By Stephanie Stahl

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As the majority of counties in the tri-state area deal with high levels of community COVID transmission, the White House announced extra booster shots to keep vaccinated people protected against the virus.

The booster comes eight months after the second shot, something federal health officials say is necessary to guard against the delta variant. The White House Task Force released information Wednesday saying vaccine effectiveness falls after about six months.

READ MORE: CBS3 Mysteries: Detectives Searching For Man They Believe Can Help Solve Santino Thomas' Murder Case

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said during a briefing, “We are concerned that this pattern of decline we are seeing will continue in the months ahead, which could lead to reduced protection against severe disease.”

In Philadelphia, Acting Health Director Dr. Cheryl Bettigole said boosters will be available at pharmacies and pop-up clinics.

“Our plan, should the CDC proceed with that recommendation, will be to utilize our existing network of vaccine providers,” Dr. Bettigole said.

Mega-sites are not part of the booster plan unless they become necessary.

READ MORE: Sharon Hill Borough Council Launches Independent Investigation Into Fatal Shooting Of 8-Year-Old Fanta Bility

The focus now turns to preparations. Dr. Jonathan Stallkamp with Main Line Health told CBS3 the booster will be offered to employees first because they are seeing another surge of COVID patients.

“It’s not where we were back in back of March of 2020, but it’s still up, and it’s continuing to increase and it’s increasing across the Delaware Valley,” Dr. Stallkamp said.

Doctors say almost all of the patients currently hospitalized with COVID are not vaccinated. It is a heartbreaking development a year and a half into a deadly pandemic.

“It’s difficult to see. We’ve been working really hard, and I do thank everyone who’s been vaccinated, but it’s hard to continue to see patients coming in,” Dr. Stallkamp said, adding, “We don’t want people to get sick.”

MORE NEWS: 19-Year-Old Man Killed In Double Shooting Inside Port Richmond Home, Police Say

The White House said booster shots will become available September 20.

Stephanie Stahl