WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden was scheduled to get his updated COVID-19 booster shot on Tuesday and urge the public to get theirs to ensure a healthy holiday season.
Biden was to appear at the White House with the doctors who are leading administration efforts against the spread of the coronavirus.
They were set to be joined by executives from several major drug store chains, which are mounting renewed efforts to help people to get a dose of COVID-19 vaccine that’s been reformulated to target the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of omicron, the most dominant strains in the United States.
Over 20 million people, including nearly 1 in 5 older adults, have already gotten the updated COVID-19 booster, the White House said.
Biden is expected to again call on business, educational and civil leaders to do more to encourage their communities to get the updated vaccines, which are free of charge.
Three respiratory viruses are currently circulating in the U.S: the flu, COVID-19 and RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, said Dr. Ashish Jha, leader of the White House response to COVID-19.
Jha said during several morning TV show appearances that the combination of a flu shot and updated COVID booster now will help people avoid serious illness and stay out of the hospital as they get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving and other holidays with friends and family.
RSV has been affecting children, but there is not shot available to treat it, though companies are working to develop one, he said.
“So if people went out and got their vaccines, we could really get through this without getting into a lot of trouble,” Jha said Tuesday on “CBS Mornings.”
“If you’re relying on your old vaccine from nine months ago or an infection from a year ago, that’s probably not going to be good enough and that’s one of the reasons we’re urging all Americans — but particularly older Americans, particularly seniors — to get the new updated COVID vaccine, because I do think it’s going to make a really big difference,” Jha said on “Today” on NBC.
Biden had to wait a few months to get his updated COVID booster because he was infected, then reinfected, with COVID-19 over the summer.