Biden launching winter COVID-19 booster, testing campaign

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BETHESDA (AP) — With rising numbers of COVID-19 cases predicted this winter, President Joe Biden is appealing for Americans to get their boosters and get behind his plan to tackle the new omicron variant through wider availability of vaccines and shots. That plan doesn’t impose new major restrictions on daily life.

During a press conference on Thursday, President Biden said there are five key actions that the nation should take. First, expanding the nationwide booster campaign with more outreach, more appointments and more sites that will provide booster shots. Second, expand vaccinations for children. Third, provide free at-home rapid tests. The plan will extend the public transit mask requirements, and finally, provide stringent testing for internaitonal travelors.

To find a free COVID-19 vaccine near you, President Biden said to text your zip code to 438829.

Biden wants to require private insurers to cover the cost of at-home COVID-19 tests. And he’s tightening testing requirements for people entering the United States, regardless of their vaccination status.

Biden’s administration says it’s making 50 million COVID-19 tests free for older people and other vulnerable groups for pickup at senior centers and community sites.

This plan will provide additional protection to Americans and fight the Omicron and Delta variants, while keeping our economy growing.

"We enter this winter from a position of strength compared to where America was last winter. Last Christmas 1% of American adults were fully vaccinated. This Christmas that number will be 72%," President Biden said.

At this time, the president isn’t imposing additional clampdowns beyond his recommendation that Americans wear masks indoors in public settings.

Read President Biden’s COVID-19 Winter Action Plan.