Dr Anthony Fauci urges Americans to get Covid booster 'for your own safety'

White House launches six-week effort to increase booster uptake for winter months

Dr Ashish Jha and Dr Anthony Fauci attend the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington. AFP
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Dr Anthony Fauci, the leading US expert on infectious diseases, on Tuesday took to the White House press briefing podium to speak about the national Covid-19 booster vaccination drive, as his retirement approaches.

“My final message — maybe the final message I give you from this podium — is that please, for your own safety, for that of your family, get your updated Covid-19 shot as soon as you're eligible, to protect yourself, your family and your community,” he said.

Only 11.3 per cent of the population over the age of five has received the updated booster, US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data show.

The newly designed shot is a bivalent vaccine dose targeting the original coronavirus strain as well as the Omicron subvariants.

White House Covid Response Task Force co-ordinator Dr Ashish Jha announced a weekslong programme to get more Americans boosted before the winter months, when more people travel and spend time indoors.

He said that public health advertisements will be aired during the World Cup.

Dr Jha also announced there will be vaccination clinics at senior centres, nursing homes, community health spaces and universities in the weeks to come.

New CDC data released on Tuesday found that the new vaccine dose provides moderate protection against the disease, but did not say whether it gave better protection over previously designed doses.

Dr Fauci has led the National Institutes of Health for decades and will retire this December.

“I don’t want to see anybody die from Covid, whether you’re a far-right Republican or far-left Democrat, doesn’t make any difference to me,” he said.

Recent CDC projections show that there will be an increase of deaths from Covid-19 in the coming months.

More than one million people in the US have died from the disease so far.

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Updated: November 22, 2022, 7:57 PM