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President Joe Biden urges vaccine boosters: 'Now is the time'

President Joe Biden prepares receives a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which targets the Omicron BA.4/BA.5 subvariants, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. Photo by Al Drago/UPI
1 of 2 | President Joe Biden prepares receives a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which targets the Omicron BA.4/BA.5 subvariants, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. Photo by Al Drago/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 25 (UPI) -- President Joe Biden announced a renewed effort to urge Americans to get their updated COVID-19 vaccines before the holiday season, while also getting his own booster on Tuesday.

Speaking at the White House, Biden urged Americans to get their updated vaccines by Halloween, which is Monday. He said a new shot was necessary to ensure protection and that new deaths are preventable.

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"Your old vaccine will not give you maximum protection," Biden said. "But this year, nearly every death is preventable. Now is the time to do it."

Biden then sat down and received his own booster shot.

The president also touted the work that pharmaceutical companies are doing to encourage people to get vaccinated. Walgreens is working with Uber and DoorDash to provide free delivery of Paxlovid, an oral COVID-19 treatment, to people living in underserved communities.

In a statement, the White House also announced new education and engagement efforts to reach Black and Latino audiences, as well as seniors, according to a statement from the White House.

Part of the targeting will focus on digital ads on tech platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat and Reddit, as well as cultural ads.

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"New football and country music-themed radio ads geared at reaching rural communities will run in 15 local markets," the White House said.

The Department of Health and Human Services also plans to launch the #VaxUpAmerica Family Vaccine Tour, which will encourage families to get updated vaccines in time for the holidays.

In the next week, Medicare will send an email reminder to 16 million people with information about the updated COVID-19 vaccines and how to get them.

The increased vaccine push comes a week after the FDA authorized emergency use of a third dose of Novavax's Adjuvanted vaccine as a COVID-19 booster shot for adults.

"The U.S. now has access to the Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine, Adjuvanted, the first protein-based option, as a booster," Stanley C. Erck, president and CEO of Novavax, said in a statement.

Novavax said the vaccine was developed to protect against the original COVID-19 strain and will also induce an immune response against the Omicron BA.5 variant.

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