Oct 4, 2022 - COVID

Omicron booster rollout has been slow in Ohio

Illustration of a turtle carrying a vial of liquid

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Demand for Omicron boosters is off to a slow start.

What's happening: Just over 325,000 Ohioans have received a dose of the updated COVID-19 shots — called bivalent vaccines — since they rolled out in late September.

  • That's about 3.25% of Ohioans who are age eligible to receive the shot.
  • More than 75% of updated booster recipients are 50 and older.

Why it matters: Health experts say the boosters could provide extra protection from serious illness heading into the fall.

The latest: COVID cases have dropped 41% over the past three weeks and hospitalizations by 31%, per the state's dashboard.

Yes, but: A recent uptick in the U.K. has some experts worried another wave will hit the U.S. later this fall, CNN reports.

Between the lines: The expedited way in which the shots were rolled out and unknowns on how well they'll work have left many Americans leery and full of questions, Axios' Tina Reed and Adriel Bettelheim write.

  • "Vaccine fatigue" could also be a factor.
  • Plus many who were already infected with Omicron or got an earlier version of the booster over the summer may be waiting to maximize its effects.

Zoom out: More than 7.5 million people nationwide have received updated boosters so far — less than 4% of those eligible, NBC reports.

Zoom in: Columbus Public Health will begin offering drive-thru clinics this week to make it even more convenient to get boosted, a spokesperson tells Axios.

What they're saying: Booster uptake increased 28% between Sept. 19-28 compared to 10 days prior, so state health officials are "hopeful that the number of recipients will continue to increase," an Ohio Department of Health spokesperson tells Axios over email.

What we're watching: Pfizer and BioNTech are now seeking emergency use authorization from the FDA for its Omicron-specific booster for children ages 5-11, Axios' Erin Doherty and Adriel Bettelheim write.

  • The shot is currently only available for those 12 and older. Moderna's version is for those 18 and up.

💭 Alissa's thought bubble: After a bout with Omicron in late May, I'm waiting just a bit longer before getting my new booster and flu shot together. Only one round of (potential) side effects!

What to know about new COVID boosters


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