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Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
In an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, President Biden claimed he didn’t think there was a way to withdraw from Afghanistan “without chaos ensuing,” but added that U.S. troops will remain there beyond the administration’s self-imposed August 31 deadline if every American is not evacuated from the country by then. As many as 15,000 Americans—and 80,000 Afghan allies—remain in Afghanistan in need of evacuation.
Public health officials in the Biden administration on Wednesday announced a plan—pending final FDA and CDC approval—to begin administering COVID-19 vaccine booster shots on September 20 for Pfizer and Moderna recipients eight months past their second dose. “The available data make very clear that protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection begins to decrease over time following the initial doses of vaccination,” the officials said, “and in association with the dominance of the Delta variant, we are starting to see evidence of reduced protection against mild and moderate disease.”
The Biden administration is also moving toward requiring nursing homes and long-term care facilities to—as a condition of receiving federal Medicare and Medicaid funding—mandate their employees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The move, once implemented in the coming weeks, would affect approximately 15,000 nursing homes and 1.3 million employees.