A healthcare worker holds a vial of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine at a pop-up vaccination site operated by SOMOS Community Care during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Manhattan in New York City, New York, US, on Jan 29, 2021. (MIKE SEGAR / REUTERS)
New York / HELSINKI / MOSCOW – Around 3.2 million people in the United States received updated COVID-19 booster shots over the past week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday.
While the Pfizer/BioNTech updated COVID-19 booster is approved for those aged 12 and above, Moderna's shot is approved for individuals aged 18 and above
The CDC said a total of 7.6 million Americans had received the shot as of Sept 28, the first four weeks the booster has been available. This is up from the 4.4. million people who received the shot as of Sept. 21.
The 7.6 million figure represents only 3.5% of the 215.5 million people in the United States aged 12 or older who are eligible to receive the shots because they have completed their primary vaccination series.
The shots are being administered at a slower pace than last year, when the United States initially authorized COVID boosters just for older and immunocompromised people. Around 12 million people received their third shot in the first four weeks of that vaccination campaign.
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As of last week, the US government had sent out over 25 million of the updated booster shots, mostly from Pfizer /BioNTech (22UAy.DE), as production of Moderna's (MRNA.O) shot continues to ramp up.
The US Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer and Moderna's Omicron-tailored shots last month, in preparation for the country's ongoing fall revaccination campaign.
The CDC tally includes booster shots from both Pfizer/BioNtech and Moderna.
While the Pfizer/BioNTech updated COVID-19 booster is approved for those aged 12 and above, Moderna's shot is approved for individuals aged 18 and above.
The Omicron-tailored shots aim to tackle the BA.5 and BA.4 subvariants, which make up a significant majority of the currently circulating variants in the United States, according to government data.
Finland's Ministry of Social Affairs and Health on Thursday cautioned against a possible surge in coronavirus cases in the country this autumn and winter.
Taneli Puumalainen, a director at the ministry, told a press conference on Thursday that "unfortunately, our forecasts show an upturn in the virus. It is hard to predict how large the wave will be."
While the ministry stopped short of recommending that everyone in Finland wear a face mask, it recalled that from Oct 1, all people over the age of 14 in Germany will be required to wear an FFP-2 mask on long-distance transport and in health and care settings.
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In Finland, the wearing of face masks is neither mandatory nor recommended.
A COVID-19 booster shot will be offered to all people over the age of 65 and to younger people at risk for serious disease. The boosters will be combined with the seasonal flu shots and administered in November-December.
Russia recorded 38,739 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 20,948,470, the official monitoring and response center said Thursday.
The nationwide death toll increased by 109 to 387,163, while the number of recoveries increased by 57,937 to 19,979,763.