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The Biden administration on Tuesday encouraged all Americans to get an updated COVID shot as soon as possible, even if it means getting it the same day as an annual flu shot.
“The good news is you can get both your flu shot and COVID shot at the same time. It’s actually a good idea,” said White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha. “I really believe this is why God gave us two arms, one for the flu shot and the other one for the COVID shot.”
Jha spoke along with other members of the administration’s COVID-19 response team, including Biden’s chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci. Jha noted that the Food and Drug Administration just approved new vaccines for Americans aged 12 and up that are designed to fight the omicron variant that is now prevalent around the world.
“For the first time since December of 2020, these vaccines, our vaccines, have caught up with the virus,” Jha said. He added that the administration has been working over the last several days to distribute the new vaccines across the country.
Fauci said that barring the appearance of some unseen new variant, most Americans should be able to receive annual COVID vaccinations, a move away from the sporadic shots and boosters that were recommended earlier in the pandemic. But Fauci did say that some “particularly vulnerable groups” of Americans may still need “more frequent vaccination against COVID-19.”
Jha acknowledged that it “hasn’t always been super simple” for people to understand vaccine requirements but said the newer vaccines should make life easier for most.
“So, barring any new variant curveballs — we’ve seen curveballs — but barring those variant curveballs for a large majority of Americans, we are moving to a point where a single annual COVID shot should provide a high degree of protection against serious illness all year,” Jha said. “That’s an important milestone.”
Dr. Jha said the only exceptions to the administration’s recommendation for immediate vaccination are people who were recently infected or recently vaccinated. He said it’s “reasonable” for those people to wait a few months before getting a new shot.