The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Vaccination outlook for the spring
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–> A midday take on what’s happening in politics and how to have a sense of humor about it.*
*Ha. Haha. Hahah. Sniff. Haha. Sniff. Ha–breaks down crying hysterically.
The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Pfizer says vaccine can be stored in normal freezers | Submits refrigeration request to the FDA | Israeli study shows single dose of Pfizer is highly effective | Argument for delaying second dose | Gottlieb predicts vaccination timeline in upcoming months | Ted Cruz admits ‘it was a mistake’ for Cancun trip | Protesters gather at Cruz’s Texas home | Biden visits Michigan | Tours Pfizer manufacturing site | U.S. officially rejoins Paris climate agreement | First photo from Mars rover
NEWS THIS MORNING
Take that, COVID! *karate chop*:
Via The Wall Street Journal’s Bojan Pancevski and Dov Lieber, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine is effective after a single dose, according to a new Israeli study. The vaccine can also be stored in normal freezers, the company announced. https://on.wsj.com/3qBTH6Z
ON THE SINGLE DOSE:
How effective the shot would be: “A single shot of the vaccine is 85% effective in preventing symptomatic disease 15 to 28 days after being administered, according to a peer-reviewed study conducted by the Israeli government-owned Sheba Medical Center and published in the Lancet medical journal.” https://on.wsj.com/3qBTH6Z
Why the single shot research is huge: There’s an argument for potentially delaying the second dose of the two-dose vaccine, which would *significantly* increase supply.
^ Is any government doing this?: Yes, the U.K. is already prioritizing giving more of its citizens a single dose. “Almost one-third of the U.K.’s adult population has now received at least one vaccine shot.” Compared to the U.S. and Canada: “Other authorities in parts of Canada and Europe have prioritized an initial shot, hoping they will have enough doses for a booster when needed.” More on the U.K.’s rationale: https://on.wsj.com/3qCkFLN
Why we are just discovering this now: “Pfizer’s original clinical study showed 52.4% effectiveness after one shot, but didn’t differentiate between before and after two weeks. That focused on a two-dose regime and found 95% efficacy a week after the second shot. The Sheba study shows just one dose could reach close to that level of efficacy.”
What we don’t know (!): How long patients will be protected with just a single dose. https://bit.ly/3pBatSv
The temperature that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine must currently be stored: Between -112 and -76 degrees Celsius, meaning special equipment is necessary.
The new temperature that Pfizer and BioNTech are suggesting: Between -13 and -5 degrees Celsius, which most pharmacies already have the capability to do. https://bit.ly/3scPqqK
Pfizer submitted the data to the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), asking for approval so the vials to be stored at the new temperatures. https://bit.ly/3scPqqK
Read the Pfizer announcement this morning: https://bit.ly/3s7Uugf
Happy Friday! I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to email@example.com — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.
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TALK OF THE MORNING
Ted and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day:
Since we last talked yesterday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) admitted that “it was a mistake” to travel to Cancun, Mexico, while millions in his state are suffering in the cold without power. https://bit.ly/3uc0Tc1
His initial statement: “Like millions of Texans, our family lost heat and power too. With school canceled for the week, our girls asked to take a trip with friends. Wanting to be a good dad, I flew down with them last night and am flying back this afternoon. My staff and I are in constant communication with state and local leaders to get to the bottom of what happened in Texas.” The full statement: https://bit.ly/3qF3zNo
He then told reporters last night: “I didn’t want all the screaming and yelling about this trip to distract even one moment from the real issues that I think Texans care about, which is keeping all of our families safe.” https://bit.ly/3qshnKV
^He also said: “It was obviously a mistake, and in hindsight I wouldn’t have done it … I understand why people are upset.” https://nbcnews.to/3pysG32
Watch Cruz’s comments yesterday: https://bit.ly/3pCsH5M
SIGHTS AND SOUNDS:
Ted Cruz had a police escort at the airport yesterday: Here’s a video: https://bit.ly/3aChVbL
Photo of Cruz carrying his suitcase: https://bit.ly/2M4yRxW
Heidi Cruz’s group chat discussing the Cancun trip was leaked: Here are the leaked texts: https://bit.ly/3ay3TYo
Protesters gathered outside Cruz’s home with signs to resign: Here’s video: https://bit.ly/3dnENgS
^Hardy gave more context to this photo in New York Magazine: https://nym.ag/3udzEhb
Getting traction: Comedian Blaire Erskine posted a mock statement from the Cruz campaign. It has nearly 2.5 million views. Watch: https://bit.ly/3kglrMd
THE POLITICAL PERILS OF SNOWMAGEDDON:
Via The Hill’s Reid Wilson, “As Texas struggles through a historic freeze that burst water pipes and sent frigid residents under mounds of blankets, its political leaders are in hot water.” The full story — it isn’t just Ted Cruz: https://bit.ly/3k4omY0
IN THE WHITE HOUSE
To eloquently misquote Eminem, ‘Guess who’s back, back again. U.S.’s back, tell a friend’:
Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced this morning that the U.S. has officially rejoined the Paris climate agreement. https://bit.ly/2Ztn53o
Hold up, didn’t that happen already?: “On his first day in office, President Biden signed an executive order that set the country on track to rejoin the global accord, but it took 30 days for the country to formally re-enter.”
Guess who’s back, guess who’s back? Guess who’s back, guess who’s back? https://bit.ly/3azRUK5
Welp, now I’ll have that song stuck in my head all weekend.
LATEST WITH THE CORONAVIRUS
This a.m. — this interview is worth watching:
Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb joined MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” this morning to discuss the vaccination rollout so far, where distribution stands and projections for March and April.
The 5-minute clip: https://on.msnbc.com/2Zw34cj
GOTTLIEB JOINED CNBC YESTERDAY — THIS IS A HELPFUL OUTLOOK FOR THE UPCOMING MONTHS:
Watch the clip: https://bit.ly/3benA6E
If you read one thing today — the news on vaccines is more positive than you may think:
The New York Times’s David Leonhardt tweeted, “For weeks, the public messages about vaccines have been more negative than the facts warrant. Now we are seeing the cost: A large percentage of Americans wouldn’t take a vaccine if offered one.”
The full Twitter thread: Read this tweet and scroll down for the rest: https://bit.ly/2NL7Xvp
Excerpt on skepticism: “Why so much skepticism? Think about all of the negative things you’ve heard about the vaccines:
– They aren’t 100% effective.
– Vaccinated people may be contagious.
– The virus variants may make everything worse.
– Don’t change your behavior even if you get a shot.” https://bit.ly/2ZzLJz6
Excerpt on the negative messaging: “The public messaging from many experts – and, yes, from us in the media – often makes the vaccines sound mediocre if not ineffectual … I get that the negative messages often have a basis in truth. There are still uncertainties about the vaccines. And they won’t wipe this coronavirus off the face of the earth anytime soon. But the negativity is fundamentally misleading – and causing real damage.” https://bit.ly/3k1XrfD
From the vaccine trials — Check this out!:
Zoom in on the numbers: https://bit.ly/2M5E5tj
Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 27,898,118
U.S. death toll: 493,176
Breakdown of the numbers: https://cnn.it/2UAgW3y
Total number of vaccinations administered in the U.S.: 59.1 million shots have been given.
Seven-day average of doses administered: An average of 1.58 million doses
For context: The U.S. population is roughly 331 million.
Breakdown of the numbers: https://bloom.bg/3iVTPLH
Lol, from the GameStop hearing yesterday:
The House and Senate are out. President Biden is in Kalamazoo, Mich., this afternoon. Vice President Harris is in Los Angeles for the weekend.
Vice President Harris has no public events scheduled.
8 a.m. EST: President Biden received the President’s Daily Brief.
9 a.m. EST: President Biden participated in a G7 virtual meeting.=
11:55 a.m. EST: President Biden left for Michigan.
2:25 p.m. EST: President Biden tours the Pfizer manufacturing site in Kalamazoo, Mich.
5:40 p.m. EST: President Biden returns to the White House.
WHAT TO WATCH:
11 a.m. EST: The House Science Committee holds a hearing on the COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3uh9Y3h
11:15 a.m. EST: President Biden delivered remarks at the virtual Munich Security Conference. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3uh9aLN
11:45 a.m. EST: The White House COVID-19 response team held a press briefing. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3bpcJXA
3:10 p.m. EST: President Biden delivers remarks at the Pfizer manufacturing site. Livestream: https://bit.ly/3u7FFMq
NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF…:
Today is National Chocolate Mint Day.
You’re doing a very good job, Persy!:
More footage from yesterday: https://cnn.it/2Mc1gCs
And because you made it through the week, here’s a kitten who, like the Mars rover, should be named Perseverance: