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‘We will not boost our way out of this pandemic,’ CDC director says as 70 million eligible Americans remain unvaccinated


By Aya Elamroussi, CNN

Three-quarters of eligible Americans have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and some are now able to receive an additional booster shot. But the virus still poses a great threat to more than 70 million eligible people who remain unvaccinated.

“The most vulnerable are those unvaccinated,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Friday.

The CDC on Friday approved a third shot of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine to an expanded group of Americans.

“Starting today, if you are six months out from your last dose of the Pfizer vaccine, you are eligible for a booster if you fall into one of three high-risk groups,” US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said during a briefing.

“Number one: You are 65 or older. Number two: You have a medical condition that puts you at high risk of severe illness with Covid and these conditions include obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease and others. And Number three: You work or live in a setting where you are at high risk of exposure to Covid. This includes health care workers, teachers, those living in shelters or prisons and grocery store workers,” Murthy said.

Boosters have not yet been endorsed for the two other vaccines offered in the US — those from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson. Health officials are working to determine next steps for recipients of those vaccines.

The Food and Drug Administration “is working with Moderna and J&J to get and process their data as quickly as possible with the goal of making booster recommendations for Moderna and J&J recipients in the coming weeks,” Murthy said.

Walensky acknowledged that even with more Americans becoming eligible for Pfizer boosters, the country must ramp up initial vaccination numbers for the pandemic to subside.

“I want to be clear: We will not boost our way out of this pandemic,” she said Friday.

The US has fully vaccinated more than 55% of all residents as of Friday, CDC data shows, while 75% of the vaccine-eligible received at least one dose of inoculation.

A recent CNN analysis showed the average rate of Covid-19 deaths in the 10 least vaccinated states was more than four times higher over the past week than the rate in the 10 most vaccinated states.

CDC vaccine advisers had recommended that Pfizer booster shots should be made available for people over 65 and those with health risks — stopping short of expanding that threshold to include those who may be disproportionally exposed to the virus at their jobs. But Walensky moved to account for the occupational exposure group in her guidance.

“Some people really voted … with enthusiasm to say our health care workers, our frontline workers, people who were vaccinated early, people who work in congregate settings, in correctional facilities, grocery workers, really do merit the vaccine,” Walensky told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Friday. “The question wasn’t ‘yes or no,’ the question was ‘wait or do now,'” she added.

Ultimately, the decision for boosters was about “providing rather than withholding access” and the need to protect society as a whole, Walensky said.

Pfizer boosters are ready now

The boosters are already available, with CVS Health announcing Friday that nearly 6,000 of its locations started offering appointments for a third dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Those who choose to go for the booster shot will be asked to “self-attest to their eligibility” outlined by public health officials, CVS said. They also must be recipients of Pfizer’s initial two doses.

In California, Los Angeles County on Friday also began offering the booster shots to its residents who show proof of vaccination and affirm their eligibility, the county’s public health department said in a news release.

Many schools closed due to Covid-19 outbreaks, study finds

The headaches facing school officials and parents were underlined in a study released Friday on the impact so far of the pandemic on in-person learning.

About 1,800 schools closed between August 1 and September 17 because Covid-19 cases were detected, which affected the education and well-being of 933,000 students, according to the CDC study.

Nearly 60,000 teachers in 44 states were also affected by closures, and the number of closures was highest in the South, the study found.

Examining data from 8,700 districts nationwide, the CDC study found that “the largest number of districts with full remote learning (14) were in the West Census Region, followed by the South (11). Seven Midwest and two Northeast districts offered full remote learning.”

The study noted that the timing of return to school may be a factor in school closures because the schools in the South returned earlier in August than other parts of the country– which typically start in late August or early September.

Covid-19 outbreaks forced 300 Tennessee schools to close, the study shows, noting that was the most in the nation– followed by Georgia, Kentucky, Texas and South Carolina.

The CDC recommends that people in schools wear masks even if they’re vaccinated as well as screen testing and physical distancing to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

New York prepares for hospital staffing shortages ahead of Monday vaccine deadline

New York state is bracing for potential staffing shortages at hospitals and long-term care facilities ahead of a Monday deadline for workers there to get at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.

The state health department issued the deadline in mid-August.

As of Wednesday, 84% of all hospital employees in the state had been fully vaccinated, along with 81% of staff at all adult care facilities and 77% of all staff at nursing home facilities.

Percentages for those who had at least one dose were not immediately available.

On Saturday, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a plan to address any staffing shortages that result from the deadline. She said she was prepared to sign an executive order, if necessary, that would allow health care professionals licensed in other states or countries, recent graduates, and retired professionals to practice in the state.

Other options, Hochul said, include deployment of medically trained National Guard members and partnering with the federal government to deploy disaster medical assistance teams to assist.

™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Maggie Fox, Deidre McPhillips, Virginia Langmaid, Stella Chan, Elizabeth Stuart, Jason Hanna and Kristina Sgueglia contributed to this report.




  1. But how can we trust science if we modify our conclusions just because we got some new information? Shouldn’t we stick with the old conclusions no matter what we learn in the future? Science is a flip-flopper! Boycott all things that were made with science, including computers!

  2. Keep moving the goal posts 70% was herd immunity now 85%-95% then 100% then 1 booster after the next after the next. What is fully vaccinated 30+ boosters???
    The kids immune systems will be destroyed and sterilized. Kids being used as guinea pigs is beyond a crime Against Humanity. Paging Dr. Moloch!!! Sickening

    1. Considering kids have extremelllllly low risk to covid, one has to wonder if the risk to covid for them is about equal to the risk of the vaccine. So if they say the vaccine is safe for kids, then they are in turn saying covid is safe for them as well if they have nearly the same risk.

  3. Here’s what I’ve done. I’ve worked tirelessly over the last eighteen months taking care of those that don’t care. I’m done. Going to retire. I’m going fishing where I don’t have to listen to the dribble coming out of the mouths of the misinformed. Don’t care if you live or die because you have made your bed. Good luck with that. We are in trouble because some of you believe the big lie. If this is what America means to you we are lost. There will be no going back when you pin your hopes on someone who actually tried to overthrow our government. Chaos and anarchy are soon to follow.

  4. Vaers just release their updates, pretty scary but I still don’t trust their amounts. I think it’s more. Remember the CDC now says you are not “fully vaccinated” until after 14 days. *************CDC-In general, people are considered fully vaccinated:

    2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or
    2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
    If you don’t meet these requirements, regardless of your age, you are NOT fully vaccinated. Keep taking all precautions until you are fully vaccinated., look it up, I’ll add the link too.******

    Interesting, that you have to wait 14 days to be considered “vaccinated.” After a vaccine shot that’s when many things can go wrong. So, if you have an adverse reaction or die before 14 days, your body will count as unvaccinated. CDC also changed their definition of the vaccine. Sneaky! A lot of brave whistleblowers coming out, loving the videos of what really happens in hospital. Here is the link to VAERS numbers just released. Stop blaming the healthy unvaccinated and do your own research!


    701,559 Adverse Events
    60,741 Hospitalizations
    80,393 Urgent Care
    6,637 Heart Attacks
    5,765 Myocarditis
    1,862 Miscarriages
    19,210 Disabled
    14,925 Deaths

    1. From:

      According to the CDC website, “VAERS received 6,490 reports of death (0.0019 percent) among people who received a COVID-19 vaccine. A review of available clinical information, including death certificates, autopsy, and medical records, has not established a causal link to COVID-19 vaccines. However, recent reports indicate a plausible causal relationship between the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine and TTS, a rare and serious adverse event—blood clots with low platelets—which has caused deaths.”
      Heidi Larson, director of the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine told Science, “for those who are out to scare, there’s a lot of material out there” referring to the VAERS database. She further says, “CDC and the public health community need to make a serious investment right now to more aggressively counter the misuse of VAERS data, for example by responding as quickly as possible to new myths that are gaining traction, and doing so in lay-friendly language and forums rather than arcane medical journals. At least make sure you get the right information out there as soon as possible. Watch how people misinterpret [VAERS data] … because it’s clearly being misinterpreted.”

        1. And natural immunity ? Time to give some attention to the most effective form of long term immunity- and that’s through natural exposure- 97% survival rate- remember !

    2. I would encourage you to keep posting this information- the 700,500 Adverse event number (over a few months) is shocking… this is not a coincidence- there is something terribly wrong !

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