By Tara John and Isabelle Jani Friend, CNN
The United States has a booster shot problem. As other nations hurtle ahead in their Covid-19 vaccination programs, lagging uptake in the US of the third vaccine is concerning public health experts.
As of Sunday, uptake of the third shot in the United Kingdom (55.4% of the total population), Germany (55%), France (51.1%) and Canada (44%) dwarfed the US figure of 27.6%, according to Our World in Data.
Evidence showing high rates of protection against the virus from three doses, and an Omicron variant-fueled surge in cases in the US, has struggled to convince the American public to take the third shot, CNN’s Jacqueline Howard reports. According to CNN analysis of US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data, the pace of booster doses going into arms is the lowest it has been in months.
Experts say Covid-19 fatigue and the partisan divide, which has plagued America’s vaccination campaign, is partly responsible for these figures: A Kaiser Family Foundation survey released last month found that 58% of fully vaccinated Democrats who have not had the booster expressed interest in a third dose, compared to just 18% of fully vaccinated Republicans who have not had it.
Waning immunity is complicating the situation. Israel began vaccinating at-risk populations and people over 60 with a fourth dose January 2, and a pre-print study from the country suggests that the extra shot of Pfizer/BioNTech seems to provide better protection from infection and severe illness than three shots of the vaccine.
CDC studies released last week showed that there were fewer emergency department visits and hospitalizations after the third dose than after the second dose — but its effectiveness declined over time.
In the face of waning protection, boosters are key in helping to push the coronavirus to an endemic disease instead of causing pandemic-levels of infection, Andy Pekosz, Professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, told CNN.
YOU ASKED. WE ANSWERED.
Q: When can younger children be vaccinated against Covid-19 in the United States?
A: The timeline for when children younger than five might start receiving Covid-19 vaccinations in the US has just been pushed back.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is waiting for Pfizer-BioNTech to submit data from an ongoing trial on a three-dose regimen in these younger children before moving forward with consideration of an emergency use authorization.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is currently authorized for use in people as young as five. If the new emergency use authorization is granted, this shot will be the first coronavirus vaccine available for the youngest children — and the tentative plan is to roll out about 10 million vaccine doses initially, according to a CDC document.
Send your questions here. Are you a health care worker fighting Covid-19? Message us on WhatsApp about the challenges you’re facing: +1 347-322-0415.
READS OF THE WEEK
Canada invokes emergency powers in a bid to stop trucker protest
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has invoked emergency powers in an attempt to sever financial support for the “Freedom Convoy” protests that have clogged streets in the Canadian capital Ottawa for weeks. They have also impeded access to the busiest land crossing in North America as truck drivers and their supporters demonstrate against vaccine mandates and pandemic control measures.
The Emergencies Act can provide for the use of the military, but may not necessarily lead to that, and Trudeau said the government is not bringing in troops. The act can also temporarily suspend citizens’ rights to free movement or assembly. And the government is taking steps to stop financial support of illegal protests, Kelly McCleary and Holly Yan report.
The news comes after the Ambassador Bridge between the US and Canada reopened Sunday and Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, announced plans to loosen pandemic restrictions.
We are in the same Olympic city but remain a world apart
China’s borders have been virtually closed for two years because of Covid, and the government has granted limited visas for journalists. The Beijing Winter Olympics offered a rare chance for CNN’s Selina Wang to return to the country.
But being stuck in the Olympic closed loop — a system of multiple bubbles, including venues, conference centers and hotels, designed to keep arrivals isolated from the general population — has prevented Wang from experiencing the Beijing she knows, and hugging her grandmother. In this piece, she explores the sacrifices people have made to be part of the Olympics.
Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, test positive for Covid
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, tested positive for Covid-19, Clarence House said on Monday, four days after her husband Prince Charles was revealed to have contracted the virus, CNN’s Max Foster and Hannah Ryan report.
Charles started isolating on February 10 after testing positive for the virus for the second time. The 73-year-old heir to the UK throne, who is fully vaccinated, had met with Queen Elizabeth “recently,” a royal source told CNN after his latest infection was announced. The source did not elaborate on how recently the meeting took place.
The Duchess is triple vaccinated and will continue to follow all government guidelines and review engagements on that basis, a royal source said.
You’ve lost your vaccine card in the United States. Stay calm and follow these steps
No one could have predicted before the pandemic that a little piece of white paper would hold so much significance, Megan Marples reports. It’s the key to entering some concert venues, traveling to certain countries and more.
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to replacing the precious document. Here are some options (and advice about things that don’t work).
Remember how awkward and confused you felt as a teen? It’s a time of so many changes — but perhaps the most radical transformation is going on inside the adolescent brain. In this week’s podcast, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta dives into the neuroscience of the teen brain to figure out how teens make decisions and weigh risks. Listen Now.
™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.