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The trouble to vaccinate People in opposition to covid-19 took successful this week. The Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention and the Meals and Drug Administration collectively referred to as for a pause in use of the vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson whereas specialists attempt to determine whether or not it’s chargeable for a small variety of severe blood clots, largely in ladies of childbearing age. Whereas the J&J vaccine has to date made up solely a small share of vaccines delivered within the U.S., specialists are apprehensive that issues about it may unfold to the opposite vaccines at the moment in use and exacerbate vaccine hesitancy.
In the meantime, President Joe Biden unveiled a funds that requires main will increase in well being packages, and his administration moved to maintain guarantees to abortion-rights backers relating to the abortion capsule and the federal household planning program, Title X.
This week’s panelists are Julie Rovner of Kaiser Well being Information, Tami Luhby of CNN, Rebecca Adams of CQ Roll Name and Shefali Luthra of The nineteenth.
Among the many takeaways from this week’s podcast:
— After use of the J&J vaccine was paused, the CDC’s vaccine advisory panel met Wednesday however delayed providing any extra suggestions. The pause shouldn’t be anticipated to considerably sluggish U.S. vaccination efforts, however it will likely be an issue globally — particularly when thought of within the context of the issues confronted by the same vaccine superior in Europe and overseas by AstraZeneca. These have been the vaccines that have been going to be essential to the creating world as a result of they require solely a single shot and are simpler to retailer than the vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
— One other rising wrinkle within the vaccine effort has to do with the concept of counterfeit covid paperwork.
— Well being and Human Companies Secretary Xavier Becerra went to Capitol Hill this week to speak in regards to the HHS funds, which features a 23% spending enhance for “discretionary” packages (not together with Medicare and Medicaid). Whereas packages may not get the complete boosts, there seems to be bipartisan assist for will increase to the Nationwide Institutes of Well being, together with a brand new analysis initiative specializing in most cancers, diabetes and Alzheimer’s illness. Additionally prone to see considerably extra in the way in which of sources is the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention.
— Biden signed a invoice this week that might delay a scheduled 2% Medicare reduce. This reduce is separate from one which could possibly be triggered by the lately enacted covid aid invoice. Congress seems unlikely to need to reduce funds to well being suppliers, who’re nonetheless scuffling with the pandemic, however it’s also unclear if lawmakers will return and renegotiate the funds guidelines that triggered the cuts within the first place.
— After a contentious affirmation for Becerra, Biden’s different HHS nominees appear to be having a neater go. Andrea Joan Palm, the nominee to be deputy secretary, and Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, tapped to be administrator of the Facilities for Medicare & Medicaid Companies, went earlier than the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday. Each nominees appear headed for affirmation, although each confronted questioning about lawmakers’ pet initiatives, the will increase in opioid deaths, the kids on the border and even the “public possibility,” the federal government plan for insurance coverage for individuals who don’t get protection on the job.
— On the reproductive well being entrance, Biden’s FDA took steps to waive the federal rule requiring ladies in search of medical abortions to obtain the abortion capsule in particular person — a minimum of till the pandemic ends. The administration additionally issued a proposed rule to reverse Trump administration regulations on Title X. The Trump coverage will proceed to be in impact for months, nonetheless, as a result of the process to rewrite laws is time-consuming.
— Biden doesn’t appear fully snug speaking about abortion. There’s hypothesis that he’s performing a balancing act on this difficulty — doing what might be finished to shore up the assist of his base and the pro-choice faction of the occasion with out calling vital consideration to the insurance policies.
Plus, for further credit score, the panelists suggest their favourite well being coverage tales of the week they assume you must learn, too:
Julie Rovner: KHN’s “Redfield Joins Big Ass Fans, Which Promotes Controversial Covid-Killing Technology,” by Christina Jewett and Lauren Weber.
Shefali Luthra: The nineteenth’s “Survey: 69 percent of women under age 30 say COVID-19 has harmed their mental health,” by Luthra.
Rebecca Adams: CQ Roll Name’s “Broader vaccine eligibility may exacerbate racial inequities,” by Ariel Cohen.
Tami Luhby: ProPublica’s “A Tiny Number of People Will Be Hospitalized Despite Being Vaccinated. We Have to Learn Why,” by Caroline Chen.
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