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U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy: Updated COVID-19 Vaccine Offers Best Protection

January 5, 2023 • By

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Last Updated: January 5, 2023

A photo of Vice Admiral Vivek MurthyFor nearly three years now, Americans of every age and from every community have stepped up to help keep themselves, their loved ones, their friends, and their neighbors safe from the COVID-19 virus. Millions reduced exposures, wore masks, and most importantly, got vaccinated and boosted. And because of those extraordinary efforts, our country is thankfully in a new, better place in the fight against COVID-19 – but we can’t let up.

With the arrival of colder weather comes a greater risk of illness because of more respiratory viruses circulating, including COVID-19. These viruses have a disproportionate impact on our seniors: nearly 75% of all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. are among those 65 and older.

The most important thing we can all do to keep ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities safe this winter is get an updated COVID-19 vaccine right away. 

The updated vaccine targets the Omicron variant as well as the original strain of COVID-19. It has been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration for people ages six months and older. And recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reaffirmed that the updated vaccine makes a big difference in reducing your likelihood of ending up seriously ill from COVID-19.

How big a difference? Early data show that people who received their updated COVID-19 vaccine this year were nearly 19 times less likely to die from COVID-19 compared to people who are not vaccinated at all, and were also less likely to die than those who were vaccinated but had not received an updated COVID-19 vaccine. For seniors, the chance of hospitalization may decrease by 50% or more if you get the updated vaccine – even if you’ve had past doses.

The bottom line is: the updated COVID-19 vaccine offers protection against serious illness, especially for older adults. Even if you do get infected with COVID-19, you are less likely to end up in the hospital or lose your life if you are up to date with your vaccines.

That’s why more than 47 million Americans already got their updated COVID-19 shot as of the new year, including 21 million seniors.

One other measure that can reduce your chances of serious illness if you do get COVID-19 is treatment with medications like Paxlovid.  It’s important to start treatment early, even if you have mild symptoms, so don’t delay in seeking care if you learn you have COVID-19.

These two tools – vaccines and treatments – have already saved millions of lives. They could save your life too and can certainly give you and your family more peace of mind during the winter months.

So make a personal plan for COVID-19 today – one that includes vaccines and treatments.

For more information on how to find a COVID-19 vaccine near you, visit or call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 888-720-7489) for assistance in English, Spanish, and many other languages. To learn more about treatments for COVID-19, talk to your health care providers or visit And to get up to four free at-home COVID-19 tests, visit

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  1. Tony

    The pharmaceutical companies are desperately trying to make money selling diluted COVID virus as vaccines.

    The diluted COVID virus isn’t free to everyone anymore. The pharmaceutical companies have their spokesman the U.S. Surgeon General pitching the poison to Social Security beneficiaries who still gets it free of charge through Medicare and Medicaid.

  2. Roberto M.

    I agree 100% with the medical research and findings.I do not believe in conspiraty theories.

  3. David J.

    To the Social Security blog moderators:

    I get the sense that the impact of this blog is to provide a platform to broadcast malicious misinformation. If you are going to run a blog that discusses important topics, you have an obligation to provide expert competent responses to the misinformation. Otherwise, shut it down.

  4. Tony

    This is just an elaborate scheme by the pharmaceutical companies to make money. You still catch the virus even with the vaccine. They say the vaccine is still effective in relieving some of the symptoms, but selling us cough medicine with severe side effects isn’t worth it.

    • Tony

      In China, they use to arrest people buying cough medicine and put them in quarantine.

      Now China ended the quarantines because the vaccines don’t work. It is no better than cough medicine with severe side effects.

      • Tony

        There is no cure for this virus. The vaccine doesn’t cure you of the virus. If you cough or sneeze, then you are going to transmit it your family, friends, and the community.

        • R

          Another candidate for the Darwin Awards!

  5. Tom P.

    Vaccines have been helping people to stay alive for a long time. It’s not perfect, but then nothing is, in this life. This didn’t stop childhood vaccinations being required to go to school and a whole battery of shots when I joined the Army. To insinuate that they are anything else but for the greater good is just daft. But I respect anyone’s decision to not get vaccinated, I just don’t have any sympathy for the unvaccinated people that end up seriously ill and suffer from contracting Covid-19 or any other disease that we have vaccinations for that they declined to get. Being infected with Covid-19 has never been only about getting vaccinated, washing your hands and being aware of the people you are around with or without a mask is just as important. Sticking your head in the sand and ignoring the health epidemic is not a great plan for our families or society as a whole.

    • Rudy e.

      Mrna vaccines yse a known poison to trabsport the virus that attacks the human cardiovascular system. Ut bioaccumulates abd is killing people. That’s why it is experimental. It does not prevent re-infection which is the definition of failure. Your lies will not prevail to those who survive your experiment to decrease the world population. Stop killing the people.

      • R

        An inability to spell is a sign of undiagnosed COVID that may infect others.

    • Vicki R.


  6. Munro D.

    Not sure how effective the vaccines are. Had 5 jabs and still got it. Wasn’t too bad except for the cough but maybe would have been worse without them.

    • Vicki R.

      So then, the vaccines did their job! Glad you recovered.

  7. Ben

    US Surgeon General is simply just a hack puppet for the Healthcare Syndicate.

    These experimental high school biology lab projects is neither safe nor effective.

    It is just a cash cow for the Syndicate.

    • R

      Okay, so following your message here that you don’t trust in science, are you wearing a mask and social distancing wherever you go? Several hundred people are dying each day from Covid. Please remember, we are all in America together and each of our actions affects others.

  8. Cindy

    If vaccines work, then why don’t vaccines work??
    Please stop encouraging seniors to get boosted especially with the new damaging evidence coming forward about mRNA shots.

  9. Sally

    On October 2nd, 2022 Canada not only stopped the vaccines, but also lifted all Covid restrictions.
    Danemark and Norway were the first two countries in the world that stopped the vaccines in mid 2021.
    I still don’t understand why here in the US are still talking about Covid and still calling people to get the vaccines and boosters!!!???
    I didn’t get the vaccine, I didn’t catch Covid and I didn’t even get the PCR test.

  10. Donald

    “get an updated COVID-19 vaccine …” I have every covid vaccine and booster from the begining. This article makes it sound like there is a new vaccine, an “updated” vaccine. This implies something new to me. When was this “updated” made available? Is it new? Do I need it if have had 2 vaccines at the start and two boosters as well? This article is very vague and misleading. Thanks for more confusion, CDC!!!!

    • Ben

      I had 3 jabs and still got covid. But the side effects to my immune system from Moderna jab 2/3 was the unforgivable part. 16 steroid injections and I am almost back to normal.

      • Vicki R.

        I would bet your side effects are from your COVID-19 infection, Not the vaccines! Happened to my relative too and steroids gave him much relief. He’s fine now, but has had COVID-19 twice and has refused all the vaccines. Sad!!

        • Tony

          The vaccine is a weaken COVID-19 virus.

          “The loss of testosterone has been shown to put someone at risk of having a more severe outcome from COVID-19.”

          When the men are injected with the weaken COVID vaccine, their newly produced antibodies might not be able to fight the weaken virus. Now they will fell the effects of the weaken virus.

          Their bodies was so busy producing antibodies that they can’t produce testosterone. Now they are going to have a more severe outcome due to the loss of testosterone.

          I believe the vaccine cause impotence in men. It is basic science that the gain of one thing lead to the loss of another.

        • Tony

          The pharmaceutical companies don’t tell you the truth about the vaccine. The CDC and FDA officials are getting kickbacks from the pharmaceutical companies.

          The vaccince make the body produce antibodies to fight the weak or inactive COVID virus in the vaccine.

          The T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes only knows how to fight the weak or inactive COVID virus.

          The T-lymphocytes and B-lymphocytes doesn’t have the memory to fight a stronger or active COVID virus because it never fought against it.

          You are going to test positive for the virus because the vaccine is a virus. The vaccine can kill you and they are going to blame it on the virus. Now they came out with a weaker form of the Omicron virus to inject people as an updated vaccine.

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