Before Halloween, Americans should acquire the new Omicron-specific COVID-19 vaccination to enhance their immunity levels in anticipation of a possible winter illness outbreak.
Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, told ABC News on Friday that people should ideally get their vaccination between mid-September and mid-October, but “no later than the end of October for best protection” ahead of the holidays.
He advised anyone who recently contracted the coronavirus to hold off on taking the new vaccine for around 90 days, or three months.
Jha cited the new vaccination as a key element in the prediction of a possible rise in the upcoming months. He pointed out that some models predict a significant rise, while others predict only a “small bump” as a result of people receiving an improved vaccine in the upcoming two months.
You can actually affect what occurs if you get these vaccinations, he said. “What is going to happen is not predetermined. It will significantly help to prevent illnesses at a low level if a big fraction of Americans acquire these immunizations.
Out of a total order of around 170 million doses, the federal government has so far provided 30 million vaccines to the states for distribution, according to ABC News. Jha expressed his satisfaction that some states are already submitting reorders as of Friday, when 25 million doses had already shipped.
In the upcoming days, he said, the most recent statistics on the number of persons taking the updated shot will be made public. According to the most recent CDC data, only 49% of people aged 5 and older have had a first booster shot, even though 84% of them have received at least one vaccination dose and 72% are thought to be completely vaccinated.
Similar to an annual flu shot, the updated bivalent shot may be all that Americans need for the upcoming year, even if a different variety replaces the dominant BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variants and the original COVID-19 strain, according to Jha.
According to the information available, he stated, “I feel very sure that even an Omicron-like variant is unlikely to lead us to conclude that [young, healthy] people are going to benefit from a second shot within a year for the average-risk person.” “I believe that is unnecessary and impractical.”
The new booster was approved by the CDC at the beginning of September, and shots started to be administered following Labor Day weekend. Both the Pfizer and the Moderna versions are available to anyone who are 12 years of age and older. This fall, the CDC and FDA are anticipated to approve vaccinations for kids under the age of 12, according to ABC News.
The New York Times’ data tracker shows that as of right now, 62,000 COVID-19 cases are being reported daily, which is the fewest cases since early May. Nearly every state has flat or declining case numbers.
The data tracker reveals that hospitalizations are also falling, with 32,000 people currently receiving care in hospitals and 4,000 in intensive care units. Daily death reports average around 465.
According to ABC News, national COVID-19 wastewater levels have also started to rise again after falling at the end of the summer, which could mean another upswing is about to occur.
In the past two weeks, around 50% of wastewater sites in the US have reported an increase, up from 40% of sites reporting increases in the previous month. The Northeast reported the greatest amounts in any location, with the uptick appearing to be widespread across the nation.
“Predictably, one of the main signs of an impending COVID upsurge has been an increase in viral content observed in wastewater. In fact, John Brownstein, an epidemiologist and chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital, told ABC News that wastewater surveillance may be one of the last high-quality datasets public health can rely on given the difficulties in case estimating and the drop in testing.
We should still interpret this signal as a warning that the pandemic has not ended, he added, even though there are significant constraints in the way these data were gathered and processed.