The next couple of weeks will tell whether the U.S. will begin to offer coronavirus booster shots to its population, Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, told the television show “Fox News Sunday.”
“There is a concern that the vaccine may start to wane in its effectiveness,” Collins said.
Healthcare workers, nursing home residents and other older people would be the first in line to receive the booster shots, according to the NIH director.
The delta strain of the coronavirus is driving up the COVID caseload in the U.S. to approximately 129,000 new infections a day, a 700% increase from the beginning of July. Collins said the caseload could jump to as many as 200,000 a day, rivaling the worst days of the COVID outbreak in January and February.
Collins also said people who have not yet been vaccinated are “sitting ducks” and urged them to get the COVID vaccine as the highly contagious delta variant sweeps across the country.
If data indicates that a booster is needed, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s chief epidemiologist, told “Face the Nation” on CBS Sunday that the country “will be absolutely prepared” to deliver the inoculations “very quickly.”
The U.S. has recorded more COVID cases than anyplace else in the world at 36.7 million cases, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
Australia has procured one million Pfizer vaccine doses from Poland. More than half of the vaccines are slated for 20-to 39-year-olds in New South Wales in 12 local government areas that have had COVID outbreaks. The rest of the vaccines “will be distributed on a per capita basis to other states and territories,” the government said in a statement.
“Orphanhood and caregiver deaths are a hidden pandemic resulting from COVID-19-associated deaths,” the international medical journal The Lancet has reported.
“Accelerating equitable vaccine delivery is key to prevention.”
The Lancet report said that globally, from March 1, 2020, to April 30, 2021, its researchers estimate that 1,134,000 children “experienced the death of primary caregivers, including at least one parent or custodial grandparent.” In addition, it is estimated that “1,562,000 children … experienced the death of at least one primary or secondary caregiver.”
“Psychosocial and economic support can help families to nurture children bereft of caregivers and help to ensure that institutionalization is avoided,” The Lancet report said. “These data show the need for an additional pillar of our response: prevent, detect, respond, and care for children.”
The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center recorded 207,217,030 global COVID-19 cases and 4,362,337 global deaths early Monday.