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August 17, 2021

Around the nation: Biden administration to recommend booster shots for most Americans, reports suggest

Daily Briefing

    The Biden administration is expected to recommend Covid-19 booster shots to most Americans beginning in the fall, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Georgia, and Texas.

    • District of Columbia: The Biden administration is developing a plan to offer Covid-19 booster shots to most Americans, with some potentially being available this fall, people familiar with the matter told the New York Times. According to AP/STAT News, health care workers, nursing home residents, and other older adults will likely be the first groups to receive booster shots as they were some of the first Americans to be vaccinated when the vaccines first received emergency use authorization. In addition, the administration is monitoring data from Israel—where more than a million Israelis have already received a third booster dose in an effort to quell the spread of the delta variant in the country. So far, Israel's Health Ministry has reported promising results, with individuals receiving three doses appearing to have around 2.5 times more protection against infection than those who have only received two doses. Currently, health care providers around the country are preparing to incorporate additional vaccine doses for immunocompromised patients into their existing vaccine campaigns, which will assist them in developing best practices for a broader booster shot campaign for more patients when they are recommended, Modern Healthcare reports. (LaFraniere, New York Times, 8/17; AP/STAT News, 8/17; Times of Israel, 8/16; Johnson, Modern Healthcare, 8/16)
    • Georgia: CDC on Friday said the United States has seen a 700% increase in the week-over-week average of coronavirus infections. According to USA Today, the country reported more new Covid-19 cases in the first 12 days of August than it did all of July, with a total of 1.33 million cases. William Moss, a professor of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said the average number of new cases is now around 125,000 a day compared to a low of 10,000 cases a day in late June. However, Andrew Noymer, a professor of population health at the University of California-Irvine, said that today’s numbers aren't as dire as they were in Dec. 2020 because many older people, who are at a higher risk of severe illness and death, are vaccinated now. But he said the number of hospitalizations is still high. "We have a vaccine that works wonderfully now," Noymer said, "so our peak [in hospitalizations] shouldn't be five-sevenths as big as the previous summer." (Weise, USA Today, 8/15) 
    • Texas: The Texas Supreme Court on Sunday ruled in favor of Gov. Greg Abbott's (R) executive order banning mask mandates in the state. The ruling blocked temporary restraining orders from district judges in four counties—Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis—that allowed them to enforce mask mandates for their residents, The Hill reports. However, some local entities, including the Dallas Independent School District and the city of San Antonio, have stated that their mask mandates will remain in place despite the court's ruling. (Polus, The Hill, 8/15)

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