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White House announces plan to protect Americans from Delta and Omicron variants

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    White House announces plan to protect Americans from Delta and Omicron variants

    On December 2, the White House announced a new nine-point plan to protect Americans against the Delta and Omicron variants. The plan, which comes as the country heads into the winter months when viruses are more likely to spread, follows a recent declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) which designated the Omicron variant as a ‘variant of concern.’ The plan aims to build off the nation’s current resources, including vaccinations, booster shoots and testing, in order to protect against the variants and bolster the economy.

    The new plan includes the following steps:

    1. Booster shots: Ensuring that all eligible Americans receive a COVID-19 booster by expanding pharmacy availability and outreach, launching a public education campaign with a particular focus on older Americans and encouraging employers to provide workers with paid time off to get boosted.

    2. Protecting children and keeping schools open: Increasing pediatric vaccinations by establishing family vaccination clinics, reviewing school COVID-19 prevention policies and providing the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) with the resources necessary for a safe and timely review of applications for vaccines for children under 5.

    3. Expanding free at-home testing: Providing health plan coverage of no-cost rapid, over the counter COVID-19 tests and expanding distribution of free-at home tests through community distribution sites like rural health clinics.

    4. Protocols for international travel: Strengthening public health protocols for international travel by extending the requirement to wear a mask on airplanes, rail travel and public transportation through March 18, 2022.

    5. Workplace protections: Maintaining and strengthening protections in the workplace by encouraging employers to require their workers to get vaccinated or tested weekly.

    6. Federal COVID-19 Surge Response Teams: Providing federal COVID-19 response assistance to states and strengthening the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) to improve the health of local communities.

    7. Treatment: Supplying treatment pills to help prevent hospitalizations and death, including by working to secure 13 million doses of antiviral courses.

    8. Global vaccination: Donating 1.2 billion vaccine doses to countries around the world.

    9. Preparing for all scenarios: Taking actions to ensure the country is prepared should additional vaccinations or boosters be needed to respond to the Delta and Omicron variants.

    The plan has critical implications for counties, who are integral in the administration of COVID-19 vaccines, boosters and testing. As the first responders to public health emergencies, counties have supported over 195 million vaccinations in the U.S. to date. See NACo’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Toolkit to learn more about how counties and local health facilities have been leading front line vaccination efforts across the country.

    Additional Resources

    • NACo Blog: CDC endorses COVID booster shots for all adults 18 and up
    • NACo Blog: HHS renews public health emergency declaration through January 2022
    • NACo Blog: Biden administration announces new COVID-19 action plan; takes action to increase vaccination requirements

    On December 2, the White House announced a new nine-point plan to protect Americans against the Delta and Omicron variants.
    2021-12-14
    Blog
    2021-12-15
White House announces nine-point plan to protect against Delta and Omicron variants in advance of winter case surges Counties play an essential role in the administration of COVID-19 vaccines, boosters and tests

On December 2, the White House announced a new nine-point plan to protect Americans against the Delta and Omicron variants. The plan, which comes as the country heads into the winter months when viruses are more likely to spread, follows a recent declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) which designated the Omicron variant as a ‘variant of concern.’ The plan aims to build off the nation’s current resources, including vaccinations, booster shoots and testing, in order to protect against the variants and bolster the economy.

The new plan includes the following steps:

  1. Booster shots: Ensuring that all eligible Americans receive a COVID-19 booster by expanding pharmacy availability and outreach, launching a public education campaign with a particular focus on older Americans and encouraging employers to provide workers with paid time off to get boosted.

  2. Protecting children and keeping schools open: Increasing pediatric vaccinations by establishing family vaccination clinics, reviewing school COVID-19 prevention policies and providing the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) with the resources necessary for a safe and timely review of applications for vaccines for children under 5.

  3. Expanding free at-home testing: Providing health plan coverage of no-cost rapid, over the counter COVID-19 tests and expanding distribution of free-at home tests through community distribution sites like rural health clinics.

  4. Protocols for international travel: Strengthening public health protocols for international travel by extending the requirement to wear a mask on airplanes, rail travel and public transportation through March 18, 2022.

  5. Workplace protections: Maintaining and strengthening protections in the workplace by encouraging employers to require their workers to get vaccinated or tested weekly.

  6. Federal COVID-19 Surge Response Teams: Providing federal COVID-19 response assistance to states and strengthening the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) to improve the health of local communities.

  7. Treatment: Supplying treatment pills to help prevent hospitalizations and death, including by working to secure 13 million doses of antiviral courses.

  8. Global vaccination: Donating 1.2 billion vaccine doses to countries around the world.

  9. Preparing for all scenarios: Taking actions to ensure the country is prepared should additional vaccinations or boosters be needed to respond to the Delta and Omicron variants.

The plan has critical implications for counties, who are integral in the administration of COVID-19 vaccines, boosters and testing. As the first responders to public health emergencies, counties have supported over 195 million vaccinations in the U.S. to date. See NACo’s COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Toolkit to learn more about how counties and local health facilities have been leading front line vaccination efforts across the country.

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