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Are Americans open to yearly COVID vaccines? Health experts hope so

The White House COVID Response Team said once a year shots are in the future.

ATLANTA — Most Americans forgo their yearly flu vaccine, raising concern among some medical experts who fear resistance to an annual COVID vaccine.

Updated COVID boosters are now available in many pharmacies. The signal from the White House COVID Response Team is that we’ve moved into a new era of the COVID pandemic, where multiple shots each year are not necessary.

“We want to get in the cadence and rhythm of once a year getting an annual shot,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci.

After suffering through with COVID, Atlanta resident Jamie Howard is prepared to roll up her sleeve every year. Some of her friends are not on the same page.

“It’s part of life like a flu shot now,” Howard said. “Most of my friends have had all the boosters so far. I think it’s the continued part they’re all a little anxious about.”

Less than half of all Americans get their yearly flu shot. Desire for COVID shots seems to have flattened. Seventy-four-percent of America had at least one shot in the arm at the start of the year. Nine months later, it’s 79%.

Dr. Ashley Hannings of UGA’s College of Pharmacy said many people have started to downplay the impact of COVID much like they do each year with the flu.

“I think my concern is the changing attitude,” she said. “I think health officials are going to have to be very intentional with their messaging and communicate things very clearly if they want strong uptake."

Hannings added that health officials need to remind Americans of the chaos at the start of the COVID pandemic and the role vaccines played in getting us where we are now.

“We are in a much better place than we were two years ago when everything hit, but we still have people ending up in the hospital or getting very sick,” she said. “The way to stop that from spreading is for more and more people to get vaccinated.”

Jamie Howard is on board.

“If it’s going to happen every year it’s going to happen every year,” said Howard.

The coming months will reveal if the majority of Americans feel the same way.

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