Nov. 22, 2022 – White House officials on Friday urged Americans – again – to get their COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, as the latest booster shot has a better immune response to the evolving COVID-19 variants BA.4 and BA.5.
“Recent data that has come out indicate that, in fact, if you are vaccinated and boosted, compared to an unvaccinated person, there is a 14 times lower risk of dying in the most recent BA.4-5 era, compared to unvaccinated, and at least a three times lower risk of testing positive, compared to unvaccinated individuals,” said Anthony Fauci, MD, who stood at the White House press briefing podium “one last time” as he bid farewell to reporters on Tuesday.
The physician-scientist will be stepping down from his position as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden next month.
Fauci has made it clear that he is not retiring, but rather, pursuing “the next chapter” of his career. During his more than 5 decades of service to the federal government, he has spearheaded the fights against HIV and AIDS, Ebola, and COVID-19, among other health crises.
White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Ashish Jha, MD, joined Fauci on the podium and highlighted the latest developments in COVID-19 vaccinations and disease prevention.
On Monday, 12 of America’s top medical and clinical societies, including the American Medical Association and the American College of Physicians, released a statement with a clear message: Go get your updated COVID-19 vaccine and annual flu shot, which is the best way to save lives this holiday season – particularly the lives of older Americans.
Other announcements included a “6-week sprint” to help Americans get their updated COVID shot by the end of December. Three hundred and fifty million dollars in funding will go toward community health centers, mobile vaccine clinics, and religious organizations to assist in vaccine education and distribution. There will also be $125 million in funding for aging and disability networks to get more vulnerable and disabled Americans vaccinated.
Jha also said that most Americans will need one shot each year to stay safe, similar to the flu shot.
“We need to make protecting our loved ones an important part of the conversation we have around the Thanksgiving table and an important part of the conversation that we have in the days and weeks ahead,” he said.
“If folks get their updated vaccines, and they get treated if they have a breakthrough infection, we can prevent essentially every COVID death in America.”
For more information on COVID-19 vaccines, click here.