The uptake of the new COVID-19 vaccines is lower than ideal, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says.
“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 CDC said in a Nov. 22 statement.
Just 14 percent of U.S. adults have received one of the new shots, which became available in the fall, according to CDC data.
Surveys show people aren’t getting the vaccines because of concerns about side effects and the lack of clinical data.
The CDC recommended the vaccines for nearly all Americans after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized and approved them based largely on animal testing.
Human testing results have only been reported from 50 people.
The CDC has not responded to requests for evidence supporting its claims that the vaccines can protect against severe illness.
The CDC said that the good news was elderly people, who are much more likely to be hospitalized with and die from COVID-19, had received the vaccine at higher rates, with about three in 10 having received one.
“It is critical that this population get vaccinated to protect themselves against severe outcomes from COVID-19. The bad news is that more than two-thirds of older adults have not gotten an updated COVID-19 vaccine and they need this added protection,” the CDC said.
The CDC provided no data in its statement on vaccine effectiveness or safety.
Among the 50 people who received Moderna’s shot in a clinical study, antibody responses were higher against newer variants compared to before receipt of the shot. Antibodies are thought to protect against COVID-19 but have not been formally established as a correlate of protection.
The CDC said its advice was based in part on prior versions of the vaccines.
“Based on three years of experience with these vaccines, we can expect the vaccines to increase protection and save lives,” the agency said.
That version was also cleared absent clinical trial data.
The CDC has faced criticism from some doctors and lawmakers for repeatedly making claims about vaccination without supporting data.
He noted that many other countries have scaled back COVID-19 vaccine recommendations and called the CDC’s current recommendation “absolutely bonkers.”
Some critics have pointed to how surveys indicate public trust in the agency has fallen in recent years.
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), chairwoman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.), chairman of the panel’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, said this week that new CDC director Dr. Mandy Cohen would appear to answer questions on Nov. 30.
“The CDC’s public trust has been damaged as a result of its confusing messaging and other failures during the COVID-19 Pandemic. This lack of trust could lead to complications as America heads into respiratory illness season,” they said in a joint statement. “We look forward to hearing from Director Cohen about how the agency is applying lessons learned during the pandemic to its public guidance regarding common seasonal illnesses, like influenza and RSV, so that the American people are equipped to make the best decisions for themselves and their families.”