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Joe Biden To Unveil Plans To Combat Omicron, Promote COVID Booster Shots

US President Joe Biden on Thursday is all set to unveil the new actions aiming to combat COVID-19 amid the emergence of the new Omicron variant. Know more.


IMAGE: AP/Shutterstock

US President Joe Biden on Thursday will unveil new actions aiming to combat COVID-19 amid the emergence of the new Omicron variant of the novel virus. The White House released details of Biden's plans in advance of the speech at the National Institutes of Health, where the President will announce booster shots against COVID-19 for all adults as well as free at-home testing for all Americans. The announcement will come as an enhanced vaccine availability but lack of major restrictions has fuelled the blasphemous rise in cases with over 1 lakh infections on November 30.

As per the press release by White House, Biden will announce a set of "public health tools" deemed fit for fight against the virus "without shutting down schools and businesses." Among the expanded actions against COVID-19, Biden will deploy rapid response teams to help battle rising cases. Additionally, the government will also enhance the supply of treatment pills to help prevent hospitalisations and deaths.

However, unlike some other nations Biden has ruled out closing States' borders or reimposing lockdown, instead, he has opted for "stronger public health protocols for safer international travel." In a bid to avoid closing down educational institutions, Biden is also expected to announce upping vaccination campaigns for kids.

COVID-19 booster campaign for all adults, expansion of pharmacy availability through December

As per the WH statement, Biden will announce new steps to ensure all eligible Americans receive their booster shots amid fears of new Omicron variant after the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), earlier this week, endorsed all American adults could get booster shot, the count for which is nearly 100 million. "As we face the Omicron variant, boosters are more important than ever. Boosters increase the strength of your antibody response, so when the virus mutates, a booster makes it more likely that your antibodies can protect you against the new variant," the statement said.

Meanwhile, pharmacy partners will be ready to meet the demand for booster doses with broad-based outreach campaigns, including appointments and walk-in for booster jabs. "The president will also announce that the pharmacy program will continue to take steps to expand availability so that Americans receive their booster shots from trusted and convenient pharmacies near them," WH said.

The White House also said that the CDC is instrumental in developing a new guide for schools to reduce or eliminate current quarantine requirements for those unvaccinated or infected. The policies, expected to be called 'test-to-stay', will release in the coming weeks. Under this, those who are considered close contacts can continue to go to school but wear masks and undergo serial testing, in a bid to minimize learning loss and disruption.

Mandatory negative vaccination status for all travellers to the US

The White House also announced that beginning from next week, all travellers to the States, regardless of nationality or vaccination status will need to produce a negative COVID-19 test taken within on-day of boarding their flight. However, the US is also set to let go of on-arrival testing and quarantine mandates. Additionally, Biden will also announce an expansion of necessary masking on planes and other public transit through March, a rule that was supposed to end this January.

At least 60 teams of health care workers will be available to help municipalities address spike in cases of COVID-19. Half the manpower will be focused on addressing the shortage of in-hospital services and 20 others supporting life-saving monoclonal antibody treatment, the WH said. On the vaccination front, over 41 million Americans have received their booster shot, including half of eligible seniors.

(Image: AP/Shutterstock)

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