COVID hospitalizations have risen for 2 months straight as new booster shots expected this week

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(NEW YORK) — COVID hospitalizations have risen nearly 9% in the most recent week, marking the eighth consecutive week of increasing new admissions in a row, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Despite the continued rise, the most recent week was the smallest percentage increase in the past two months, according to the CDC data.

“While we continue to see increases in hospitalization, the rate of increase is showing signs of a slowing. This is welcome, though not surprising, news as we head in[to] the fall,” said John Brownstein, Ph.D., chief innovation officer at Boston Children’s Hospital and an ABC News Medical Contributor.

The increase in hospitalizations comes as the FDA recently approved and authorized updated COVID boosters designed to offer additional protection against current variants.

An independent advisory panel from the CDC is meeting on Tuesday to provide recommendations on who should be eligible for the new booster. The CDC director is expected to sign off shortly after.

Vaccines are set to be available later this week with increasing supply starting next week, as retailer and pharmacies receive deliveries.

“The availability of boosters in the coming week, alongside broad population immunity, further suggests we are far from COVID of years past,” Brownstein said.

Data released from vaccine manufacturers indicate that the updated boosters will hold up well against all the omicron sub variants currently circulating.

“Early data suggests a strong match between these new vaccines and emerging variants, offering encouraging news for those looking to enhance their immunity this fall,” Brownstein said.

Nearly 97% of Americans are expected to have some sort of underlying immunity from COVID, according to CDC data. Yet – additional protection may be critical for those most at-risk, including the elderly as well as those who are immune compromised, experts say.

“The latest booster vaccines mark a new phase in the ongoing effort to stay ahead of the ever-changing SARS-CoV-2 virus. The strong added protection is particularly relevant for older individuals and those with underlying chronic conditions,” Brownstein said.

The website to find COVID vaccines, known as vaccines.gov, is expected to be updated in the coming days and provide information on where shots will be available near you.

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