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Updated COVID vaccine booster for Omicron already has 4.4 million weapons

US health officials say 4.4 million Americans have rolled up their sleeves updated COVID-19 enhanced snapshot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the figures on Thursday as public health experts lamented President Joe Biden’s recent remark that “the pandemic is over.”

The White House says more than 5 million people have received the new boosters by their own estimates, which has led to reporting delays in the states.

Health experts say it is too early to predict whether demand will correspond to the 171 million doses of new boosters the US ordered in the fall.

“Nobody can look at how well we absorb the flu at this point and it’s like, ‘Oh, what a disaster. “If we start to see a big increase in the number of cases, I think we will see a lot of people getting vaccinated (new COVID).”

The temporary shortage of Moderna Vaccines have caused some pharmacies to cancel appointments while encouraging people to reschedule Pfizer Vaccine. The issue is expected to be resolved when government regulators inspect and ship batches of vaccine doses for distribution.

“I expect this to improve in the coming weeks,” said White House COVID-19 Coordinator Dr Ashish Jha. “We have been thinking and talking about this as an annual vaccine like the flu vaccine. The flu vaccine season starts in late September and early October. We are just starting our education campaign. So we hope to see, despite the fact that this is a strong start, we really expect this to grow stronger. “

Some Americans planning to get the injection, which is designed to target the most common strains of omicrons, said they were waiting because they had recent COVID-19 or another booster. They are following public health advice to wait a few months to get the full benefit of their existing virus-fighting antibodies.

Others are scheduling shots closer to the holidays and winter months when respiratory viruses spread more easily.

Retired hospital chaplain Jeanie Murphy, 69, of Shawnee, Kansas, plans to get new booster injections in the weeks after she underwent some minor knee surgery. Her neighbors were delighted with what she saw on the Nextdoor app.

“There’s quite a bit of discussion going on among people who are willing to book an appointment,” says Murphy. “I find that very encouraging. For every one protester, 10 or 12 people jump in and say, ‘You’re crazy. You just need to take pictures. ‘”

Biden later acknowledged criticism of his remarks about the pandemic being over and made it clear that the pandemic “wasn’t out there”. The initial comment didn’t bother Murphy. She believes the disease has entered a steady state as “we will get the COVID shot in the fall just like we do the flu shot.”

Experts hope she’s right, but are waiting to see how contagious winter brings. The summer decline in cases, hospitalizations and deaths could be followed by another surge, Dowdy said.

Anthony Fauci, asked Thursday by a panel of biodefense experts what keeps him up at night, noted that half of vaccinated Americans never received the initial booster dose.

“We have a weakness in our population,” Fauci said. “I think we have to do better as a country.”

Some Americans who received the new vaccine said they were excited about the idea of ​​targeting the vaccine at the variants currently circulating.

Jeff Westling, 30, a lawyer in Washington, DC, said: “Give me all you can with science, one in each arm. He participates in the combat sport of jujitsu, so wanted to protect himself from possible infections from close contact. “I have no problem trusting the people tasked with reviewing the evidence.”

Meanwhile, Biden’s statement in the “60 Minutes” interview aired on Sunday echoed on social media.

“We are still having issues with COVID. We’re still doing a lot of work on it. But the pandemic is over,” Biden said as he walked through the Detroit auto show. “If you notice, no one is wearing a mask. Everyone seems to be in pretty good shape. And so I think it’s changing.”

Come Wednesday on FacebookWhen a Kansas health department posted a post where residents can find new booster shots, the first commenter wittily commented:

“But Biden says the pandemic is over.”

Josh Michaud, deputy director for global health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington, said the president’s statement, despite his efforts to clarify it, added to public confusion. .

“People aren’t sure when is the right time to strengthen. ‘Am I eligible?’ People are often confused about which option is right for them, or even where to find that information,” says Michaud.

“Whenever you have mixed messages, it’s detrimental to public health efforts,” says Michaud. “There were mixed messages from the president’s remarks, which made that job much more difficult.”

University of South Florida epidemiologist Jason Salemi said he was worried the president’s statement was self-deprecating and could stall containment efforts.

“That sonic wound has been there for a while, and it will spread like wildfire. And it will give the impression that ‘Oh, we don’t need to do anything,'” Salemi said.

“If we’re happy with 400 or 500 people dying a day from COVID, there’s a problem with that,” Salemi said. “We can absolutely do better because most of those deaths, if not all, are completely preventable with the tools we have.”

New York City photographer Vivienne Gucwa, 44, got the new enhanced shot Monday. She had COVID twice, once before a vaccine was available and again in May. She received two shots of Moderna, but never received the initial booster.

“When I saw the new intensifier could tackle the omicron variation, I thought, ‘I’m doing it,’” says Gucwa.

“I don’t want to deal with omicron again. I’m happy to see the boosters updated. “

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AP Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard and AP White House Correspondent Zeke Miller contributed. ___

The Associated Press Health and Science Division receives support from the Howard Hughes Health Institute’s Science Education Department. AP is solely responsible for all content.

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