President Joe Biden got an updated Covid-19 vaccine booster vaccine on Tuesday and asked other Americans to follow his example ahead of winter, saying that no-one else should have to die from COVID-19.
Biden, 79, contracted virus three months ago with mild symptoms. He then tested positive again a few days later in what was referred to as a “rebound case.” Biden received his last booster at the end of March.
Biden, who was given his shot in front of the media and major pharmacy leaders, announced that efforts were underway to get Americans boosted with the new version of the vaccine ahead of major holiday travel periods at Thanksgiving and over Christmas and New Year.
“I’m calling on all Americans… to get their shot just as soon as they can,” he said. “There’s still hundreds of people dying each day from Covid, hundreds. That number’s likely to rise this winter, but… this year, nearly every death is preventable.”
Biden said the government along with major pharmacies were working together to ensure that the vaccine remained both free, and widely available.
“Almost everyone who will die from Covid this year will not be up to date on the shots” or have taken the government-funded therapeutics when they get infected, he said.
Biden asked Americans to set previous political debates aside and “start fresh as a country, put all the old battles over Covid behind us, put all the partisan politics aside.”
“We’ve already lost one million Americans to Covid,” Biden added.
The White House’s COVID-19 coordinator, Dr. Ashish Jha, cautioned that there could be “trouble” with child hospitalizations due to RSV and other viruses but that this could be prevented if people step up and get their flu shot and updated booster.
“We’re seeing the rise of three viruses circulating at increasing levels: RSV, flu, influenza and Covid. The good news here is that we’re not powerless against this. For two of them, we have very high-quality vaccines, both influenza and Covid, so the first and most important thing people can do is go out and get vaccinated, because that will keep people kids, adults, everybody out of the hospital at very high rates,” Jha said on CNN’s “New Day.”
He also explained that new variants are “incredibly immune evasive” but remains “confident” the bivalent vaccine “will hold up.”
“Our vaccines should do a good job of holding up against this new subvariant. You know, where the virus goes – this has been a highly kind of unpredictable virus. We’ve seen it evolve over time. And the good news is that we have, as the virus changes, we’ve been able to keep up. So the new vaccines keep up. I suspect that there may be another vaccine next fall, but we’re getting into a tempo where, for the majority of people, it’s going to be a once a year updated vaccine,” Jha added.
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