Stamford Advocate

Boosters, employer mandates driving increase in vaccines


The number of Americans getting COVID-19 vaccines has steadily increased to a threemonth high as seniors and people with medical conditions seek boosters, and government and employer mandates push more workers to take their first doses.

Demand is expected to spike in a few weeks if regulators authorize the Pfizer vaccine for elementary school children, and some states are reopening mass vaccinatio­n clinics in anticipati­on.

In Missouri, a mass vaccinatio­n site at a former Toys R Us store is set to open Monday. Virginia plans to roll out nine large vaccinatio­n centers over the next few weeks, including one at the Richmond Internatio­nal Raceway.

Colorado opened four mass vaccinatio­n sites in mid-September, largely to deal with employer mandates, and officials saw a 38 percent increase in vaccinatio­ns statewide during the first week.

The total number of doses being administer­ed in the U.S. is climbing toward an average of 1 million per day, almost double the level from mid-July — but still far below last spring. The increase is mainly due to boosters, with nearly 10 percent of the nation’s over-65 population already getting third shots, but there are signs of increased demand from other groups as well.

On Thursday, 1.1 million doses were given, including just over 306,000 to newly vaccinated people, said Dr. Cyrus Shahpar, the White House COVID-19 data director.

Organizers of the effort to reach the roughly 67 million unvaccinat­ed American adults say the rise in demand can be traced to approval of the Pfizer booster, mandates that have forced employees to choose between the shot and their jobs and sobering statistics that show nearly all COVID-19 deaths are among the unvaccinat­ed.

“We’re seeing people who need the shot to keep a job,” said Dr. Ricardo Gonzalez-Fisher, who runs a mobile vaccine clinic mostly for Latinos in Colorado.

Last weekend, his clinic delivered 30 shots to people outside the Mexican Consulate in Denver. “On these days, 30 is a very good number,” he said.

Virginia’s state vaccine coordinato­r, Dr. Danny Avula, said opening the large vaccinatio­n centers, will allow local health department­s to focus on reaching underserve­d communitie­s. “This should really help relieve the burden for our local providers,” he said.

The big push now, he said, is in neighborho­ods where rates are low. The health district has set up mobile clinics at weekend basketball tournament­s, high school football games and even at a corner market where 20 people were vaccinated in a day.

“Those 20 vaccinatio­ns sound small, but it’s really a huge success,” McKay said.

Vice President Kamala Harris stopped Friday at vaccine center in Newark, New Jersey, where she met with patients and health care workers and encouraged people to get the shot.

“There will be an end to this,” she said. “We really feel we are starting to get in front of this.”

Roughly 28 million more U.S. children could be eligible for reduced-dose kids’ shots as early as November if regulators give their approval. Regulators have yet to take up the question of booster shots for people who got the Moderna or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but that’s likely coming soon.

“All told, in the coming weeks and months, we are expecting more than 120,000 people to seek vaccine,” said Jon Mooney, assistant director of the Springfiel­d-Greene County Health Department. “We are already experienci­ng increased demand in the last week or two.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States