December 2, 2022

The United States could opt for an annual vaccine against covid-19

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(CNN) — Americans age 12 and older can now get their first up-to-date COVID-19 vaccinations, and they probably won’t be the last.

From now on, Americans may need to receive a single annual vaccine against covid-19, White House health authorities reported Tuesday, making it clear that the country will continue with the strategy of living with the coronavirus in the country. immediate future.

“This week marks a major shift in our fight against the virus,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, who leads the White House Covid-19 Response Team. “It marks our ability to make COVID vaccines a more routine part of our lives as we continue to reduce serious illness and death and protect Americans heading into the fall and winter.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says he hopes this fall will mark the start of annual Covid-19 vaccinations, though he added that people who are immunocompromised might need more frequent protection.

“In the absence of a drastically different variant, we are likely heading towards a pathway with a vaccination pace similar to that of the annual flu vaccine, with updated annual injections against Covid-19 that fit the currently circulating strains.” for the majority of the population,” Fauci said.

Fauci said the updated backups should continue to protect Americans as the virus gradually shifts away from the currently circulating BA.4 and BA.5 viruses.

Fauci acknowledged that the plan to provide Americans with a single annual Covid-19 vaccine might have to be revised if the coronavirus takes a major evolutionary leap, as it did when the omicron variant emerged around Thanksgiving last year. . He likened it to a “curveball off the field.”

“There’s nothing we can do about it except know that we have vaccine platforms that will allow us to move quickly to deal with it,” Fauci told reporters Tuesday.

But he stressed that barring any big changes to the virus, the updated boosters should continue to protect into the coming year and could be updated annually.

“The updated BA.5 vaccine that we’re talking about would very likely maintain a substantial degree of protection against a minor BA.5 sublineage switch. So that’s what we’re talking about. If we can do that, at the end of each year to most of the population, and again to underscore what we said, for those who have underlying conditions, immunocompromised, we may need to do more. But for the bulk of the population, we can look at it annually and see if we’re getting close to what what we’re doing now. Well, we’re pretty close, if that’s fine. If not, we’d have to make the change,” Fauci said.

Jha urged Americans ages 12 and older to take advantage of the updated boosters, noting that this is the first time the country has had vaccines that match the variants currently circulating.

He also said that people should get the flu shot at the same time they get the covid-19 vaccine.

“I really think that’s why God gave us two arms, one for the flu shot and one for the covid,” Jha joked.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told reporters that “the benefits of being up-to-date on vaccines against the covid-19 are evident”.

The BA.5 and BA.4 subvariants of omicron are the dominant variants circulating right now, Walensky said. Although hospitalizations are down 14% from last week, there are more deaths now than during the spring, he said.

“The seven-day daily death average is still too high, around 375 a day, well above the close to 200 daily deaths we recorded in early spring, and too high in my opinion for a preventable disease from vaccination,” Walensky said.

Fauci said his message to Americans “is simple: Get the updated COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can to protect yourself, your family and your community from COVID-19 this fall and winter.”



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