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America’s Lagging Booster Campaign

December 12, 2022

The latest COVID-19 vaccine data indicates that many Americans still need to make an appointment to receive the bivalent COVID-19 booster ahead of the winter holidays.

The CDC’s latest vaccine data indicates that millions of Americans across age demographics are still eligible to receive the bivalent vaccine. It’s especially important for people at high-risk for COVID-19 complications to catch up on their vaccines.

This week, hospital leaders and infectious disease experts are urging all Americans to stay up to date on their COVID-19 and flu vaccines as time is running out to ensure full protection heading into the holiday season.

“The best course of prevention of respiratory illness this fall and winter continues to be widespread vaccination against the flu and COVID-19—including ensuring eligible individuals have received an updated COVID-19 vaccine that increases protection against COVID-19 and targets the Omicron variant,” Xavier Becerra, secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services, said in a letter to U.S. governors this month.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Pennsylvania vaccine coverage:  In Pennsylvania, 12.4 percent of people have received a bivalent booster dose. Pennsylvanians between 75 and 79 have the highest vaccination rate for the bivalent booster at 37.5 percent.
  • U.S. booster vaccine rate:  Just 15.5 percent of adults and 34.2 percent of people over age 65 have received the bivalent booster, according to the CDC.
  • At-risk population:  A new report today from the Kaiser Family Foundation indicated that just 45 percent of all nursing facility residents are up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations.
    • The CDC defines “up to date” as having a bivalent booster or a final shot of the original vaccines less than two months ago
  • Newly eligible:  Last week, the CDC and FDA expanded the use of updated (bivalent) COVID-19 vaccines for children between 6 months through age 5.
  • Quotable: “The vast majority of children in this age group have not received any doses of a COVID-19 vaccine,” the CDC said in a statement. “CDC is working to increase parent and provider confidence in COVID-19 vaccines and improve uptake among the 95% of children who are not vaccinated or who have not completed the COVID-19 vaccine primary series.” 

Last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) noted that the number of children (1,521) with confirmed COVID-19 during their hospital admission increased 68 percent during the past eight weeks.

“During this period, hospitalizations with COVID-19 increased for all children but especially for the youngest children,” AAP said.

HAP and Pennsylvania’s hospitals continue to remind everyone who is eligible to get their COVID-19 and flu vaccinations ahead of the winter holidays. Staying up to date on your vaccines ensures you have full protection ahead of family gatherings this winter.

Learn more about the options available in your community.