'Updated Covid Vaccine Will Help Restore Protection Waned Since Previous Vaccination'

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Getting an updated Covid vaccine this fall will help restore protection that has waned since previous vaccination, according to the White House Covid-19 Response Team.

"Laboratory data suggests that the addition of the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 spike protein components may help broaden the spectrum of variants the immune system is ready to respond to," CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at a press briefing Tuesday.

"Modeling projections show that an uptake of updated COVID-19 vaccine doses similar to an annual flu vaccine coverage early this fall could prevent as many as 100,000 hospitalizations, 9,000 deaths, and save billions of dollars in direct medical cost," she told reporters.

Last week, following FDA's emergency use authorization, CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended Pfizer-BioNTech updated COVID-19 vaccine for people above 12 and Moderna updated COVID-19 vaccine for 18 year-old and above.

CDC and ACIP recommend that everyone, regardless of the number or type of previous doses, receives a Covid-19 bivalent vaccine this fall. People can receive an updated vaccine dose at least two months after their last COVID-19 vaccine dose.

"As 99 percent of circulating viruses in the United States are BA.5 or BA.4, updating our COVID-19 vaccines to match the circulating variants helps us to better be protected against these variants and future variants that might be closely related to Omicron," Walensky said.

Health Secretary Xavier Becerra announced that millions of pre-ordered doses of advanced vaccine are being shipped to tens of thousands of locations nationwide.

By the end of this week, more than 90 percent of Americans will live within five miles of these new updated available vaccines.

Americans can start to visit Vaccines.gov to find a location near them with new updated vaccines.

CVS, Walgreens, and other pharmacy partners began making appointments over the weekend, and we expect appointments to be widely available within the next week or so, Becerra said.

"As we work to deliver vaccines equitably, our focus is on reaching the highest-risk Americans, particularly people ages 50 and up," he added.

in the coming weeks, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will reach out to more than 16 million people who will receive Medicare emails to share information on these updated vaccines, including when and how to get them.

Becerra said the Biden administration has closed rates of disparity in getting access to these vaccines throughout the country. "We have closed a 10-point disparity gap in our nation's vaccine rate between white Americans and Black and Latino communities."

In September, the local chapters of the national Parent Teacher Association will host "Shots to Go" vaccination clinics.

Organizations with strong reach among racial and ethnic minority communities, including the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Montague Cobb, and the National Hispanic Pastors Alliance, will host community health expos and vaccine drives throughout U.S. cities.

Faith-based groups, such as the Women's Missionary Society Foundation, will host a series of vaccine events at AME churches in several states.

And groups with strong reach across rural communities, such as Healthy Trucking of America, will host pop-up clinics.

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