US President Joe Biden is scheduled to receive another booster of the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, urging Americans to get theirs to ensure a healthy holiday season. On March 30, he had received the second booster dose, fourth in total.
Biden planned to appear Tuesday at the White House with doctors leading the US government’s efforts against the spread of the coronavirus. With them will also be executives from several major pharmacy chains, who are renewing efforts to get people boosted with the COVID-19 vaccine that has been reformulated to target the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants of omicron, the strains most dominant in the United States.
The US president had to wait a few months to get the updated booster of the COVID-19 vaccine because he was infected, and then re-infected, with the coronavirus disease during the summer.
More than 20 million people, including nearly 1 in 5 older adults, have already received the updated COVID vaccine, according to the White House.
Biden is expected to again ask business, education and civic leaders to do more to encourage their communities to get updated vaccines, which are free.
Three respiratory viruses are currently circulating in the United States: influenza, 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 appearances on morning TV shows that the combination of the flu vaccine and the updated COVID booster will now help people avoid serious illness and stay out of the hospital as they prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving and more parties with friends and family.
RSV has been affecting children, but there is no vaccine available to treat it, although companies are working to develop one, he said. “So if people went out and got vaccinated, we could get through this without getting into too much trouble,” Jha said Tuesday on “CBS Mornings.”
“If you rely on your old vaccine from nine months ago or an infection from a year ago, it probably won’t be enough, and that’s one of the reasons we’re urging all Americans — but older Americans in particular — to especially the elderly — to get the new updated COVID vaccine, because I think it’s going to make a really big difference,” Jha said on NBC’s “Today” show.