Local and federal health experts discuss continued need for vaccination

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A new study from the CDC looking at more than half a million people has come to the conclusion that COVID vaccines remain effective. (Joel CarrettAAP Image viaAP)

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Vaccines continue to be top of mind to fight COVID-19 and its variants, as well as others like the flu.

The Biden Administration announced a new six-prong approach to combat COVID-19. The recently revealed path out of the pandemic will seek to keep schools open safely, increase testing, require masking and vaccinated the unvaccinated.

President Biden is appealing directly to state leaders to help the federal efforts, “I’m calling all governors to require vaccination for all teachers and staff. Some already have done so. We need more to step up. Vaccination requirements in schools are nothing new. They work.”

The Biden Administration is also encouraging people to get their flu shots. On Thursday, Moderna announced that it’s working on developing a combination COVID-19 booster and flu vaccine.

But for now, Biden Administration officials told KTSM 9 News they hope people will get their flu shots when they go in for their COVID-19 vaccines.

“It is really important for people to get the flu shot. This is an important preventative measure that we’ve been doing for decades and it’s important that we do that,” said Dr. Bechara Choucair, white house vaccinations coordinator. “The CDC has recommended that you could do co-administration, so if you’re due for your booster shot of the Pfizer or the Moderna, or if you’re getting your first dose, co-administration could happen according to the CDC.”

El Paso continues to boast a high-vaccination rate, but some concerns were raised following relaxed COVID-19 safety protocols in Juarez earlier this week.

Local health experts said that there’s not much to worry about for the unvaccinated.

“I don’t think that it’ll affect us directly. I think even if you were to see 20,000 to 30,000 people come across everyday, many of them will be vaccinated. And more importantly – and I’ve said this many times — the fact that we are a well-vaccinated city protects those who are vaccinated. Again, this is the most dangerous time not to be vaccinated. There are so many people in their 30s, 40s, and 50s in our hospitals and this is really a choice that people are making,” said Dr. Ogechika Alozie, local infectious disease expert.

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