MIAMI – The White House Coronavirus Response Team held a virtual briefing Tuesday and addressed the new highly contagious BA.5 variant.
Ashish Jha urged a “simple message” to Americans 50 and older to get another boost if they haven’t gotten a shot this year, saying “it could save your life.”
“For people who are 50 years of age or older, my message is simple. If you have not gotten a vaccine shot in the year 2022… please go get another vaccine shot,” he said.
He’s also urged Americans to test before gathering indoors or meeting high risk people.
“You don’t want to be the person who brings COVID to your grandparents, or COVID to a wedding,” Jha said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said that new variants aren’t a reason to “panic” or “disrupt our lives” but urged people to take them seriously and added that talks are still ongoing about expanding second boosters.
Jha said the Biden administration is still in talks with other companies beyond Pfizer for bivalent boosters for the fall.
Rochelle Walensky spoke about additional boosters and said that based on previous intervals, likely a boost now means another shot by winter even at longer time horizon.
“CDC’s weekly Nowcast estimate indicates that BA.5 is predicted to represent 65% of circulating variants, and BA.4 is predicted to represent 16%,” she said. “Omicron sub-lineage BA.2.12.1 is predicted to be most of the remainder of circulating virus at about 17%. These data will meet be made available later today on CDC’s COVID Data Tracker.”