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President Joe Biden’s administration launches one-stop information website for coronavirus

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is launching a one-stop website designed to make it easier for people in the United States to access COVID-19 tests, vaccines and treatments, as well as status updates on infection rates where they live.

President Joe Biden scheduled remarks Wednesday afternoon to announce the launch of covid.gov.

According to a White House fact sheet, since the beginning of the Biden administration, the administration has worked to establish more than 90,000 vaccination centers, distribute more than 400 million high-quality masks for free, send free test kits directly to people’s homes, and set up “test-to -treat” locations where people can be tested for COVID-19 and treated on-site if the result is positive.

“Now people can find out where to access all of these tools with the click of a button,” the White House said.

People can also find the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on COVID-19 in their community.

The site’s launch comes a day after Americans age 50 and older were authorized to receive a second COVID-19 booster if it’s been at least four months since their last vaccination, a chance for extra protection for those most at risk, if any the coronavirus bounces back.

The Food and Drug Administration approved an extra dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine for this age group and for certain younger people with severely compromised immune systems.

Hours later, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended the extra shot as an option but paused to urge those eligible to rush out and get it immediately. This decision extends the additional booster to millions more Americans.

“Anyone who is eligible for an initial booster who has not yet received one must do so,” said FDA vaccine chief Dr. Peter Marks. But the second refresher is only for these higher-risk groups, as evidence may be declining and the FDA has ruled the option will help save lives and prevent serious consequences.”

The move comes at a time of great uncertainty. COVID-19 cases have dropped to low levels after the winter surge in the super-contagious Omicron variant. CDC data shows that two vaccine doses plus a booster shot still provide strong protection against serious illness and death.

“And the reason for that is because we know that we’ve talked about it in the past, after four or five months, effectiveness tends to decline,” said Jen Ashton, ABC News correspondent.

But an Omicron subvariant is causing a worrying rise in infections in Europe — and spreading in the US — even as vaccination has stalled. About two-thirds of Americans are fully vaccinated, and half of those eligible for an initial booster shot have not yet received one.

“It’s starting to spike in many parts of the country, so it makes sense that many people would want to boost their immunity when we’re potentially headed for a spike,” said Doctor John Brownstein of Boston Children’s Hospital.

Pfizer had asked the FDA to clear a fourth injection for people ages 65 and older, while Moderna requested another dose for all adults “to provide flexibility” so the government can decide who really needs one.

dr Marks said regulators set the age at 50 because that’s when chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes become more common and the risks of COVID-19 increase.

Previously, the FDA had approved a fourth dose of vaccine only for immunocompromised individuals 12 years and older. Tuesday’s decision also allows them one more booster shot — a fifth dose. Marks said these patients are more likely to lose their immune protection earlier and may therefore benefit more from additional protection. Only the Pfizer vaccine can be used in children 12 years and older; Modernas is for adults.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

https://abc13.com/covid-booster-2nd-for-seniors-fda/11692584/ President Joe Biden’s administration launches one-stop information website for coronavirus

Dais Johnston

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