• With more evidence showing that the immunity offered by coronavirus vaccines wanes over time, booster shots are now on the way. Government health officials are prescribing a third dose for everyone eight months removed from full vaccination but it won’t be immediately available for the general population, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The immunocompromised are now eligible for booster shots (people should check with their doctors).
The Biden administration plans to administer 100 million COVID- 19 booster shots over the fall and winter, according to news reports last week.
The plan for booster shots laid out by health officials last week applies to Americans who received both doses of an mRNA COVID- 19 vaccine, but for the nearly 14 million who received Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose shot, the details are not yet clear.
According to the CDC, the data behind the booster plan includes studies that demonstrated decreasing vaccine effectiveness against COVID- 19 infection in people who received either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna two-dose shots.
MASK REQUIREMENT EXTENDED
• The Transportation Security Administration has extended its mask requirement for passengers until January. It was previously set to expire Sept. 13. The TSA said last week that it will extend a federal mask mandate for airline, bus and train passengers into next year, requiring the face coverings until Jan. 18, 2022.
The mandate—issued in the first days after President Biden took office—has never rescinded, even during the early-summer months when the CDC began telling fully vaccinated people that masks were generally no longer necessary.
“The purpose of TSA’s mask directive is to minimize the spread of COVID-19 on public transportation,” said a statement from the agency.
With the hyper-transmissable delta variant causing a new surge in coronavirus cases, the CDC has tightened guidance on masks as mandates have returned in regions, including Los Angeles County. Transportation is one of the few areas in which the federal government has taken responsibility for imposing such rules.
VACCINE VERIFICATION IN OC
Vaccine verification is becoming even more common throughout Orange County following a state mandate last week requiring residents show proof of vaccinations for indoor events with more than 1,000 people.
The new mandate kicks in Sept. 20.
It essentially lowers the threshold on an existing mandate that requires proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test before people can go to large indoor events with more than 5,000 people.
The mandate was strengthened last week because the delta variant has proven to be highly transmissible, making it easier to spread in large crowds where people are near each other for long periods of time.
The mandate should reduce hospitalizations and deaths. By requiring individuals to be vaccinated, or test negative for COVID-19 at large events, the risk of infection, hospitalization and death decrease, according to state health officials.
State public health officials have so far resisted bringing back a mask mandate.
Cases began to increase shortly after the statewide reopening, when nearly all pandemic measures were dropped.