Roundup: U.S. invigorates COVID-19 vaccination with new booster bids

Source: Xinhua| 2021-10-15 00:22:09|Editor: huaxia

NEW YORK, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. federal government is stepping up its COVID-19 vaccination efforts by preparing new vaccine boosters under a tight schedule and pressing the states to inoculate more people, including younger children with approval from health agencies.

President Joe Biden is scheduled to update Americans on the COVID-19 response and the vaccination program on Thursday. The president has announced a six-pronged, comprehensive national strategy to ensure that every available tool is used to "combat COVID-19 and save even more lives," keep schools open and safe, as well as protect the economy from lockdowns and damage.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Thursday reported that 217,627,490 people have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, making up 65.6 percent of the whole U.S. population; fully vaccinated people stood at 187,937,559, accounting for 56.6 percent of the total. A total of 8,903,874 people, or 4.7 percent of the fully vaccinated group, received booster shots.

Meanwhile, according to The New York Times' (NYT) data analysis, the seven-day average of confirmed cases of the pandemic stood at 88,612 nationwide on Monday, with its 14-day change striking a 22-percent fall. The COVID-19-related deaths were 1,887 on Monday, with the 14-day change realizing a 5-percent decrease.

"After a brutal summer surge, driven by the highly contagious Delta variant, the coronavirus is again in retreat," reported NYT on Thursday. "The crisis is not over everywhere -- the situation in Alaska is particularly dire -- but nationally, the trend is clear, and hopes are rising that the worst is finally behind us. Again."

Over the past two years, the pandemic has crashed over the country in waves, inundating hospitals and then receding, only to return after Americans let their guard down. "It is difficult to tease apart the reasons that the virus ebbs and flows in this way, and harder still to predict the future," added the report.


An independent advisory panel under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is set on Thursday and Friday to discuss and vote on whether to authorize Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine boosters for those 18 and older. The outside experts will also consider new data from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on the potential benefits of mixing and matching vaccines for booster shots.

Early results from the highly anticipated NIH study finds that boosting with a shot different from what people got the first time appears to be safe and effective. The non-peer reviewed study evaluated all three vaccines: Pfizer, Moderna and J&J, finding that no matter the booster, all study participants saw a "substantial" uptick in antibody levels after a booster shot.

The Moderna shot is the first on the table on Thursday. Moderna is asking the FDA for approval of a booster shot six months after the second dose, similar to Pfizer's request. The J&J booster is up for discussion on Friday. They've requested approval for a booster as early as two months after the one-dose vaccine.

This week's meetings are the first step in the approval process. Based on the advisory panel's recommendations, the FDA will then decide whether to authorize the boosters. The CDC then have the final say. Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only one with the FDA's thumbs up, but even then boosters of the Pfizer shot are only approved for certain Americans.


The U.S. government will rely heavily on pediatricians and family doctors in its COVID-19 vaccine rollout for kids ages 5 to 11, starting as early as next month, White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said on Wednesday. Governors are asked to enroll pediatricians and other providers in vaccination programs so they can begin administering shots with the doses approved by the regulators for use in young kids.

Federal health officials have also asked states to plan to implement outreach and education campaigns and ensure COVID-19 vaccination sites are available in areas of "high social vulnerability" and in rural areas. "If it is authorized by the FDA and the CDC, we will be ready," Zients said. "We have the supply. I want to emphasize it's a different supply; the dose for kids is a different dose than adults."

Another effect of the vaccination mandate announced by the U.S. federal government is that workers who are fired for refusing to get inoculated against COVID-19 can not apply for unemployment benefits. "Not being eligible for government assistance if you lose your job for being unvaccinated is yet another indicator that the cost of forgoing the vaccine is rising in the U.S.," reported CBS on Wednesday.

Vaccine mandates are quickly becoming the norm at companies large and small across the United States, as employers take steps to ensure their workplaces are safe and their workers are protected against COVID-19. Workers typically qualify for unemployment benefits if they are terminated through no fault of their own. But they forfeit these benefits if they leave a position on their own, which includes failing to comply with company policy. Enditem

KEY WORDS: US COVID,19 VACCINATION And Vaccine Developments