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Many Americans are staying away from the Omicron COVID booster. What does it mean for the future?



Relatively few Americans receive the new Omicron booster — and most don’t plan on getting it anytime soon, according to a new report. new survey.

Only 7.6 million Americans — out of 333 million total — received a new COVID vaccine, which was widely available around Labor Day. That compares with 225 million won who received the original message.

Everyone 12 years and older is qualified to enhance if they have received their primary injections. But most Americans — more than two-thirds — have given up on receiving insults or have no intention at all, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey released last week.

Supply is not an issue. Shoot, purchased by the federal government, is free. And updated stabs — made by now-household names Pfizer and Moderna — using the same technology as the original captures, with enhanced protection against the currently dominant Omicron strains BA.4 and BA.5.

So why has hesitancy about vaccines increased, especially with a new wave of infections predicted in the coming weeks? And what will fall and winter look like for a population with waning COVID immunity?

Experts say COVID fatigue, among other factors, has a vaccine-friendly effect – people’s fatigue with shots that protect against death but not disease – joins the ranks of vaccine hesitation, as the pandemic drags into its third year.

“Nobody is willing to take the vaccine,” Dr. Ali Mokdada professor at the University of Washington Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, told Luck. The model of the center predicted the US COVID wave to start picking up in mid to late October and peak in January.

Many Americans shot COVID initially, then rocket boosters. But they still have COVID, he said. “And they gave up. They said, “I’m not worried about this virus anymore,” and they moved on. “

Shocked and dismayed

More than half of Americans report that they have returned to pre-COVID life or are planning on in the near future, according to a new report. September Ipsos Poll. And about two-thirds believe the pandemic is over.

No wonder most Americans have left the virus to them, despite tens of thousands of new cases and hundreds of new deaths are reported daily. In May, America’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci told PBS News Hour that the country is “out of the pandemic period. “And President Biden in September declared that “pandemic is over. “

If the pandemic is over, why boosters?

“If someone says it’s over, people won’t line up and get support the next day,” said Dr Raj Rajnarayanan, assistant dean for research and associate professor at the Institute of Public Technology campus. New York Tech in Jonesboro, Ark, recently. told Luck.

To add insult to injury, CDC’s “community level“The COVID map shows that much of the country is seeing low levels of the virus,” said Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association. Luck. What’s not immediately clear is that the map is more reflective of hospital admissions and COVID capacity. A more buried map shows high levels of virus spread in much of the country.

“Most of the country is green on the CDC prevalence map,” says Benjamin, referring to the color associated with low “community levels.”

“I think the general perception is that things will go away. “We are not a species that understands risk very well,” he said.

Some Americans don’t question the country’s pandemic status but have lost faith in the shots, initially seen by public health officials as a one-time shot that would end the pandemic, Mokdad said.

“They said, ‘My immune system has seen it, processed it, I don’t need the vaccine,’” he said. But “those people are among those who are still alive. They don’t remember about 4,000 animals dying every week. People look at the results they support and make the decision not to get vaccinated.”

Dr. Bruce Walker, director of the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard, a medical institute focused on disease elimination, and co-leader of the Massachusetts Association for Agent Readiness, agrees.

“I think the fact that vaccines don’t completely prevent infection but reduce disease is something that has confused people and made them less anxious about vaccination,” he said. Luck.

Don’t know anything about boosters

Some Americans don’t actively reject the new booster — they just don’t know it exists. Less than a third of Americans have heard only “a little bit” of the new Omicron booster, and 20% have heard nothing at all, according to the Kaiser survey.

Public health agencies don’t send out boosters availability and benefits in the same amounts and frequency as they did when they first got the COVID vaccine. Organized by the White House a press conference on September 6 to herald the availability of Omicron-specific boosters — then, generally silence.

“Honestly, there’s not a big push to get people vaccinated,” says Benjamin. “We’ve told people it’s there, but it’s a one-time effort.”

Then there are people who know about it, but think they are unqualified, according to Benjamin. According to the CDC, people 12 years of age and older have received a “primary series” — two Modena and/or Pfizer shots — and those who have at least two months left from their last shot (enhanced or prime series) ).

But people who have received a single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, or another vaccine such as Novavax, may not know they are eligible. And some people who had a boost before the Omicron footage came out might think they don’t need a new booster, says Benjamin.

While there have been some public health messages — about the safety of getting the Omicron booster vaccine and the flu vaccine — this message focuses on the safety of getting both shots at the same time. Sometimes, not everyone should get both shots, says Benjamin.

“I think it’s a missed opportunity,” he added.

Define a pandemic

Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease expert and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said: Luck.

Compounding the problem: There is no single unified milestone that a country must achieve before exiting the pandemic and entering the endemic phase in which a disease has emerged but does not significantly affect life. daily.

“Everybody gets a flu shot every year and there’s been no flu pandemic since 2009,” Adalja said, referring to the 2009 H1N1 flu strain.

Since COVID has not crippled the healthcare system like it used to, Adjala is inclined to agree with the view that the pandemic is over and it has moved into the endemic phase. But booster shots are just as important, he says.

There exists a “false binary, a misconception that there is nothing in between – it’s a pandemic or nothing at all,” he said. But “just because the pandemic is over doesn’t mean there isn’t work to be done to make COVID-19 less of a problem.”

Hopes and Worries

Adalja is optimistic. He said the boost rate can go up as people who have recently received an old booster card reach the end of their two-month waiting period to receive a new card. (Lagging is thought to reduce the risk of heart problems.) And many experts expect the rate of boost to increase if COVID rates start to rise this fall.

But as is all right, the low rate of enhancement means that new COVID variants will face less resistance in the US Antibody immune system — both from vaccination and infection — that fades later. a few months, which means that people who have not been recently immunized or infected are susceptible to the virus.

New COVID variants are becoming more immune-evasive, dodging manufactured antibody treatments and potentially making vaccines less effective.

“At this point, we need to vaccinate as if [new variants] Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. Luck. “But we owe it to the public to say we can see a future side of this pandemic unlike any we’ve seen today.”

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