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Covid-19 vaccination rate is ‘lower than we’d like to see,’ CDC says

November 26 ------ Respiratory virus season is ramping up across the United States, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning that low vaccination rates are leaving many at risk.

About 15% of adults and 5% of children have gotten the latest Covid-19 vaccine, according to CDC data through mid-November. “Here’s the bottom line: COVID-19 vaccine uptake is lower than we’d like to see, and most people will be without the added protection that can reduce the severity of COVID-19,” the agency wrote in an update on its website Friday.

Covid-19 hospitalizations are on the rise again, with more than 16,000 new admissions during the week ending November 11. Hospitalization rates are lower than they were at this time last year but nearly three times higher than they were during this summer’s record low. There are a number of reasons why it’s important for people to get the latest Covid-19 vaccine, CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen told CNN. “This Covid virus has changed, and you want the most updated Covid vaccine to protect you as we go into this winter season,” she said. “Second, we know that the protection that you get from either having Covid before or being vaccinated before decreases over time.” Vaccination can also help reduce the risk for long Covid, she said.

Flu and RSV levels are also increasing, but most respiratory virus hospitalizations this season have been among people with Covid-19, CDC data shows. About a third of adults and children have gotten their flu shot this season, and about 14% of older adults have gotten the new RSV vaccine. “COVID-19 is still an important cause of hospitalization and death, especially for older adults and people with certain underlying medical conditions,” the CDC wrote in the latest online update. “COVID-19 vaccines don’t prevent every infection – that’s true of lots of vaccines – but they can reduce illness severity in people who get vaccinated but still get sick, helping to save lives, reduce hospitalizations, and prevent trips to the doctor.” This winter’s respiratory virus season is just beginning, and now is a “great time” to get vaccinated, Cohen said. “The sooner the better. It does take about two weeks for your body to build up the maximum amount of antibodies, but it’s never too late.” The current Covid-19 vaccination rate is significantly higher among seniors, but more than two-thirds of this high-risk population has not gotten the latest vaccine, according to the CDC. “Because older people are much more likely to get hospitalized and die from COVID-19, it is critical that this population get vaccinated to protect themselves against severe outcomes from COVID-19,” the CDC wrote.

The CDC also found racial and ethnic disparities in Covid-19 vaccination rates, with uptake about half as high among Black and Hispanic adults compared with White adults. However, separate survey data from KFF found that Black and Hispanic adults are much more likely than White adults to say they have gotten the new vaccine or plan to do so. Overall, the KFF survey found that most adults in the US are not worried about getting sick with Covid-19 or spreading it over the holidays. Only about half say they plan to get the latest vaccine, and there’s a similar split around plans to take other precautions, such as masking or avoiding crowded places and travel.



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