The updated vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech (NYSE:/PFE, Nasdaq: BNTX) and Moderna (Nasdaq:MRNA) are “incredibly effective,” Biden said. “But the truth is, not enough people are getting [them].”
“Now is the time to [get the new bivalent booster] — by Halloween, if you can,” Biden said. “That’s the best time. And that way, you can be protected for the holidays.”
COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations have risen in Europe in recent weeks. In prior surges, the Continent has often seen an uptick in COVID-19 infections before the U.S. does.
Speaking alongside members of the White House COVID-19 Response Team, Biden said Americans could help prevent the surge in infections that have occurred over the past two winters by receiving the updated booster.
To date, approximately 20 million Americans have received the updated COVID-19 bivalent boosters, according to CDC. That figure equates to 8.5% of those who are eligible.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky has echoed Biden’s advice, stating that the updated bivalent booster represent “a critical step in our fight against COVID-19.”
“An updated vaccine can help bolster protection for our children this winter,” she said.
A recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal criticized the U.S. government’s decision to spend billions on updated boosters that “nobody wants.”
The article notes that the U.S. government has seen 82.1 million vaccine doses go to waste between December 2020 and mid-May 2022.
Several omicron subvariants are beginning to spread in the U.S., including BQ.1 and BQ.1.1.
CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) estimated that if approximately half of the eligible public got an updated booster, the U.S. could prevent 25 million infections, one million hospitalizations and 100,000 deaths by March 31, 2022.
Pfizer and Moderna are in the process of extending availability for the updated boosters to all children eligible for COVID-19 vaccination.