US health officials seek booster shots as COVID variants spread | News about the coronavirus pandemic

US President Joe Biden’s administration is pushing the vaccines as the best way to avoid potential disruptions from the new BA.4 and BA.5 variants.

The Biden administration is urging people to exercise renewed caution about COVID-19, stressing the importance of getting booster shots for those eligible and wearing masks indoors after two new variants Many transmissions are spreading rapidly throughout the United States.

The new coronavirus variants, named BA.4 and BA.5, are offshoots of the Omicron strain that has been responsible for nearly all of the virus’s spread in the US, and are even more contagious than their predecessors. White House doctors stressed the importance of getting booster doses, even if you’ve been infected recently.

“Currently, many Americans are under-vaccinated, which means they are not up-to-date on their vaccines for COVID-19,” said Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “Staying up-to-date on your COVID-19 vaccinations offers the best protection against serious outcomes.”

Walensky said the U.S. has seen a doubling in the number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 since April, reflecting the spread of new subvariants, although deaths have remained steady at about 300 a day.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, said that while the new strains are worrisome, with boosters, indoor masking and treatments, the country has the tools to keep them from being devastating.

“We shouldn’t let it ruin our lives,” he said, “but we can’t deny that it’s a reality we have to deal with.”

He added that even if someone recently had COVID-19, they should get a booster.

“Immunity wanes, so it’s essential to stay up-to-date with COVID 19 vaccines,” he said.

All Americans age 5 and older should receive a booster five months after their initial initial series, according to the CDC, and those age 50 and older — or who are immunocompromised — should receive a second booster four months after their first. According to the CDC, tens of millions of eligible Americans have not received their first booster, and of those over 50 who received their first booster, only 28 percent received a second.

“If you’re over 50 and you haven’t gotten it this year, you should go get a shot,” said White House Coordinator for the COVID-19 Response, Dr. Ashish Jha. “It will save your life.”

Jha and Fauci said the US is regularly discussing expanding eligibility for a second booster shot to all adults, but that no decision has yet been made.

“It’s a regulatory decision on the FDA’s part,” Fauci said.

Jha said people who are eligible for a booster but haven’t received one should not wait for future vaccines targeted at the Omicron strain other than the original form of the coronavirus. The US has ordered 105 million of those updated shots that studies show offer better protection against Omicron variants, but they won’t be available until the fall.

“Let me be clear: If you get vaccinated today, you will not be ineligible to get the variant-specific vaccine as we move into the later fall and winter,” Jha said. “So this is not a compromise. We have enough. It’s a great way to protect yourself.”

Added Fauci: “The threat to you is now.”

Walensky noted that CDC data shows that about a third of Americans live in areas the agency classifies as experiencing a high level of spread of COVID-19, where the agency recommends that people wear masks in spaces public interior. Another 41 percent live in countries that the CDC designates as “moderate,” where it recommends that people consider their individual risk and consider wearing masks.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.