CDC renews push for COVID boosters as data show they protect

New York: Americans who got the updated COVID booster shots are better protected against symptomatic infection than those who haven’t — at least for now, U.S. health officials said Tuesday.

Updated boosters rolled out by Pfizer and rival Moderna in September have been a hard sell for vaccine-weary Americans. Only about 13 per cent of U.S. adults so far have gotten a “bivalent” shot that targets the omicron strain and the original coronavirus. On Tuesday, White House officials announced a renewed push for more Americans to get the latest shots.

The first look at the new shots’ real-world effectiveness shows they work, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert.

Speaking at a White House briefing expected to be his last before he retires from the government at the end of the year, Fauci said what “may be the final message I give you from this podium is that please, for your own safety, for that of your family, get your updated COVID shot as soon as you’re eligible.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed about 360,000 COVID tests given to people with coronavirus-like symptoms at drugstores around the country between September, when the new boosters rolled out, and early November. Researchers compared the vaccination status of those who wound up having COVID with those who didn’t.

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