Multiple states are opening COVID-19 booster shots to all adults – Community News
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Multiple states are opening COVID-19 booster shots to all adults

Some states and New York City have decided to extend COVID-19 booster shots to all adults, without waiting for approval from US health officials.

Arkansas, California, Colorado and New Mexico have announced the expansion in anticipation of a surge in COVID-19 cases heading into the holiday season, when more people stay indoors and travel.

The New York Times reported that health officials in New York City have also encouraged all adults to get a COVID-19 booster shot.

Pfizer last week asked US regulators to allow boosters of its COVID-19 vaccine to anyone aged 18 or older, a move amid concerns about the increased spread of the coronavirus from vacation travel and gatherings. Older Americans and other groups especially vulnerable to the virus have had access to a third dose of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine since September. But the Food and Drug Administration has said it would soon be expanding boosters to younger ages if needed.

RELATED: US COVID-19 cases are up 26% in the past 3 weeks, CDC data shows

The new study from Pfizer concluded that a booster could restore protection against symptomatic infection to about 95%, even while the extra-infectious delta variant was on the rise. Side effects were similar to those seen in the company’s first two shots.

The seven-day average of COVID-19 cases in the United States has risen by more than 26% in the past three weeks, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. On October 24, the CDC reported the seven-day average of cases of 63,800. Three weeks later, on Nov. 14, the CDC reported that the seven-day average had risen to 80,800 — a 26.5% increase.

The contagious delta strain is driving more COVID-19 hospitalizations in the mountain west and disruptive outbreaks in the north, a worrying sign of what’s ahead in the US this winter

According to state data, Colorado’s COVID-19 hospitalizations are at their highest peak since December last year, and the health department said 30% of state facilities anticipate a shortage of ICU beds in the coming week. As of Wednesday, Colorado had nearly 1,280 hospitalizations, 80% of which were unvaccinated COVID-19 patients, according to the health department’s data dashboard.

RELATED: Colorado: Some Hospitals Expect ICU Bed Shortage Amid COVID-19 Wave

Democratic government leader Jared Polis issued two executive orders in response to the surge in hospitalizations: one calling for additional National Guard resources and another ordering hospitals and emergency departments to transfer or stop new patients due to lack on hospital beds.

New Mexico is running out of intensive care beds, despite the state’s above-average vaccination coverage. Waning immunity may play a role. People who have been vaccinated early and have not yet received booster shots may increase the number of infections, even if they still have some protection against the most serious effects of the virus.

According to the CDC, more than 227 million Americans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, representing 68.4% of the total population. Earlier this month, U.S. health officials authorized children between the ages of 5 and 11 to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. About 900,000 children received their first dose within the first week of being eligible.

RELATED: COVID-19 booster shot confusion? This is what you need to know

Now nearly 20,000 pharmacies, clinics and doctors’ offices are offering the doses to younger children.

The Biden administration is encouraging schools to organize on-site vaccine clinics to make it even easier for children to receive injections. The White House is also asking schools to share information from “trusted messengers” such as doctors and public health officials to combat misinformation about the vaccines.

Megan Ziegler, FOX News and The Associated Press contributed to this story. This story was reported from Los Angeles.