Over 400,000 Americans received COVID-19 booster shots over the weekend, White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said Tuesday.
Speaking at a teleconference press briefing by the administration’s COVID-19 Response Team and public health officials, Zients said the huge number of booster shots were provided by pharmacies alone.
Nearly a million people have already scheduled to get their booster jabs through a pharmacy over the coming weeks too, Zients said, noting that the administration’s planning and preparation—including working with governors, pharmacies, doctors, and long-term care facilities—on booster shots have “propelled a strong start.”
Zients said they were able to get booster “shots in arms” quickly on Friday, almost immediately after the Food and Drug Administration (DFA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) signed off on a series of recommendations allowing for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 booster shots to be administered to people 65 years of age and older, those aged 18 to 64 years who are at high risk of severe COVID-19, and people aged 18 to 64 whose job may place them at high risk of contracting the virus.
Zients said Massachusetts and several other states were notifying eligible people by text message and email in an effort to get them in for a booster shot.
In New Jersey, three “mass vaccination centers” are opening to get booster shots administered, and the White House coronavirus response coordinator noted that all states, tribes, and territories can open up such centers with help from the federal government, including 100 percent reimbursement.
“At the same time, our top priority remains first and second shots,” Zients said.
“Overall, more than three out of four eligible Americans—those Americans 12 and older—have gotten at least their first shot. Importantly, 94 percent of seniors—those 65 and older—have at least one shot. And tomorrow, we will hit an important milestone: 200 million adults with at least one shot.”
President Joe Biden received his COVID-19 vaccine booster shot on camera in the White House Monday, shortly after the CDC shared their series of recommendations. Prior to receiving the injection, Biden continued to cast blame on those who have yet to get the shot, which he says now makeup about 23 percent of the population.
“That distinct minority is causing an awful lot of us an awful lot of damage for the rest of the country,” he said. “This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
Elsewhere on Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that herd immunity will not be able to be achieved through natural infection—when enough people in the population have recovered from COVID-19 and have developed protective antibodies against future infection—and that the only solution to ending the pandemic was to get enough people vaccinated.
“As I’ve said so many times, herd immunity is really a complicated issue of protection by vaccination and those who have continued in durable protection following infection…We do not know what that number is right now,” Fauci said.
“You know when you are at herd immunity when the virus doesn’t have opportunity to go from person to person. But right now, we don’t know what that number is. And when you don’t know what the number is, what do you do? You vaccinate as many people as you possibly can, as quickly and as expeditiously as you possibly can. That’s what we should be concentrating on, not any particular number.”