Booster campaign starts off strong as U.S. heads into holidays

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As many as 3 million Americans received a Covid-19 vaccine booster shot in the past three days, the White House said Monday. 

Booster shots were authorized for all adults Friday, and between then and Sunday, 1 million people received an additional dose on each day, White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff Zients said during a Monday press briefing. At least 36 million Americans have received a booster since the shots were first authorized in September.

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Zients’ comments come days after Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, signed off on both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna booster shots for all adults in the United States.

More than 135 million Americans are now eligible for a booster shot, officials said Monday. Individuals are eligible for a booster six months after finishing their initial vaccination series with either the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine, or two months after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

Biden administration officials have said they hope boosting the U.S. population will ensure long-term and durable protection against severe disease, hospitalization and death as the fast-moving delta variant continues to spread and more Americans head indoors in the colder weather.

On Monday, Walensky urged more Americans to receive the additional dose, noting that cases and hospitalizations have been on the rise over the past few weeks.

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The seven-day average is at about 92,800 Covid cases per day, up 18 percent, she said. The seven-day average of hospital admissions is up 6 percent at about 5,600 per day. 

“With plans for increased holiday season travel and gathering, boosting people’s overall protection against Covid-19 disease and death was important to do now, in making these recommendations,” she said.

“Don’t delay, get your booster shot,” Zients said. “You can have enhanced protection from Covid as we head into the winter.”

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