COVID-19 live updates: US vaccination initiation average at one of its lowest points

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(NEW YORK) — More than 731,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 while over 4.9 million people have died from the disease worldwide, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Just 66.9% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the CDC.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Oct 21, 8:39 pm
CDC signs off on Moderna, J&J boosters

Hours after the unanimous vote from its independent advisory committee, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has signed off on recommending booster shots for the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines for certain populations.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky recommended boosters for Pfizer and Moderna recipients with no preference on the brand, leaving that decision up to the individual.

People who are 65 and older, or individuals as young as 18 who have underlying medical conditions or live in high-risk or long-term care settings, are eligible to receive either a Pfizer or Moderna booster at least six months after their second shot, the CDC said.

The one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine is eligible to anyone aged 18 and up, at least two months after their initial dose, the CDC said.

Oct 21, 5:44 pm
CDC recommends Moderna and J&J boosters

An independent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee voted unanimously Thursday evening to recommend booster shots for both the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines for certain populations.

The panel recommended a third dose of the Moderna vaccine at least six months after a person’s initial course for those 65 and older, as well as those as young as 18 who are at higher risk due to underlying health conditions or where they work or live.

A second dose of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine was recommended for anyone aged 18 and older, at least two months after the first dose.

The panel also cleared the way for allowing mixing and matching of booster doses.

The recommendations fall in line with the Food and Drug Administration’s authorization of the boosters Wednesday.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky must now sign off on the panel’s recommendations. A decision is expected within a day.

Oct 21, 3:14 pm
Hospital admissions on the decline

COVID-19 hospital admissions in the U.S. have dropped by about 9.7% in the last week, according to federal data.

Death rates are also falling, though they remain persistently high, with an average of just under 1,250 Americans dying from the virus each day, according to the data.

Alaska currently has the country’s highest infection rate, followed by Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and North Dakota.

The U.S. is currently averaging around 76,000 new cases per day, down from 160,000 in early September. Despite boasting high vaccination rates, several Northern states continue to see cases tick up as the weather gets colder.

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