New York State has confirmed its first five cases of the Omicron variant.
New York: President Joe Biden announced a country-wide plan to administer Covid vaccine booster doses for all adults, keep schools and workplaces open, expand free-at-home testing, new protocols for international travel, and bolster response and supply of treatment pills to prevent hospitalization and deaths.
He also reinforced America’s continued commitment to the global vaccination effort and steps to flatten a winter surge.
Key here is that 100 million eligible Americans who have not yet gotten their booster shot, get one as soon as possible. Biden believes boosters increase the strength of human antibody response, make the virus mutate and protect against the new variant, Omicron.
All adults, who completed a primary vaccination series with an mRNA vaccine at least six months ago and those who received a Johnson & Johnson shot at least two months ago, are eligible.
Biden announced actions to get more kids ages 5 and older vaccinated and to keep schools open. Ninety nine percent of schools across the country are fully open and in person. The plan is to keep this number there.
Early next week, pre-departure testing protocols will be tightened by requiring all inbound international travelers to test within one day of departure, regardless of nationality or vaccination status.
The requirement to wear a mask on airplanes, rail travel, and public transportation stand extended through March 18.
Biden called upon businesses to move forward with vaccination or testing programs. No business should shut down this winter because of Covid-19, he said.
If and when any new Covid-19 treatment pills are found to meet FDA’s scientific standards, Biden vowed equitable access to all Americans, regardless of income or zip code.
He repeated commitment to help vaccinate the globe, and called upon other countries to do the same. The US has committed to donate 1.2 billion doses to the world. Biden promised to deliver 200 million more doses in the next 100 days.
Biden spoke of ramping up vaccine manufacturing, building a sustainable supply chain and increasing global capacity to make additional mRNA vaccines. This includes working closely with Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson to develop contingency plans for other vaccinations or boosters, if needed.