As of the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 2% of Americans have received the updated COVID-19 vaccine.
This newly developed vaccine, designed to offer increased protection against current coronavirus variants, received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on September 11, 2023. It was granted to BioNTech Manufacturing GmbH for Comirnaty and to ModernaTX Inc. for Spikevax.
President Joe Biden echoed this sentiment, urging all Americans to ensure they are up-to-date with their vaccinations. The CDC emphasized the importance of getting the updated vaccine, particularly for those who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine in the past two months, as it offers crucial protection in the approaching fall and winter seasons.
Despite these concerted efforts by the government, only approximately 2% of the U.S. population has opted for the new booster vaccine. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, this accounts for roughly 7 million Americans.
In comparison, when the previous bivalent COVID-19 booster was available last year, over 18 million people had received a dose by mid-October 2022, representing about 17% of the population by May 2023.
The current vaccination rates for the booster shots are significantly lower compared to earlier iterations of the mRNA vaccine tailored for COVID. For example, over 92% of U.S. adults received the initial COVID vaccine in December 2020.
However, this figure dropped to 79% for the second mRNA vaccine, and only 20% received the bivalent COVID booster. The distribution of COVID-19 vaccines has shifted towards the private market, with the government working closely with manufacturers and distributors to ensure accessibility through pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, and other vaccination sites.
While there has been a shift to private distribution, the HHS emphasized that pharmacies and other locations have already received nearly 14 million vaccines. Additionally, they noted that 91% of Americans aged 12 and older can access the vaccine within a 5-mile radius of their residence. Most Americans can obtain the COVID-19 vaccine at no cost through their health insurance, local health centers, and participating pharmacies in the CDC’s Bridge Access Program.
In related news, Pfizer announced significant cost-cutting measures of $3.5 billion due to declining profits from COVID-19 products, anticipating lower revenues for 2023 compared to earlier projections. This includes an enterprise-wide cost realignment program expected to save the pharmaceutical giant at least $3.5 billion over the next two years.