President Joe Biden announced new measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic as the new Omicron variant sweeps across the globe. Speaking at the National Institutes of Health, Biden announced a nationwide campaign to ensure that all vaccinated Americans get a booster shot. Currently, around 100 million Americans who are eligible for the booster shot have not yet received it.
Pharmacies will be expanding the availability of appointments and will reach out to people via email, text messages, and phone calls to ensure they get their booster shots. In addition, Medicare will send out a notice to 63 million Americans, urging them to get a booster. Biden said the government will work with the AARP to help seniors get their booster shots.
President Biden also stressed the importance of getting children vaccinated against the virus. To help with this effort, the administration will be opening family vaccination clinics around the country. Some will be held at community health centers, while others will be mobile clinics allowing health officials to reach people who may not have a reliable means of transportation.
In addition, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program will pay healthcare providers to talk to families about the importance of vaccination.
The plan will also include a mandate that requires private insurance companies to cover 100% of the cost of at-home coronavirus testing kits. The Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Labor, and the Treasury Department will provide specific guidance about how many tests are covered in January.
The government will also be providing 50 million free testing kits to people who do not have private insurance.
The final part of the plan includes strengthening testing requirements for international travelers. Starting next week, all international travelers will have to provide proof of a negative test within one day of their departure to the United States.