Towards an annual anti-Covid reminder campaign in the United States

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Washington (AFP) – Except in the event of the virus evolving too quickly, the American health authorities declared on Tuesday that they wished to carry out only one anti-Covid reminder campaign per year in the future, on the model of vaccination against the flu.

The United States authorized last week the new version of the vaccines against Covid-19 from Pfizer and Moderna targeting the Omicron variant, and more specifically the BA.4 and BA.5 lineages currently in circulation in the country.

The doses have already started to be distributed, so that the vast recall campaign planned by the government to contain a possible new wave this winter can start as early as this week.

Unless a “very different” variant suddenly emerges, “we will likely be moving towards a vaccination cadence similar to that of the annual flu shot, with updated anti-Covid booster doses to stick to the latest circulating strain. “, said at a press conference Dr. Anthony Fauci, adviser to the White House.

This perspective could help boosters be more accepted, when only half of eligible people took their first booster dose in the United States.

However, frail populations, such as the elderly or immunocompromised, may need more frequent boosters, Fauci said.

Americans are encouraged to get their flu shot at the same time.

“I really think that’s why God gave us two arms, one for the flu vaccine, and one for the Covid vaccine,” said Ashish Jha, who coordinates the action of the US executive against coronavirus.

“We expect millions of people to be injected this month,” he added.

According to Health Minister Xavier Becerra, more than 90% of Americans will live within 5 miles of a vaccination site by the end of the week.

The recall targeting Pfizer’s Omicron has been authorized for anyone over the age of 12, and from the age of 18 for that of Moderna. It should be done at least two months after a previous dose.

The BA.4 and BA.5 variants currently account for more than 99% of the approximately 80,000 new daily infections in the United States.

According to projections, about 100,000 hospitalizations and 9,000 deaths could be avoided if the anti-Covid reminders were carried out in the same proportion as those against the flu this fall, underlined the director of the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), Rochelle Walensky.

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