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COVID-19: Biden Administration Announces Fall Strategy

The Biden administration announced Sept. 8 its fall plan to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, which includes securing millions of updated vaccines and additional at-home rapid tests, launching a targeted campaign geared toward higher-risk Americans, and fostering community conversations surrounding the new vaccines.

Fearing a fall spike in COVID-19 infections due to more time spent indoors and waning immunity from previous vaccines and prior infections, health leaders urge eligible Americans to receive the updated vaccine as soon as possible. The updated Pfizer-BioNTech booster is offered to those ages 12 and older, while the updated Moderna booster is available to those ages 18 and older.

The administration has secured more than 170 million doses of updated Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, which were recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sept. 1. The bivalent boosters are available at no cost at thousands of pharmacies, doctor’s offices, health centers, and state and local health departments nationwide.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) said in a Sept. 12 news alert that the updated bivalent boosters will be provided at no cost for as long as the federal government continues purchasing and distributing these COVID-19 vaccines.

While noting a need for additional funding from Congress to aid the nation’s COVID-19 response, the Biden administration also announced plans to purchase more than 100 million additional at-home, rapid tests from domestic manufacturers to increase the supply of at-home COVID-19 tests in the Strategic National Stockpile and help meet testing needs in the coming months.

In addition, the administration is launching a targeted campaign to ensure Americans at the highest risk of severe highest-risk Americans, especially older and immunocompromised individuals, receive their updated COVID-19 vaccine shot as quickly as possible.

CMS will share information on these updated vaccines, including when and how to get them, through its email service that reaches more than 16 million people. The agency also will add a message on the updated COVID-19 shots to the 1.800.MEDICARE line, which reaches approximately 2 million people each month.

Additionally, the Department of Health and Human Services will launch a comprehensive public education campaign in collaboration with local, national, and community-based organizations to foster trusted conversations about the new, updated COVID-19 vaccines.

Visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the pandemic.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Andrea Lugo is a communications associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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