(NewsNation now) – President Joe Biden is set to launch a more urgent campaign for Americans COVID-19 Booster Shots Thursday as he reveals his winter plans to combat the Corona virus and concerns about Omicron virus variant.
The plan includes a requirement for private insurers to cover the cost of COVID-19 tests at home and tighter testing requirements for people entering the United States regardless of their vaccination status. But with some other countries closing their borders or reimposing lockdowns, officials said Biden has not moved to impose additional restrictions beyond his recommendation that Americans wear masks in public.
Biden said Wednesday that the next strategy, which will be revealed during a speech at the National Institutes of Health, will fight the virus “not through shutdown or shutdown but with more vaccines, boosters, widespread testing, and more.”
The Biden administration has come to view the widespread adoption of the booster shot as an effective tool to combat COVID-19 this winter. Medical experts say boosters provide enhanced and more permanent protection against COVID-19, including new variants.
About 100 million Americans are eligible for boosters under current US policy, with more eligible each day. Officials believe that convincing those who have already been vaccinated to get another dose would be much easier than vaccinating the nearly 43 million American adults. Didn’t get a chance Despite massive public pressure campaigns to roll up their sleeves.
The department will ramp up messaging to encourage adults, especially the elderly, to get booster doses at local pharmacies, including a town hall campaign through AARP.
Officials said the administration’s next rule requiring private insurers to cover in-home tests is still being drafted, and many details remain to be worked out, including what standards will be reimbursed.
Those insured by Medicare and Medicaid will not qualify, but the White House said up to 150 million people with private insurance will see easier and less expensive access to at-home tests. The department said it is conducting 50 million free COVID-19 tests for seniors and other vulnerable groups to pick them up at senior centers and community sites.
Much is still unknown about him omicron, including whether it is more contagious, whether it makes people more dangerous and whether it can thwart vaccines.
The expedition comes as scientists race to understand what to make of the omicron, which has gone from newfound to List WHO variables of concern in a matter of days.
A person in California became the first person in the United States For a specific status of the variant, administration officials confirmed Wednesday. The country’s chief infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told reporters that the person was a traveler who had returned from South Africa on November 22 and was confirmed positive on Monday. Fauci said the person had been vaccinated but had not received a booster dose and was experiencing “mild symptoms.”
It is not clear where the new variant first appeared, but scientists in South Africa have alerted the World Health Organization, and it is It is now seen For travelers coming to several countries, from Australia to Israel to the Netherlands.
We have seen a sharp increase in the number of cases over the past 10 days. So far, most cases have been very mild, with patients showing flu-like symptoms: dry cough, fever, night sweats and a lot of body aches, said Dr Unpin Pillai, GP in Gauteng province, where Dr Unpin Pillai said. of the new cases that have been reported.
And what adds to the confusion The Netherlands announced Tuesday that the omicron variant is already in the country When South Africa alerted the World Health Organization about this last week. The Dutch health institute RIVM found Omicron in samples dating from November 19 and 23.
The executives of Pfizer and Moderna, which make highly effective mRNA vaccines used in the United States, said they expect that their formulations will need to be modified to maintain the current level of protection against omicron.
However, they expect that their vaccines will provide protection against severe disease. Stronger results from laboratory tests to determine the effectiveness of vaccines are expected later this month.
Internationally, Omicron is working to re-emerge the strict mitigation measures for the pandemic. Japan is banning any newly booked travel into the country until the end of the year.
Greece will fine residents over 60 who have not been vaccinated. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said EU countries should consider making vaccinations mandatory. German Chancellor-designate Olaf Schulz said he would support a proposal calling for everyone to be vaccinated.