U.S. plans to shift to annual coronavirus shots, similar to flu vaccine

coronavirus shots, White House coronavirus coordinator Ashish Jha said Tuesday the newly reformulated omicron-targeting boosters mark an “important milestone” in the U.S. pandemic response, moving the country to a point where a single annual coronavirus shot should provide a “high degree of protection against serious illness all year.”

U.S. plans to shift to annual coronavirus shots, similar to flu vaccine

The cadence would be similar to that of the annual flu shot, which could be administered at the same time. “I really believe this is why God gave us two arms — one for the flu shot and the other one for the covid shot,” Jha said. Heading into the third fall of the pandemic, Jha and other Biden administration health officials urged eligible Americans to get an updated booster now. coronavirus shots,The shots are available for people as young as 12, following approval last week of boosters from Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech that target the dominant circulating strain of the virus, BA.5 Barring curveballs from new variants, “it is reasonable to expect, based on what we know about immunology and science of this virus, that these new vaccines will provide better protection against infection, better protection against transmission and ongoing and better protection against serious illness,” he said at Tuesday’s news briefing. Jha said this latest round of shots will offer protection during the busy cold and flu season and that the government hopes to transition people to getting the vaccine yearly. Typically, at least half of U.S. adults get a flu shot.

Moving to yearly coronavirus shots would be a shift from the current practice, where high-risk Americans have been urged to get boosters every few months, but uptake has been disappointing. (The elderly and those with weakened immune systems may need more frequent doses.) All Americans must do their part to get the shot, if not for themselves, then for “your grandmother, or your vulnerable uncle or for your friend,” Jha said. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cited modeling projections that were presented last week to the agency’s vaccine advisory committee showing that if the public embraces the boosters early this fall at a rate similar to that of annual flu shots, about 100,000 hospitalizations and 9,000 deaths could be prevented.Some experts have said that may be an optimistic assumption given that more than half of Americans eligible for boosters have yet to receive their first dose. Given waning immunity of the coronavirus vaccines, it’s also not clear whether an annual covid shot will provide protection that lasts a year.The federal government has purchased more than 170 million doses of the updated boosters, and doses began shipping last week, following authorization by the Food and Drug Administration. Like other coronavirus shots, the boosters will be free. Pharmacies and other retail locations are booking appointments, and health officials urge people to check availability on vaccines.gov. Officials said appointments will be widely available within the next week. Health officials have said people who have had a recent infection or were recently vaccinated should wait at least two months before getting the updated booster.

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