Sep 28, 2022 - COVID

Boosters, anyone? Demand for Omicron shot off to a slow start in Minnesota

Illustration of a turtle carrying a vial of liquid

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Demand for Omicron boosters in Minnesota is off to a tepid start.

The big picture: Just over 197,000 Minnesotans have received a dose of the updated boosters, called bivalent vaccines, since they rolled out earlier this month, state data shows.

  • That's just 5.5% of residents 12 and older who finished their primary series and are considered eligible for a new shot.

Why it matters: Health experts say the boosters, which target one of the newest and most contagious strains of COVID, could provide extra protection from serious illness heading into the fall.

State of the virus: New cases in Minnesota recently fell below 1,000 a day for the first time since April, per the Star Tribune.

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

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

Plus, many Minnesotans who had COVID or got an earlier version of the booster over the summer may be waiting to maximize its effects.

  • Experts suggest waiting at least 60 days for the new dose in those situations.

Zoom out: Overall vaccine uptake for the updated booster across the nation has also been slow.

  • Approximately 4.4 million people nationwide have received updated boosters so far, which amounts to less than 2% of those eligible, per the CDC.

Flashback: About 1.1 million booster and third doses were administered in Minnesota in the initial months following the rollout of the earlier generation booster last year.

What to watch: Pfizer and BioNTech announced Monday that they are seeking emergency use authorization from the FDA for its Omicron-specific COVID-19 booster for children ages 5-11, Axios' Erin Doherty and Adriel Bettelheim write.

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

Go deeper: What to know about new COVID boosters

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