Millions of Americans can sign up to get a Moderna or Johnson & Johnson booster shot starting Friday, a dramatic expansion of the nation’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky gave the green light to the Biden administration’s plansAmericans would have the opportunity to receive coronavirus booster shot, and could pick which vaccine they wanted to be given regardless of how many inoculations had been received. One day prior, the Food and Drug Administration authorized the administration of additional doses and allowed a mix-and match strategy.

“The evidence shows that all three [COVID-19] vaccines authorized in the United States are safe — as demonstrated by the over 400 million vaccine doses already given,” Walensky said in a statement just hours after a panel of CDC experts endorsed the booster program. “And, they are all highly effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even in the midst of the widely circulating delta variant.”

This ruling is a victory for President Joe BidenIn response to a rapid rise in coronavirus-related infections, he had promised to give booster shots to all adults.

Pfizer BioNTech boosters have been approved by FDA last month for many high-risk Americans. It is possible that people over 65, high-risk individuals, and those who work in high-exposure occupations could be eligible for a third dose of vaccine to improve their immunity against COVID-19. These boosters can be obtained at least six months following a second dose. They are designed to increase protection, especially as the Delta variant spreads.

Moderna booster will be administered in half the dose of the first shot. It has similar restrictions. But a second Johnson & Johnson jab will be available to anyone 18 and older who received the initial dose at least two months after the first shot. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the only one-dose inoculation available in the U.S.

While all of the approved vaccines in the U.S. are highly effective against COVID-19-related death and serious illness, studies have shown that they may lose effectiveness for milder infections after a few months.

“Millions of people are newly eligible to receive a booster shot and will benefit from additional protection,” the CDC said in a statement. “However, today’s action should not distract from the critical work of ensuring that unvaccinated people take the first step and get an initial COVID-19 vaccine. More than 65 million Americans remain unvaccinated, leaving themselves — and their children, families, loved ones, and communities — vulnerable.”

The country is still suffering from the pandemic, which causes an average 75,000 new infections each day and 1500 deaths per day. However, fatalities and cases have been falling steadily over the last few weeks.


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