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Fauci warns people with Covid are ‘getting in trouble’ if they aren’t up to date on vaccines

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More than two years into the coronavirus pandemic, Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said he understands people are exhausted but is urging those who aren’t up to date on vaccines to get the shots – this time as Omicron’s newest subvariant, BA.5, has become the dominant strain in the United States.

Fauci told Los Angeles radio station KNX News earlier this week that people who are unvaccinated and those with underlying medical conditions are at greatest risk of complications from Covid-19, but others are not exempt.

“If they don’t get vaccinated or boosted, they’re going to be in trouble,” he said.

Biden officials are pushing for the use of booster shots and antivirals against BA.5

BA.5, which has been dubbed “the worst version of the virus,” accounts for more than 85 percent of Covid-19 cases, with more than 41 percent of US counties showing high Covid-19 community levels, it said the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some health experts have expressed concern that not enough people are vaccinated, especially as the nation has backed away from restrictions and mandates like masking to stem the spread of the disease.

In fact, the majority of the US population is not up-to-date on vaccines – defined by the CDC as having completed the primary course and any booster doses recommended for that person. CDC data shows that 67 percent of the US population is fully vaccinated, but only 48 percent received the first booster shot. Only 32 percent of people aged 50 and over – eligible for a second booster shot – received that extra dose.

Fauci said it’s important to vaccinate and fortify as many people as possible so the virus doesn’t have “ample opportunity to spread freely.” If the virus is given that opportunity, he said, it can mutate further.

“It’s about you as an individual, but it’s also about the community responsibility to get this outbreak under control,” he told the radio station.

With the spread of the BA.5 variant, the risk of reinfection with the corona virus increases

However, it is not uncommon for vaccinated people to become infected. President Biden, who is vaccinated and doubly boosted, recently tested positive for the virus – and then got a rebound infection – despite having “very mild symptoms”.

Health experts, including Fauci, have repeatedly done so pointed out that research shows the shots still protect against serious complications, including hospitalization and death. More than 126,000 new cases were reported daily as of July 27, with 6,340 hospitalizations and 364 deaths, according to CDC data.

“Right now we have boosters that are very effective in reducing every aspect of the infection,” Fauci told KNX News. “A virus like BA.5, the most common virus, is so transmissible that it often breaks through the protection of the vaccine. But the vaccines and the boosters are still doing a very good job of preventing you from progressing to a serious illness.”

Additionally, a booster targeting the Omicron variant is expected to be introduced in the fall to expand immunity.

“You don’t want Covid to dominate people’s lives in this country or around the world, but you don’t want by wishing it was behind us and it’s in the rear-view mirror not to be doing things that would be prudent.” said Fauci.

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