more than 3,500 organizations have instituted mandates, increasing rates by “20-plus percentage points.”