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3rd vaccine rolls out, new boosters being developed

Published: Mar. 2, 2021 at 12:55 PM EST
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(CNN) – Limited covid-19 vaccine supplies and appointment scheduling frustrations are just two of the hurdles facing the United States as a third vaccine is rolled out.

But even as the new one-dose shot is available, work is already being done to make all three better.

“If people want to opt for one vaccine over another, you know, they may have to wait,” said Marcella Nunez-Smith, the chair of the COVID-19 health equity task force. “Time is of the essence, getting vaccinated saves lives.”

It’s a race against virus variants believed to be more contagious.

“J&J has communicated that the supply will be limited for the next couple of weeks following this initial distribution of nearly 4 million doses,” according to Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator.

Even as more shots become available, the three companies with vaccines on the U.S. market are working on a booster to help better protect against the virus variants.

“All of the companies are already working on the next generation for some of the variants,” said Johnson & Johnson CEO and Chairman Alex Gorsky. “While we’re encouraged and we’re confident in the current vaccine that we have, you’ve always got to be preparing for the future, and frankly for the unknown.”

The latest seven-day average shows a slight increase in new COVID-19 cases and deaths compared to the week before.

“Please hear me clearly. At this level of cases with variant spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained,” said Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky. “Stay strong in your conviction. Continue wearing your well-fitting mask and taking the other public health prevention actions that we know work.”

White house officials say the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be allocated the same way as the other two.

The company expects to deliver around 16 million additional doses by the end of March.

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