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The Hill's 12:30 Report: Vaccination outlook for the spring

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 CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzHarry Reid reacts to Boehner book excerpt: 'We didn't mince words' GOP lawmakers block Biden assistance to Palestinians Cruz on Boehner: 'I wear with pride his drunken, bloviated scorn' MORE 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

ON REFRIGERATION:

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

NOW WHAT?:

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 morninghttps://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 cmartel@thehill.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 statementhttps://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 yesterdayhttps://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 suitcasehttps://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

 

Cruz house

 

Hyperlink https://bit.ly/3dqNdUz

^Hardy gave more context to this photo in New York Magazinehttps://nym.ag/3udzEhb 

Getting traction: Comedian Blaire Erskine posted a mock statement from the Cruz campaign. It has nearly 2.5 million views. Watchhttps://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 Cruzhttps://bit.ly/3k4omY0

IN THE WHITE HOUSE

To eloquently misquote Eminem, ‘Guess who’s back, back again. U.S.’s back, tell a friend’:

--> https://bit.ly/3azRUK5 ;)

Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenBiden eyes bigger US role in global vaccination efforts Ukraine says it will not back down to Russian pressure Sunday shows preview: Democrats eye two-part infrastructure push; Michigan coronavirus cases surge MORE 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 BidenJoe BidenBiden eyes bigger US role in global vaccination efforts Trump says GOP will take White House in 2024 in prepared speech Kemp: Pulling All-Star game out of Atlanta will hurt business owners of color MORE 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.  

Op-edhttps://bit.ly/2Nmu7o3

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 cliphttps://on.msnbc.com/2Zw34cj

GOTTLIEB JOINED CNBC YESTERDAY — THIS IS A HELPFUL OUTLOOK FOR THE UPCOMING MONTHS:

 

Gottlieb says US probably at 40 percent coronavirus immunity

 

Watch the cliphttps://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!

 

COVID vaccine chart

 

Zoom in on the numbershttps://bit.ly/2M5E5tj

CASE NUMBERS:

Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 27,898,118

U.S. death toll: 493,176

Breakdown of the numbershttps://cnn.it/2UAgW3y

VACCINATION NUMBERS:

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

NOTABLE TWEETS:

Lol, from the GameStop hearing yesterday:

 

GameStop investor testifies at hearing

 

Hyperlink https://bit.ly/3k8FLPh

ON TAP:

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. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/3uh9Y3h

11:15 a.m. EST: President Biden delivered remarks at the virtual Munich Security Conference. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/3uh9aLN

11:45 a.m. EST: The White House COVID-19 response team held a press briefing. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/3bpcJXA

3:10 p.m. EST: President Biden delivers remarks at the Pfizer manufacturing site. Livestreamhttps://bit.ly/3u7FFMq

NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF...:

Today is National Chocolate Mint Day.

You’re doing a very good job, Persy!:

 

Mars rover's first pics of the Red Planet

 

Hyperlink https://bit.ly/3k6u1wA 

More footage from yesterdayhttps://cnn.it/2Mc1gCs

And because you made it through the week, here’s a kitten who, like the Mars rover, should be named Perseverance:

 

Cats, kittens climbing in shoes

 

Watch: https://bit.ly/3k5Sja1