Maryland National Guard Specialist James Truong (L) administers a Moderna coronavirus vaccine at CASA de Maryland’s Wheaton Welcome Center on May 21, 2021 in Wheaton, Maryland.
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images
At least 1.5 million Americans received a booster shot of either Moderna‘s or Johnson & Johnson‘s Covid-19 vaccine in the first five days after U.S. regulators authorized the extra doses, a White House official announced Wednesday.
“Our booster program is off to a very strong start,” Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, told reporters during a virtual news conference. He said the administration is working with states, pharmacies and other entities to quickly get boosters to tens of millions of eligible Americans.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday approved booster shots of Moderna’s and J&J’s Covid vaccines for millions of Americans.
The CDC cleared the Moderna booster to be given to elderly people and at-risk adults six months after they complete their primary series of shots, bringing it in line with the distribution plan for Pfizer and BioNTech‘s booster. It also cleared J&J’s booster for adults who received the initial shot at least two months ago.
Zients said Wednesday at least 15 million Americans have received an additional dose of any authorized Covid vaccine since health officials in August cleared third shots of Pfizer’s or Moderna’s vaccines for people with weakened immune systems.
While the Biden administration is still working to persuade hesitant adults to get their first Covid vaccine shots, it is also preparing to distribute doses to younger age groups, he said.
U.S. health officials are expected to approve a smaller dose of Pfizer’s Covid vaccine for kids ages 5 to 11 as early as next week.
States have placed their initial orders for the children’s doses, Zients said Wednesday, and millions of doses will be distributed by the U.S. government after federal regulators sign off.
About 28 million children would become eligible for Pfizer’s vaccine, pending authorization from the Food and Drug Administration and the CDC, he said.