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The White House’s COVID-19 task force is scheduled to convene Friday as experts meet to advise federal regulators about the need for booster shots for fully vaccinated adults.
Watch the briefing in the video player above.
The federal government is spending $2.1 billion to improve infection control procedures in health care settings, aimed at preventing the transmission of diseases inside hospitals, dialysis centers and other facilities.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is allocating the funding from the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that was signed into law by President Joe Biden this year.
Of the new funding, $500 million will create and train “strike teams” to help facilities with known or suspected COVID-19 outbreaks.
CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky says the funding “will dramatically improve the safety and quality of the health care delivered in the United States during the pandemic and in the future.”
“Ensuring health care settings have the resources necessary to stop infections is pivotal to ending this pandemic and to preventing future ones,” she said.
Nearly $900 million will be spent over the coming years to support research and training on new ways to control the spread of infections.
Some of the nation’s top experts on Friday are weighing data about the safety, efficacy and need to administer booster shots to people who have already received both doses of mRNA vaccines against the coronavirus. In August, senior health officials in the Biden administration recommended COVID-19 boosters amid concerns of waning immunity for the general population as the delta variant fuels the latest surge of new infections, hospitalizations and deaths.
But experts have criticized the administration for signaling support for boosters when tens of millions of Americans still haven’t received their first shot, contributing to the overwhelming majority of new illness that has overwhelmed health care systems around the United States.
Beyond this country, there remain concerns that so much of the global population remains unvaccinated, exposing the world to continued risk of the virus mutating into even more transmissible variants.
Laura Santhanam is the Data Producer for the PBS NewsHour. Follow @LauraSanthanam
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