Follow Us:

US ramps up efforts against Covid ahead of winter

 
Washington, Oct 8 (IANS) Staggering into the 19th month of its fight against the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the US is ramping up efforts on triple fronts -- vaccination, mandate and test -- expecting to further contain the spread of the virus ahead of the upcoming winter season.

On Thursday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed in its latest update that 216,012,495 people have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, making up 65.1 per cent of the entire US population, reports Xinhua news agency.

According to the update, fully vaccinated people stood at 186,385,751, accounting for 56.1 per cent of the total, while a total of 6,372,007, or 3.4 percent of the fully vaccinated group, have received booster shots.

Pfizer and BioNTech said on Thursday that they were seeking the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) emergency use authorization (EUA) for their Covid-19 vaccine for children aged between five to 11.

If authorised, this would be the first vaccine for children in this age group.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been approved for people age 16 and older and has an EUA for people ages 12 to 15.

On Wednesday, the White House announced that it will buy $1 billion worth of rapid, at-home coronavirus tests to address ongoing shortages, "a plan hailed by public health experts who called the move long overdue", reported The Washington Post.

The actions will quadruple the number of tests available to Americans by December, according to Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator.

On Thursday, President Joe Biden travelled to Chicago to talk about vaccine mandates.

Chicago was picked in part because it is the home of United Airlines, one of the first major carriers to require shots for its 67,000 employees.

Biden said last month that he would use his presidential powers to require two-thirds of American workers be vaccinated against the coronavirus, which included a private sector to mandate that all companies with more than 100 workers require vaccination or weekly testing.

He also moved to mandate shots for healthcare workers, federal contractors and most federal workers, who could face disciplinary measures if they decline to be inoculated.

--IANS
ksk/