WASHINGTON, D.C. – The White House’s U.S. Chief Coronavirus Response Coordinator issued a grim warning to individuals who are unvaccinated against COVID-19 as experts are expecting a huge surge of new cases this winter due to the new and highly-transmissible omicron variant.
During a December 17 press briefing, White House COVID coordinator Jeff Zients lauded those who had received the jab, but predicted a dire consequences, including a winter of “illness and death” for the remaining 40 percent of Americans who have not.
“We are intent on not letting Omicron disrupt work and school for the vaccinated. You’ve done the right thing, and we will get through this,” he said. “For the unvaccinated, you’re looking at a winter of severe illness and death for yourselves, your families, and the hospitals you may soon overwhelm.”
Zients stated that the current vaccines available are effective against the omicron variant, and can either prevent infection altogether or reduce the severity of COVID-19 if one does become infected.
“Our vaccines work against Omicron, especially for people who get booster shots when they are eligible,” he said. “If you are vaccinated, you could test positive. But if you do get COVID, your case will likely be asymptomatic or mild.”
White House chief medical advisor Anthony Fauci, who was also at the briefing, stressed his belief that booster shots are of paramount importance, stating that receiving a full two doses of vaccine alone simply won’t cut it anymore.
“The optimum protection is fully vaccinated plus a boost,” Fauci said. “So the bottom line of what we’ve been telling you all along: It is critical to get vaccinated. If you are vaccinated, it is critical for optimal protection to get boosted.”
At one point, Fauci was asked if the White House was considering encouraging people to get booster shots sooner than the currently recommended six months after becoming fully vaccinated.
“It’s on the table. You still get protection that’s reasonably good against hospitalization [with two shots]. We want to make that better with the booster,” Fauci replied. “Whether or not we’re going to change what the time interval between your last vaccination and your boost, we always have these on the table for discussion, but right now there has not been a decision on that.”