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If You Got a Vaccine, Here's When to Get Your Booster, Says CDC Chief

"This has been a really important next step in our booster campaign across America."
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Coronavirus cases are declining but are still at more than 75,000 a day, and 64 million Americans remain unvaccinated. With the holidays approaching, what do you need to do to stay safe, and how can you reduce confusion about the new boosters? Here to clear things up, the head of the CDC, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, appeared on Meet the Pressthis morning. Read on for all 7 of her life-saving pieces of advice—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

1

CDC Director Said There are Now Boosters for All Three Vaccines

Moderna and Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine
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"This has been a really important next step in our booster campaign across America, because we now have a booster plan for all three of our vaccines, for Moderna and Pfizer" and J&J, said Walensky. "If you're more than six months out, you may be eligible for a booster. And what we said for J&J is that if you're two months out of your last shot, you are eligible for a booster." You can mix and match, choosing whichever brand you want for your booster. "We saw data from the NIH on mix and match that antibody levels for the mRNA vaccines boosting the J&J were really really high. And we also saw clinical data from J&J that said, if you're boosted with J&J you actually do quite well as well, which is why we've really left it open and said any one of these vaccines can really be used to boost any one of the others." The official CDC advice is:

"For individuals who received a Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, the following groups are eligible for a booster shot at 6 months or more after their initial series:

For the nearly 15 million people who got the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, booster shots are also recommended for those who are 18 and older and who were vaccinated two or more months ago."

2

CDC Director Said Kids 5 to 11 Can Get Their Vaccines Soon

Doctor vaccinating child at hospital.
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"Between the ages of five to 11, the FDA will be reviewing those data this week. They will have a lot of science to review and over the coming week, we are hopeful to hear from them by the beginning of the following week. And that's when the CDC will have their meeting. And I will be ready to take action if all of that goes smoothly as soon as possible. In the meantime, the administration is working on the operations and logistics. So as soon as we have both the FDA authorization and the CDC recommendations, there will be vaccine out there so children can start rolling up their sleeves." Dr. Anthony Fauci has estimated this will be by early November.

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3

CDC Director Said This About Parents' Vaccine Hesitancy

Doctor holding syringe in hospital.
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Nearly ¼ of Americans may be hesitant to vaccinate their kids, according to one study. "We have a lot of work to do" to convince them, said Walensky. "And in fact, those survey data look very much consistent with where we were with adults in last December when we rolled out vaccines for adults. So we have done a huge amount of hard work over the last 10 months, education communication, providing information, getting vaccines to, um, to really convenient places, trusted messengers, making sure those vaccines are in pediatrician's offices, in children's hospitals, where there, and pharmacies where parents trust, um, trust, vaccines being given. And so we're doing absolutely all of that hard work now. And we have that hard work to come for both our children, as well as our parents and for the 64 million people who have yet to roll up the sleeves themselves."

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4

CDC Director Said Kids Should Still Wear Masks in School After Vaccinations Because Cases are Still too High

Girl with face mask back at school after covid-19 quarantine and lockdown.
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"Our case numbers are coming down and that is so encouraging," said Walensky. "We still have 75,000 new cases a day of COVID. And we are still having death rates of about 1,200 to 1,500 deaths per day as we roll out these vaccines for our children. It's also critically important that our kids are able to stay in school. We saw just a couple of weeks ago, new science that demonstrated that schools that masked had three and a half times less likelihood of having outbreaks than schools that didn't. And so in my mind, the most important thing right now, as we work to get our cases down, as we work to get our children vaccinated, is that we continue the masking to keep our kids in school."

5

CDC Director Warned 64 Million Americans are Still Not Vaccinated

unrecognizable doctor trying to vaccinate its patient while she is refusing it.
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"We have 64 million Americans who have still not yet rolled up their sleeves for an initial booster shot. And we are vaccinating them at about 250,000 a day. We are continuing active outreach, active communication, active discussions with trusted messengers to really work, to scale that up in the meantime, in parallel and without losing any of that effort in getting people vaccinated. For the first time we are rolling out this booster plan and people are coming, they are interested in getting their boosters."

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6

CDC Director Said This About New Variants

Scientists and microbiologists with PPE suit and face mask hold test tube and microscope in lab
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There is a "Delta Plus" variant in the UK. "We absolutely are following the genomic sequencing of this very carefully," said Walensky. "You're referring to the AOI 4.2 sub lineage. It is a variant of the Delta variant. It has a several mutations on the spike protein that we have not yet seen, um, implicated in increased transmissibility or in an decreased stability of our vaccines or therapeutics to work or watching it very carefully. We have had a handful of cases here in the United States, but it is not taken off as it has in U.K."

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7

How to Stay Safe Out There

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Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more