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White House: Get Vaccinated by Halloween

The latest on updated booster eligibility for children, expectations for winter

October 12, 2022

Ahead of the winter holidays, the White House is urging all eligible Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the flu.

This week, the nation’s infectious disease leaders issued a call to action to all eligible Americans to get vaccinated by Halloween to ensure they are protected heading into the respiratory virus season.

“Get your new flu shot and get your new COVID shot today,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, White House COVID-19 response coordinator. “If Americans did that, we could save hundreds of lives each day this winter.”

Here’s what you need to know:

  • A winter surge?:  The vaccination rate and the spread of new variants will determine the severity of COVID-19 this winter, officials said.
    • Modeling:  Previous infections and vaccine immunity could lead to a less severe COVID-19 winter, but new variants could pose challenges if they evade immunity from previous infection and vaccines
    • By the numbers:  The seven-day averages for COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are 3,345 and 338, respectively. The peak seven-day national average for hospitalizations occurred during January 2021 (21,525)
  • Updated eligibility:  The FDA today authorized and the CDC recommended the updated bivalent booster shot for children as young as 5. The Pfizer-BioNTech booster will be available for children 5 and older, while Moderna's will be available for children 6 and older.
  • Variant tracker:  The FDA and CDC are monitoring the potential for subvariants that could evade treatments or immune infection. BA.5 remains the dominant variant (80%) in the U.S., but BA.4.6 and BF.7 have been gaining ground in recent weeks.
  • Booster uptake:  About 11.5 million people have received the bivalent booster dose, according to CDC data.
  • The bottom line:  “If you are up to date with your vaccines and if you get treated, if you have a breakthrough infection, your risk of dying from COVID is now close to zero,” Dr. Jha said. “I really think that is remarkable progress.”

HAP joins organizations around the country recommending everyone stay up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines and get a flu shot this fall. Staying up to date on your vaccinations will help ensure you have full protection as we head into the winter holidays.

Additional information about the bivalent booster shots is available online.