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SB Public Health urging vaccination, boosters amid new variant

Biden launching winter COVID-19 booster, testing campaign

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Joe Biden is kicking off a more urgent campaign for Americans to get COVID-19 booster shots.

Biden on Thursday is unveiling a winter plan to combat the coronavirus and its omicron variant with enhanced availability of shots and vaccines but without major new restrictions. Biden is set to require private insurers to cover the cost of at-home COVID-19 tests and to tighten testing requirements for people entering the U.S. 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.

What we know and don't know about new Omicron variant

Scientists say it could be weeks before they better understand how dangerous the omicron variant is. It is still unknown whether the newest coronavirus “variant of concern” spreads faster than delta or makes people sicker.

It also isn't clear how well protection from vaccines or having survived COVID-19 caused by another variant will protect against infection from omicron.

There are lots of guesses but little hard evidence as scientists race to find answers amid scrutiny from an anxious public. In the meantime, scientists urge people to get vaccinated and take other public health measures such as masking indoors.

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The Associated Press

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Joe Buttitta

Joe Buttitta co-anchors the Morning News on News Channel 3-12 and NewsChannel 3 Midday. To learn more about Joe, click here

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