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COVID response coordinator: People ‘confused’ about whether they need updated booster

White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Ashish Jha speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington
Susan Walsh/Associated Press
White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Ashish Jha speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington.

Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said Americans seem “confused” about whether they need an updated COVID-19 vaccine booster, urging people to get another shot if it’s been six months since their last one.

Jha told ABC’s “This Week” co-anchor Martha Raddatz that people are still “learning about the new COVID vaccine,” referring to the bivalent booster that now targets both the original strain of the novel coronavirus and the omicron variant.

“There are still a lot of people that are confused about whether they need one or not,” he said. “We’re being very clear about this — if you’ve not gotten a vaccine in the last six months, it is essential to go out and get the new, updated bivalent.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now recommending bivalent booster shots for children as young as six months old.

Jha’s remarks come as health officials have recorded a more than 40 percent increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations since Thanksgiving. The U.S. is also struggling with a deadly flu season and a surge in RSV, another respiratory illness that can be life-threatening for children.

Jha on Sunday said the”substantial increase” of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations is being seen across most of the country.

As in previous winters, he said the coronavirus was spreading through the cold and dry air and because more Americans were gathering together indoors.

“The good news here is that we can prevent those infections from turning into serious illness if people go out and get that updated bivalent vaccine,” he said. “We’re making the case that we’re at a point where it’s safe to gather, but you still have things to do. If we don’t do those things, obviously things can get much worse.”

Tags Ashish Jha Asish Jha bivalent booster shots COVID-19 Flu Martha Raddatz White House

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