China Daily (Hong Kong)

US pushes forward with booster shots


NEW YORK — The US government is pushing through its vaccinatio­n plan, with a booster shot finally approved last week, as the country’s top health expert warns against another “dark winter” in the coming months.

According to The New York Times, the seven-day average of confirmed cases of the pandemic stood at 123,074 nationwide on Friday, with a 16-day fall of 12 percent. There were 2,062 COVID-19-related deaths on Friday, with a 14-day rise of 26 percent.

The United States could be facing another “dark winter”, though this can be avoided if people are vaccinated to a “very high degree” in the coming months, the country’s top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci told CBS last week.

“You know, if we don’t get people vaccinated who need to be vaccinated, and we get that conflating with an influenza season, we could have a dark, bad winter,” said Fauci, the chief medical adviser to US President Joe Biden.

Late last year, Biden warned that the country was headed for a “very dark winter” because of the rise in COVID-19 cases. The Delta variant is now driving the daily average of deaths nationally past 2,000 again, and about 70 million people are refusing to be vaccinated.

On Friday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved a booster shot of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to an expanded group of people. Three-quarters of those eligible have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and some can now receive a booster shot.

High-risk groups

Starting Friday, if people from one of the three high-risk groups are six months from their last doses of the Pfizer vaccine they will be eligible for a booster shot. The first group includes those aged 65 or older.

In Finland, the country’s capital, Helsinki, is set to start administer­ing a third COVID-19 vaccine dose to people aged 85 and over and to severely immunocomp­romised individual­s, the municipal authoritie­s said on Friday. The third voluntary dose will be offered free of charge and without appointmen­t at the city’s vaccinatio­n points at least six months following the second dose, and there must be a six-week gap between the first and second dose.

Kuwait has also approved a booster dose, its health ministry said on Saturday.

The third shots will be given to three groups, namely those aged over 60 with underlying health conditions, those most vulnerable to infection risks such as front-line workers and those who are immunocomp­romised.

El Salvador will begin administer­ing a third vaccine dose to various groups including the elderly, health workers and people with underlying health conditions, President Nayib Bukele said on Friday.

 ?? SHANNON STAPLETON / REUTERS ?? A nurse administer­s a COVID-19 vaccine shot to a patient at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Florida, on Friday.
SHANNON STAPLETON / REUTERS A nurse administer­s a COVID-19 vaccine shot to a patient at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Florida, on Friday.

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