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Monday, January 24, 2022

Biden Launches COVID-19 Winter Booster, Test Campaign


WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden intends to launch a more urgent campaign for Americans to receive booster shots for COVID-19 on Thursday as he unveils his winter plans to fight the coronavirus and its omicron variant with increased vaccine and vaccine availability, but without essential new restrictions.

The plan includes requiring private insurers to cover the cost of in-home COVID-19 tests and tightening testing requirements for people entering the United States, regardless of their vaccination status. But with several other countries closing their borders or reimposing bans, officials said Biden has no intention of imposing additional restrictions beyond his recommendation that Americans wear masks indoors in public.

Biden said Wednesday that the upcoming strategy, which will be unveiled during a keynote speech at the National Institutes of Health, will tackle the virus “not with blackouts or lockdowns, but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing and more.”

The White House released details of Biden’s plan early Thursday morning, ahead of his speech.

The Biden administration believes the widespread use of booster shots is the most effective way to fight COVID-19 this winter. Medical experts say boosters provide improved and longer lasting protection against COVID-19, including new options.

“There is a national campaign to ensure that 100 million eligible Americans who have not yet received their booster vaccine receive the booster vaccine,” White House COVID-19 Coordinator Jeff Zientes told CBS on Thursday.

Much remains unknown about the omicron variant, including whether it is more contagious, whether it causes more serious illness in humans, and whether it might interfere with vaccines.

About 100 million Americans are eligible for boosters in line with current US policy, and more are increasing every day. Convincing those who have already been vaccinated to get another dose of the vaccine will be much easier than vaccinating the approximately 43 million American adults who have not been vaccinated, officials say, despite widespread public pressure to roll up their sleeves.

And while Biden’s demand for vaccinations or testing for workers at major employers has been constrained by litigation, the president on Thursday will renew his call for businesses to move forward and impose their own demands on workers so they can stay open without outbreaks.

In an effort to encourage more people to take booster doses, the Biden administration is stepping up direct work with the elderly, the population most vulnerable to the virus. The White House said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid will send a notice to all 63 million Medicare recipients urging them to receive booster doses. AARP will work with the administration on education campaigns for seniors.

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So far, about 42 million Americans, about half of whom are elderly, have received boosters. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week expanded their booster dose recommendation to cover all Americans at least 18 years of age, starting six months after taking the second dose of mRNA vaccine from Pfizer or Moderna.

The White House said the CDC is also developing new guidelines for schools to reduce or remove current quarantine requirements for those who are not fully vaccinated and not exposed to the virus. The new rules, which the White House said will be promulgated in the coming weeks, could include so-called “stay check” rules, according to which those deemed to be loved ones can continue to go to school but wear masks and undergo serial testing to minimize wastage and learning disruption.

The administration’s upcoming rule requiring private insurers to cover in-home testing is still under development, and many details remain to be worked out, including by what criteria they will be eligible for reimbursement, officials said.

Those with Medicare and Medicaid coverage will not be eligible, but the White House has said that up to 150 million people with private insurance will have easier, cheaper access to home tests. The administration said it is making 50 million COVID-19 tests free for seniors and other vulnerable groups to receive at senior centers and public places.

The White House said that starting next week, all travelers to the United States, regardless of nationality or vaccination status, will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result within one day of boarding a flight. It is now less than three days for those who have been vaccinated, as an added precaution against the omicron variant. But the White House has postponed tougher options, such as a requirement for testing upon arrival or a requirement for quarantine upon arrival in the United States.

Biden is also expanding its directive requiring the use of masks on planes and other forms of public transport, which expires in January at least until mid-March, the White House said.

The administration also tells states that it has over 60 teams that can help them or their municipalities cope with spikes in illness and public health deficits during the winter, half of which are aimed at supporting hospital services and 20 are aimed at supporting lifesaving important monoclonal antibodies. treatment.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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