People at risk of COVID-19 infection are being urged by the United States to get their booster vaccine shot as the country moves to have the infection under control prior to a potential jump in cases in winter.
Currently, only 15 percent of the elderly population have received the additional dose.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said around 10.7 million people have gotten their booster shot. Over 50 percent of those are people aged more than 65.
People aged 65 and older are included in the most vulnerable group recommended by the US Food and Drug Administration to get the COVID-19 booster vaccine doses. Also recommended were people who reside or work in high-risk places and those at high risk of critical disease.
Last month, an emergency use authorization for a booster dose was granted to Pfizer for people who have received their first two doses at least six months ago. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters are currently under review for EUA by the country’s health advisers.
“(The extremely vulnerable) are recommended to get a booster shot,” Dr. Leana Wen, CNN medical analyst, said. “But even with a booster, they might not prevent severe outcomes and this is the reason why we have to be vaccinated.”
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci said that in order to put the virus spread under control, the majority of the country needs to be vaccinated. However, the number is only around 57 percent out of the total population.
The importance of vaccinations was given the spotlight on Monday following the news that Secretary of State Colin Powell had died because of virus complications.
84-year-old Powell suffers from multiple myeloma, a cancer of plasma cells that affects the immune response. Apart from this, his chief of stall told CNN that the Secretary of State also has Parkinson’s.
Powell has completed his two-dose vaccines and is set to get his booster dose this week.
Wen said that his death should highlight that more people need to get the vaccine to shield those who are vulnerable.
“Yes, the vaccine does protect you, but it protects you even better is everyone around you is vaccinated,” Wen said. “We get vaccinated as healthy people in part to protect the most vulnerable among us.”