President Joe Biden’s administration is making a renewed push for COVID-19 booster shots for those eligible, pointing to the increased protection they provide against the serious illness as the countrywide extreme The infectious BA.5 variant spreads.
Initiatives include direct access to high-risk groups, especially senior citizens, encouraging them to get “up to date” on their vaccinations with phone calls, emails and new public service announcements.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans age 5 and older should get a booster five months after their initial primary series. It also states that people age 50 and older, or those who are immunocompromised, should get a second booster four months after their first booster. According to the CDC, millions of eligible Americans have not received their first booster, and of those who received their first booster, only 30% have received their second booster.
The CDC has released a “booster calculator” to help people determine when to get a booster shot.
Biden, who received his second booster shot in March, tested positive for the virus last week and has recovered after experiencing mild symptoms for five days.
“Given the rise of the Omicron ba.5 variant, it is essential that Americans stay up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccine – with booster shots – to achieve the highest level of protection,” the White House said. . COVID-19 is killing about 366 people in the US every day, most of whom are not up to date on their vaccinations. The administration says that those deaths can be prevented to a large extent.
In May, according to the CDC, before the dominance of the BA.5 variant in the US, people over 50 who only received their first booster shot were four times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those with two or more. times more. booster dose.
“Currently, many Americans are under-vaccinated, which means they are not up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Valensky said this month. “Staying up to date on your COVID-19 vaccines provides the best protection against serious consequences.”
As part of the new booster push, the White House says pharmacies in the federal pharmacy program will expand access to people eligible for a second booster dose. It said Walgreens would make more than 600,000 phone calls, and Rite Aid would send about 9 million emails encouraging people to take the shot.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will also reach 600 nursing homes that have reported booster uptake rates of less than 80% to offer additional federal aid, including setting up on-site clinics and educating people and medical providers. Including sending infectious disease specialists. Benefits of shots. CMS will also email booster reminders to the 16 million people who receive their Medicare emails and has added a booster reminder message to its 1-800-Medicare call-in line.
The US Department of Health and Human Services will also continue to run public service announcements encouraging boosters during commercial breaks on shows with significant audiences among seniors.