White House Covid coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said Friday that people should get the new, updated Covid-19 booster before Halloween to facilitate protection before another pandemic winter.
The sooner the better, he said in an interview with ABC News ahead of the holidays, asking people to get a boost between mid-September and mid-October before the holidays “but after the end of October for maximum protection.” His own vaccine.
For people who have recently had Covid, Jha suggests following the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and waiting at least 90 days or three months before getting the updated vaccine. Other experts say waiting four to six months allows people to mount a strong immune response to the vaccine.
The longer you wait, the greater the chance of reinfection, and ultimately, “it’s very difficult to time the market,” he said.
Jha, who received the shot Friday morning at a clinic in Washington, D.C., along with fellow gentleman Doug Emhoff, described the new vaccine as a critical lift in this winter’s forecast for the spread of COVID.
While some modeling shows the potential for major bleeding this winter, others show only a “modest bump” — and the difference depends on how many people get an improved vaccine before the cold winter months, this time. The virus has increased over the past two years.
“If you’re going to get these vaccines, you can really influence what happens,” said Jaha.
“There’s nothing wrong with what’s going to happen. If a large number of Americans go out and get these vaccines, it’s going to make a huge difference in reducing infections.”
So far, the government has distributed 30 million vaccines to the states out of a total order of 170 million vaccines between the two companies Pfizer and Moderna.
Twenty-five million vaccines had been shipped as of Friday, according to the White House, and Jeha said he was pleased to see that states were already placing re-orders.
But the latest numbers on how many people signed up for the shoot are not expected until next week, Jha said. And while the booster campaign is expected to increase in the coming weeks, past measurements show Americans are lagging behind: Fewer than half of vaccinated people have received their first booster, and one-third of those over 50 have received a second booster. He shot after qualifying last spring.
The new shot, which targets both major variants, BA.4/BA.5, and the first strain of Covid, is similar to the annual flu vaccine and offers the potential and maximum protection to be the only shot Americans need this year as it relates to the currently circulating virus.
While experts warn that another new variation could always invalidate the plan by introducing new factors such as high prevalence or immune evasion, Jha said the country can already give young and healthy people one injection a year and not even think about it. A new difference will change it.
For those under 50, they qualified for boosters in late 2021, just as Omicron was gaining steam. Those people were able to qualify for another booster shot this fall with the introduction of the improved bivalent booster — a year later.
Based on everything we have, I feel very confident that for an average risk person, even an omicron-like difference wouldn’t lead us to suggest that. [young, healthy] People are going to benefit from the second shot in a year,” said Jha.
That said, older people may see their vaccination coverage wane, as seen throughout the outbreak, warranting another shot sometime in the spring to restore protection, Jha said.
Although there is no evidence from large clinical trials to show how much protection is better, Jha believes there is a “strong consensus” that they are better.
Regarding the safety and efficacy of the millions of vaccines already distributed, as well as clinical trials on bivalent vaccines, targeting the previous Omicron sub-variant BA.1, vaccine companies later forgot in favor of the new strains. , BA.4 and BA.5.
“If you look at the totality of the evidence, everything we know about the first vaccines, if you look at the way the BA.1 bivalent clinical trials show us how it creates an immune response, everything points to BA.5. The bivalents should provide a much higher level of protection,” Jaha said.
The CDC signed off on the two-dose booster vaccine in early September, and the rollout began after Labor Day weekend. The Pfizer bivalent booster is available to everyone over the age of 12, while the Modena bivalent booster is available to everyone over the age of 18.
Trials for people younger than 12 are expected this fall, though vaccine companies must first submit data on younger age groups to the Food and Drug Administration, which will review approval and ultimately a recommendation from the CDC.