Dr. Ashish Jha: Get COVID-19 boosters by Halloween 

High-risk individuals should get updated COVID-19 boosters immediately while the rest of the U.S. should aim to get them by Halloween, Ashish Jha, MD, White House COVID-19 response coordinator, said during a Sept. 12 episode of "In the Bubble with Andy Slavitt" podcast.

"Why Halloween? Because three weeks after Halloween is Thanksgiving, and there’s a lot of travel, and you’re seeing family, and you’re seeing friends," Dr. Jha said. "And [a] few weeks later, it’s the holidays."

The statement aligns with a Sept. 6 comment from Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who said that the White House anticipates COVID-19 shots to become annual. Dr. Jha said the reasoning behind this move is that experts expect the virus to follow a seasonal pattern.

"We know respiratory viruses circulate at much higher levels in the fall and winter," Dr. Jha said. "It's a really good time to get yourself protected. And even if you yourself are on the low-risk side, you're going to have family and friends you’re going to see. You don’t want to be the person who gives it to your grandma."

The CDC signed off on updated boosters targeting omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 on Sept. 1, which were issued emergency use authorizations by the FDA Aug. 31.

 

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