With the ascendent Delta strain impacting “post-pandemic” travel plans, preprint papers warning of the decreased efficacy of the mRNA vaccines to block infections of the more contagious variant, and other studies showing third shots providing extra protection for some patients, many Americans are reportedly becoming their own pandemic experts.
According to an internal CDC briefing reviewed by ABC News, an estimated 1.1 million people have already gotten unauthorized booster shots. The number is most likely an undercount because it includes Moderna and Pfizer recipients who have re-upped but not those who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine and then sought out another shot. The leading states for booster-shot seekers are Florida (a state with many older residents currently facing one of the worst outbreaks in the world), Ohio, California, Illinois, and Tennessee.
The 1.1 million self-medicators are going against the current direction from the CDC and FDA, which advises that people “who have been fully vaccinated do not need a booster shot at this time.” That so many people have defied that order suggests how seriously some Americans are taking the shocking rise of the Delta variant, along with the reduced trust many have in public-health officials after the continual changes in coronavirus guidelines: According to a recent poll, only 41 percent of Americans trust their state health departments, while 52 percent of Americans have “a great deal of trust” in the CDC.
Although public-health authorities in several other countries have already approved booster shots — ignoring the World Health Organization’s call to hold off on third vaccinations to share doses with countries at the losing end of the vaccine-hoarding equation — the U.S. appears to be going the way of the third-shot early adopters. According to an NBC News report on Wednesday, the FDA could approve third doses as early as Thursday for the immunocompromised, who represent about 2.7 percent of U.S. adults.