Oct. 19, 2021 -- About 1 in 7 -- or about 15% -- of Americans who are ages 65 and older have received a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to estimates.

As the U.S. tries to bring the pandemic under control before winter, public health officials are encouraging vulnerable people to get an additional coronavirus shot. The FDA has recommended a booster for older adults, those who face high risks for severe COVID-19, and those who live and work in high-risk environments.

The extremely vulnerable are “recommended to get a booster shot,” Leana Wen, MD, an emergency doctor at George Washington University, told CNN.

As of Monday, about 10.7 million Americans had received a booster dose, according to the latest CDC data. Among those, about 6.7 million were given to older adults.

About 96% of people ages 65 and older have gotten at least one vaccine dose, and 84% are fully vaccinated.

But even with a booster, the most vulnerable may still face risks for severe COVID-19, Wen said, which is why she recommends that family members be vaccinated as well. About 77% of the eligible population has received at least one vaccine dose, and 67% is considered fully vaccinated.

On Monday, Wen spoke about the heightened focus on vaccinations and booster shots after former Secretary of State Colin Powell died due to COVID-19 complications. Powell, 84, had multiple myeloma, a cancer that suppresses the body’s immune response. He was fully vaccinated and was scheduled to receive a booster shot this week.

As of last week, the CDC had gotten reports of 7,178 breakthrough COVID-19 cases that resulted in death. That means about 1 out of every 26,000 fully vaccinated people, or .004%, have died from COVID-19, CNN reported. Of those people, 85% were ages 65 and older.

“The vaccine does protect you, but it protects you even better when everyone around you is vaccinated,” Wen said. “We get vaccinated as healthy people in part to protect the most vulnerable among us.”

WebMD Health News Brief

Sources

CNN: “Seniors are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19. So far, 1 in 7 have gotten a booster shot of vaccine.”

CDC: “COVID-19 Vaccinations in the United States.”

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