Health Care

Overnight Health Care — Presented by Emergent Biosolutions — 2.6M children vaccinated in first two weeks

Welcome to Wednesday’s Overnight Health Care, where we’re following the latest moves on policy and news affecting your health. Subscribe here: digital-stage.thehill.com/newsletter-signup.

Even senators are apparently listening to Taylor Swift’s 10-minute “All too Well” over and over. Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) used the song to make a pitch for climate action.    

In the first two weeks since they’ve been eligible, 10 percent of all kids ages 5-11 have received a COVID-19 vaccine.

For The Hill, we’re Peter Sullivan (psullivan@digital-stage.thehill.com), Nathaniel Weixel (nweixel@digital-stage.thehill.com) and Justine Coleman (jcoleman@digital-stage.thehill.com). Write to us with tips and feedback, and follow us on Twitter: @PeterSullivan4, @NateWeixel and @JustineColeman8.

Let’s get started.

10 percent of young kids 5-11 received first shot 

Coronavirus vaccine getting put into arm

The pace of vaccinating younger children against the coronavirus is speeding up. The White House said about 10 percent of children aged 5 to 11 will have received at least their first COVID-19 vaccine shot within the two weeks since it became available to the younger age group.

More than 2.6 million 5- to 11-year-olds are expected to have received their first dose by the end of the day on Wednesday, officials said during a briefing, citing the “strength” of the administration’s vaccination rollout for children, which has been fully operational for 10 days. There are 28 million children eligible.

White House coronavirus coordinator Jeff Zients contrasted the timeline with the 50 days it took to reach 10 percent of adults with one COVID-19 shot. 

Children’s vaccinations doubled in the first full week of the program, compared to the previous week, with 1.7 million kids getting their shots in the last week alone. The number of vaccination sites available to children also increased by 50 percent to 30,000 last week.

The numbers for kids come as the U.S. is set to hit a milestone of 80 percent of Americans aged 12 and older receiving at least one shot. According to Zients, 300,000 people are getting their first dose every day. The White House has pointed to the growing acceptance and uptake of vaccines as evidence that mandates work— many businesses across the country are requiring employees to be vaccinated. 

Read more here.

 

A MESSAGE FROM EMERGENT BIOSOLUTIONS


Emergent has produced over 100 million Covid-19 vaccine dose-equivalents. Today, these critically important doses are deployed around the world to help fight the pandemic. Get the latest on Emergent’s Covid-19 response.

IN OTHER PFIZER NEWS: ANTIVIRAL PILL TO BE MADE IN POORER NATIONS

Pfizer announced on Tuesday that it is allowing its antiviral COVID-19 pill to be made in poorer nations throughout the world in an effort to help arm them with tools to combat the pandemic.

Pfizer said that under an agreement with the United Nations-backed Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), the company will manufacture and supply the pill in 95 lower-income countries. The agreement covers roughly 53 percent of the world’s population.

The company will not receive royalties for sales in the low-income countries, and it will waive royalties for sales in all the other countries that are under the agreement for as long as the World Health Organization labels COVID-19 a public emergency of international concern.

Under the deal, MPP will receive a royalty-free license for the antiviral pill from Pfizer. That agreement will permit manufacturers to receive a sublicense and the formula for the drug.

The organization will then be able to sell the drug for use in the 95 countries under the agreement once the pill receives authorization to be used in those locations.

“We must work to ensure that all people — regardless of where they live or their circumstances — have access to these breakthroughs, and we are pleased to be able to work with MPP to further our commitment to equity,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said.

Read more here.

 

Moderna pushes for boosters for all adults 

Moderna has submitted a request to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to authorize booster doses of its coronavirus vaccine for all adults, seeking to expand the number of people eligible for a third shot.

The vaccine manufacturer announced that it asked the FDA to allow the 71 million adults initially vaccinated with Moderna’s shots to get a third dose. The 50 microgram dosage in Moderna’s booster is half of the 100 micrograms used for the first two shots for adults.

The FDA previously granted authorization last month for Moderna’s booster dose to be given six months after the second dose to people ages 65 and older and adults at high risk for severe COVID-19 due to underlying conditions or their living or work environments.

Booster debate: The debate over who should get boosters has been active for months, as the initial vaccine series is still considered effective against hospitalization and deaths. But recent research suggests boosters improve protection against infection.  

The administration has faced criticism from the World Health Organization (WHO) for prioritizing getting more shots to vaccinated people while other countries struggle to get initial doses for their at-risk populations.

Upcoming: The request comes as the FDA is poised to authorize the Pfizer-BioTech vaccine for all adults ahead of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advisory meeting on Friday.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky will have the final say on whether all adult Pfizer-BioNTech recipients can get a third dose.

Read more here.

A MESSAGE FROM EMERGENT BIOSOLUTIONS


At Emergent, we develop, manufacture, and deliver protections against public health threats. Find out how we’ve enhanced and reinforced quality control and oversight practices on our vaccine bulk drug substance manufacturing in support of Covid-19 vaccine production.

GOP SENATORS FILING CHALLENGE TO BIDEN VACCINE RULES

Senate Republicans are filing a formal challenge to President Biden‘s vaccinate-or-test COVID-19 mandate for businesses, seeking to stop the administration from implementing the mandate.

All 50 GOP senators, led by Sen Mike Braun (Ind.), joined to file their protest of the executive rule under the Congressional Review Act (CRA).

The rule published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) earlier this month orders businesses with at least 100 employees to require their workers to get vaccinated or undergo regular testing by Jan. 4, although it faces legal challenges and is currently on hold after a federal court ordered the administration to halt any implementation efforts.

Senate Republicans are framing the battle over vaccination mandates as a debate over civil liberties.

The disapproval resolution must be passed by the Senate and the House, both of which Democrats control, and be signed into law by the president. If Biden vetoes the disapproval resolution, Republicans would have to muster a two-thirds vote in each chamber to override the veto and stop the rule from taking effect.

Read more here.

Annual overdose deaths top 100K for the first time 

More than 100,000 people died of drug overdoses in the United States during the 12-month period ending April 2021, according to provisional data published Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

That number is a record high and represents a nearly 29 percent increase over the year before, the agency said.

Opioids accounted for nearly 75,000 deaths through April, and synthetic opioids specifically, like fentanyl, killed 64,000 people, the CDC said.

Advocacy groups are sounding the alarm about the persistent lack of access to substance use disorder treatment across the country.

Amid COVID-19: While most attention and government resources have been focused on COVID-19, the overdose crisis has worsened as people struggle with job losses, isolation and the deaths of family and friends brought on by the pandemic.

“As we continue to make strides to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot overlook this epidemic of loss, which has touched families and communities across the country,” President Biden said in a statement. 
Read more here.

FAUCI: COVID NOT ENDEMIC YET

Anthony Fauci said COVID-19 in the U.S. will eventually become endemic, but despite increasing vaccinations, it’s not there yet.

Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor, on Wednesday said the nation’s ultimate goal is not to eliminate COVID-19 but to reduce it to a level where it’s not dominating everyday life.

“I don’t think we’re going to eliminate it completely. We want control and I think the confusion is at what level of control are you going to accept it in its endemicity?” Fauci said during a White House briefing. 

“We don’t know really what that number is, but we will know it when we get there. It certainly is far, far lower, than 80,000 new infections per day, and is far far lower than a thousand deaths per day, and tens of thousands of hospitalizations,” Fauci added.

Fauci said the key to reaching endemic levels is to get as many people vaccinated, and boosted, as possible. 

“So even though there’s a wide bracket under control, we want to get to the lowest possible level that we can get. And rather than picking an arbitrary number, why don’t we get as many people as we can get vaccinated, vaccinated as quickly as possible, and get as many people who are eligible for boosters, getting boosted as possible,” Fauci said.

Read more here.

 

WHAT WE’RE READING

  • GOP opposition to vaccine mandates extends far beyond Covid-19 (Stat)
  • Vaccinated vs. unvaccinated: Europe’s Covid culture war (The New York Times)
  • As states defy U.S. on boosters, health experts raise concerns (Bloomberg News)

 

STATE BY STATE

  • Standoff over vaccines between Oklahoma governor and Pentagon intensifies (The New York Times)
  • California plans for a post-Roe world as abortion access shrinks elsewhere (Kaiser Health News)
  • Michigan’s COVID-19 case rate is the nation’s worst. Is the state pandemic plan working? (Detroit Free Press)

 

OP-EDS IN THE HILL

Amid challenges to Biden’s vaccine mandate, study shows they work

 

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s health care page for the latest news and coverage. See you Thursday.

{mosads}

Tags Anthony Fauci Ed Markey Jeff Zients Joe Biden Mike Braun Rochelle Walensky Taylor Swift

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File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

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In this photo released by the Governor of Sevastopol, Mikhail Razvozhayev telegram channel, a rescuer gestures as he helps people during an evacuation after storm and flooding in Sevastopol, Crimea, Monday, Nov. 27, 2023. A storm in the Black Sea took down power grids and left almost half a million people without power after it flooded roads, ripped up trees and damaged buildings in Crimea, Russian state news agency Tass said. (Governor of Sevastopol Mikhail Razvozhayev's telegram channel via AP)

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