Senate

Physician-lawmakers team up to urge boosters

Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kas.)
Greg Nash

A bipartisan, bicameral coalition of doctors in Congress launched a radio PSA on Tuesday that aims to increase COVID-19 vaccine booster shot participation, especially among seniors and those with underlying health conditions.

Sens. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), along with Reps. Ami Bera (D-Calif.), Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.) and Kim Schrier (D-Wash.), took part in the initiative.

“We come to you today from both sides of the aisle. With COVID cases back on the rise and only about a quarter of eligible Americans having taken the booster, I urge you to talk with your trusted doctor or pharmacist as soon as possible about taking action,” Schrier says in the radio message.

Barrasso and Ruiz laid out three reasons why individuals should consider getting a COVID-19 booster shot this holiday season: because the effectiveness of initial vaccination series drop to roughly 50 percent after six months, and because boosted individuals are less likely to be hospitalized from COVID-19 or die from the illness.

“For now, it appears the delta variant will still dominate. But, the good news is we know the booster will help prevent hospitalizations and save lives,” Ruiz added.

The PSA from the group of physician-lawmakers comes as the U.S. is seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases, driven in part by the omicron variant. 

Bera brought attention to the new variant, noting that while there is still much to learn about the new strain “you will likely benefit from the COVID booster as well.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed on Monday that the omicron strain, which was first identified in South Africa last month, now accounts for 73.2 percent of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. The variant has a large number of mutations and is highly transmissible.

Bera also encouraged individuals to eat healthy, exercise daily, sleep for seven hours at night and avoid stress, noting that “whether you are exposed to delta or omicron, the flu, or common cold” those practices “will serve you well.”

“Like my grandmother always said, ‘If you have your health, you have everything.’ This holiday season, the best gift you can give the people you love is the gift of life. Get your booster,” Marshall added.

Tags Ami Bera COVID-19 vaccine booster John Barrasso Kim Schrier physician lawmakers Raul Ruiz Roger Marshall

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