COVID-19 booster drive is faltering in the US
NEW YORK (AP) — The COVID-19 booster drive in the U.S. is losing steam, worrying health experts who have pleaded with Americans to get an extra shot to shore up their protection against the highly contagious omicron variant.
Just 40% of fully vaccinated Americans have received a booster dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And the average number of booster shots dispensed per day in the U.S. has plummeted from a peak of 1 million in early December to about 490,000 as of last week.
Also, a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that Americans are more likely to see the initial vaccinations — rather than a booster — as essential.
“It’s clear that the booster effort is falling short,” said Jason Schwartz, a vaccine policy expert at Yale University.
Overall, the U.S. vaccination campaign has been sluggish. More than 13 months after it began, just 63% of Americans, or 210 million people, are fully vaccinated with the initial rounds of shots. Mandates that could raise those numbers have been hobbled by legal challenges.
Vaccination numbers are stagnant in states such as Wyoming, Idaho, Mississippi and Alabama, which have been hovering below 50%.
In Wyoming, 44% are fully vaccinated, up just slightly from 41% in September. To boost numbers, the state has been running TV ads with health care workers giving grim accounts of unvaccinated people struggling with COVID-19.
“Certainly we would like to see higher rates. But it would be wrong for anyone to think that the rates we have are due to lack of effort," Wyoming Health Department spokeswoman Kim Deti said Tuesday.
At the other end of the spectrum, Vermont is a national leader in the percentage of people who have been fully vaccinated and received a...