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The Data Point: America’s Covid-19 immunity is waning

About 60 percent of the population is heading into the winter months with reduced protection against the  coronavirus, CDC data shows.
Oklahoma County Health Department Pediatric Vaccine Clinic
A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at an Oklahoma County Health Department Vaccine Clinic in Oklahoma City, on Nov. 17, 2021.Nick Oxford / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Only 40 percent of Americans are at their strongest immunity level against Covid-19,  even as health officials warn that waning immunity among vaccinated people is leading to a rise in hospitalizations.  

While about 6 in 10 Americans are fully vaccinated, more than half received their last shot more than six months ago, the threshold currently recommended for those getting a Moderna or a Pfizer booster. When combined with the 100 million unvaccinated people, about 60 percent of the population is heading into the winter months with reduced protection against the coronavirus.

Health experts say that those who were vaccinated early in the year are likely to have waning immunity. 

“What we’re starting to see now is an uptick in hospitalizations among people who’ve been vaccinated but not boosted,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday in an NBC News interview

Nearly 10 percent of the country, or 31 million people have received a booster shot, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration authorized Moderna and Pfizer boosters for all adults. Combined with those eligible for a Johnson and Johnson booster, about 96 million people — or 29 percent of the total U.S. population — would be eligible, according to an NBC News analysis of CDC data.

Children ages 5 to 11 started receiving vaccinations this month, and at a briefing Wednesday, the White House announced that 2.6 million, or 10 percent, of kids have received their first dose.