Rollout of the new COVID-19 booster shot has been slow across the United States, and Maryland is no exception. In the 50 days since the bivalent vaccine entered circulation, it has been administered 600,560 times in Maryland, state data show. (Abby Zimmardi/Capital News Service)

Despite recommendations by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the rollout of the new COVID-19 booster in Maryland remains slow. The new booster has been in circulation for a little more than 50 days, and yet has been administered far less frequently than the original booster was over the same time frame last year.

The new COVID booster is known as the bivalent booster, and was expanded for use to include children aged 5-11 by the CDC on October 12. The booster was originally approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) on August 31, 2022, and was recommended by the CDC the next day. In the 50 days since, the bivalent vaccine has been administered 600,560 times in Maryland, according to the Maryland Department of Health’s COVID dashboard.

The original booster was approved by the FDA for certain populations on September 22, 2021 and endorsed by the CDC two days later on September 24. In the 50 days following the CDC endorsement, 719,478 Marylanders received the original Covid booster, according to the CDC.

In total, more than 2.6 million Marylanders received a first (monovalent) booster, according to the state dashboard. More than 4.8 million Marylanders completed a primary series of the vaccine, which means either both doses of a two-dose series, or one dose of a single series like the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

Two-thirds of the bivalent boosters administered have gone to individuals aged 50 and older, with the largest concentration being in the 60-69 year-old age group, according to the dashboard. Especially amongst younger Marylanders, the new bivalent vaccine has not seen much use.

On a national level, the data shows that Maryland is indicative of a greater trend that people are not receiving the second and subsequent boosters. According to the CDC, 111.3 million Americans have received at least one booster, while only 19.4 million have received the new bivalent booster.

Receiving a second booster dose does not necessarily mean that an individual received the bivalent vaccine, as many Americans received multiple doses of the previous (monovalent) booster. The numbers suggest that interest in receiving booster shots for COVID is decreasing.

Montgomery, Talbot and Howard counties lead Maryland with the highest rate of individuals over 50 receiving a second booster, among those who already received a first booster. These numbers also include second doses other than the bivalent booster.

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