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Covid-19 booster shots now surpassing initial vaccination doses by nearly half

An average of nearly 400,000 people per day have received booster shots in the previous seven days, double from the week before.
A patient receives a Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccination booster in Southfield, Mich., on Sept. 29, 2021.
A patient receives a Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccination booster in Southfield, Mich., on Sept. 29.Emily Elconin / Reuters file

America’s booster shots are booming.

An NBC News analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows that the number of people receiving booster shots is outpacing those getting their first or second doses of the initial vaccination, and is contributing to a modest increase in Covid vaccinations in October.

Of the 6.7 million shots administered from Sept. 30 to Oct. 6, nearly 2.7 million were booster shots. That’s compared to the nearly 2 million first doses and nearly 2 million second doses in the same period.

And of the approximately 6.4 million boosters administered in all, 4 million have gone to seniors, while the remaining 2.2 million have gone to adults from 18 to 64 years old.

In the two weeks since the Food and Drug Administration authorized a Pfizer-BioNTech booster shot for seniors and high-risk individuals, roughly 4.9 million boosters have been administered in total, according to CDC data.

The Biden administration announced the booster shot plan for most adults in August as a way to combat the delta variant, but the plan was scaled down when the Moderna vaccine was excluded from that booster rollout because more time was needed to review its data.

Late last month a CDC advisory committee voted to only approve the Pfizer booster for seniors and those with health conditions. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky sidestepped that decision by adding eligibility for those at high risk of being exposed to the virus at work, including health care workers and teachers.

Additionally, many were still able to receive booster shots due to an authorization in August for those with compromised immune systems. This authorization included Moderna, and according to CDC data, 1.4 million people have received a booster of Moderna.

Johnson & Johnson filed for booster authorization Tuesday.