Booster campaign starts off strong as U.S. heads into the holidays

Since booster shots were authorized for all adults Friday, 3 million people in the U.S. have gotten additional doses.

Irene Michel gives Jaime Sores, 70, Covid-19 booster shot Wednesday in El Monte, Calif.Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

As many as 3 million in the U.S. got Covid-19 vaccine booster shots in the last three days, the White House said Monday. 

Booster shots were authorized for all adults Friday, and by Sunday, 1 million people had received additional doses each day, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus response, Jeff Zients, said at briefing Monday. At least 36 million people have gotten boosters since the shots were first authorized in September.

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Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, signed off on the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna booster shots for all adults in the U.S. last week.

More than 135 million people are now eligible for booster shots, officials said Monday. People are eligible six months after they finish their initial vaccination series with the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccines or two months after they get the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

Biden administration officials have said they hope boosting the U.S. population will ensure long-term and durable protection against severe disease, hospitalization and death as the fast-moving delta variant of the coronavirus continues to spread and more people head indoors in the colder weather.

Walensky urged more people Monday to get the additional dose, noting that cases and hospitalizations have been on the rise over the past few weeks.

The seven-day average is at about 92,800 Covid cases a day, up by 18 percent, she said. The seven-day average of hospital admissions is up by 6 percent, at about 5,600 a day. 

“With plans for increased holiday season travel and gathering, boosting people’s overall protection against Covid-19 disease and death was important to do now in making these recommendations,” she said.

Zients said: “Don’t delay. Get your booster shot. You can have enhanced protection from Covid as we head into the winter.”

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