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Friday, February 23, 2024
Feb. 23, 2024

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2% of kids and 7% of adults have gotten the new COVID shots, U.S. data show

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NEW YORK — A month after federal officials recommended new versions of COVID-19 vaccines, 7 percent of U.S. adults and 2 percent of children have gotten a shot.

One expert called the rates “abysmal.”

The numbers, presented Thursday at a meeting held by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, come from a national survey of thousands of Americans, conducted two weeks ago.

The data also indicated that nearly 40 percent of adults said they probably or definitely will not get the shot. A similar percentage of parents said they did not plan to vaccinate their children.

In the late summer, government health officials made the nation’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign more like the annual flu campaign.

Officials approved updated shots that have a single target, an omicron descendant named XBB.1.5. They replaced vaccines that targeted the original coronavirus strain and a much earlier omicron version. Last month, the CDC recommended the new shots for everyone 6 months and older.

The government also transitioned to a commercialized system that relied on the health-care industry — not the government — to handle the distribution of the shots. Many people who immediately went for shots said pharmacies or doctors didn’t have them.

Americans have been urged to get different iterations of the vaccines for more than 2/12 years. This year, COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations fell to lower levels than seen in the previous three years.

Cases remain low compared with the pandemic’s early months. Even so, health officials say about 18,000 hospitalization and 1,200 deaths are still being reported each week.

One expert at the meeting, Dr. Camille Kotton of Harvard Medical School, called the numbers “abysmal” and said part of the problem may be patient confusion. She urged stepped-up public education efforts.

Dr. David Kimberlin, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, also expressed dismay.

“The recommendations are not being heard,” he said.

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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