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Overnight Health Care: White House rebuffs call to send more vaccine doses to certain states | White House warns states to expect low weekly J&J vaccine shipments

Overnight Health Care: White House rebuffs call to send more vaccine doses to certain states | White House warns states to expect low weekly J&J vaccine shipments
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Welcome to Friday’s Overnight Health Care. Check out this video of Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) singing (not amazingly) about why you should get the vaccine. 

If you have any tips, email us at nweixel@thehill.com, psullivan@thehill.com and jcoleman@thehill.com follow us on Twitter at @NateWeixel, @PeterSullivan4, and @JustineColeman8 

Today: The White House committed to sending a surge of resources to Michigan and other states hardest hit by a new wave of COVID-19 infections -- just not a surge of vaccines. States should expect much smaller shipments of J&J's vaccine going forward, and new documents obtained by House Democrats show the extent to which former Trump officials interfered at the CDC. 

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We'll start with vaccines: 

White House to Michigan: Sorry, no extra doses for you

The White House on Friday said it planned to send additional staff to help with vaccinations in hard-hit states but rebuffed calls to send more doses of the vaccine.

"We will be offering to states with significant increases in cases a set of additional tools to help them to stem the spread," White House coronavirus response coordinator Jeff ZientsJeff ZientsUS reaching turning point in pandemic amid vaccination concerns Overnight Health Care: Biden announces 1M have enrolled in special ObamaCare sign-up period | Rand Paul clashes with Fauci over coronavirus origins | Biden vows to get 'more aggressive' on lifestyle benefits of vaccines Biden vows to get 'more aggressive' on lifestyle benefits of vaccines MORE said Friday.

That includes additional federal personnel to help with vaccinations, as well as more testing capacity and more therapeutics to treat people with the virus.

However: The offer will not include more doses of the vaccine itself, something that officials in Michigan, in particular, have been calling for.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen WhitmerGretchen WhitmerCompany continues operating pipeline through Michigan despite governor's order Michigan Republican offers bill to fine fact-checkers for errors Michigan to end remote work after reaching 55 percent vaccination rate MORE (D) called on President BidenJoe Biden28 Senate Democrats sign statement urging Israel-Hamas ceasefire Franklin Graham says Trump comeback would 'be a very tough thing to do' Schools face new pressures to reopen for in-person learning MORE to send more doses given the worrying spike in cases in the state, as have several prominent public health experts and members of the state's congressional delegation.

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Zients argued the vaccine is still needed everywhere in the country.

"There are tens of millions of people across the country in each and every state and county who have not yet been vaccinated and the fair and equitable way to distribute the vaccine is based on the adult population by state, tribe and territory," he said.

Read more here

 

Democrats say: Documents show Trump officials helped suppress coronavirus CDC reports

Top former Trump administration advisers helped suppress scientific information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) they felt was harmful to President TrumpDonald TrumpFranklin Graham says Trump comeback would 'be a very tough thing to do' Man suspected in wife's disappearance accused of casting her ballot for Trump Stefanik: Cheney is 'looking backwards' MORE, and attacked the agency's credibility, according to documents obtained by House Democrats.

"Our investigation has shown that Trump Administration officials engaged in a persistent pattern of political interference in the nation’s public health response to the coronavirus pandemic, overruling and bullying scientists and making harmful decisions that allowed the virus to spread more rapidly," said Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), chairman of the subcommittee.

Specifically, the committee found former science adviser Paul Alexander attempted to alter or block at least 13 CDC reports related to the coronavirus. 

Yippee: When it worked, as in the instance where CDC leaders reportedly changed the opening sentence of a report about the spread of the virus among younger people, Alexander bragged about it. 

“Small victory but a victory nonetheless and yippee!!!” he reportedly wrote in an email.

The Trump administration has denied that there was any political interference impacting CDC reports, and claimed Alexander's emails “absolutely did not shape department policy or strategy."

Read more here.

 

Vaccines for youths: Pfizer-BioNTech request emergency authorization to vaccinate 12- to 15-year-olds

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Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech requested to amend their emergency use authorization with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to get approval to administer their COVID-19 vaccine to 12- to 15-year-olds.

The move would expand the FDA's emergency authorization for the vaccine, which is currently only available for those 16 and older. With the other two vaccines authorized in the U.S. only for adults, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine would become the first available to 12- to 15-year-olds in the U.S.

The two companies said they plan to request similar age extensions from other regulatory authorities worldwide in the coming days.

Follows: Pfizer and BioNTech released research last month that determined their vaccine is 100 percent effective in the age group. At the time, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said he hoped to start vaccinating 12- to 15-year-olds before the start of the next school year. This could go a long way towards making that happen.

Read more here

 

Bye bye bye: White House warns states to expect low weekly J&J vaccine shipments

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White House officials said Friday that states will receive substantially fewer doses of Johnson & Johnson's vaccine over the coming weeks, until the Food and Drug Administration can authorize the company's production facility in Baltimore.

"We expect a relatively low level of weekly doses distributed to states, tribes, territories and our federal channels" until the manufacturing facility is authorized, Jeff Zients, White House coronavirus response coordinator, said Friday.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that Johnson & Johnson doses sent out will drop from about 4.9 million this week to 700,000 next week, a cut of 85 percent.

Only 5 million Johnson & Johnson shots have been administered nationwide, according to CDC data, compared with 170 million shots of the other two authorized vaccines.

Unmet goals? J&J previously said it expects to deliver 24 million doses by the end of April, but it's not clear if that can happen without the Baltimore plant's authorization. But the last time it mentioned those numbers was March 31. Since then, the company in public statements has said only that it will meet, or nearly meet, a target of 100 million doses delivered by the end of May.

Read more here.

 

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Variant concerns rise: CDC documents increase in Brazil strain in US

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that cases of the COVID-19 variant first detected in Brazil are on the rise in the United States.

Data released Thursday showed 434 reported cases of the P.1 variant across 28 jurisdictions. 

States seeing the variant: Most of the cases are reported in Massachusetts, where there are 102 cases. Other states hardest hit by the P.1 variant include Illinois with 93 cases, Florida with 87 cases and California with 39.

The P.1. variant is the second most common variant in the U.S. behind the B.1.1.7 variant first identified in the U.K., which CDC Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskySchools face new pressures to reopen for in-person learning CDC clarifies mask guidance for schools Sunday shows - Cheney removal, CDC guidance reverberate MORE said Wednesday is the dominant strain in the country. A total of 19,554 strains of the B.1.1.7 variant have been reported across 52 jurisdictions in the U.S.

The U.S. has recorded 424 cases of the third variant, B.1.351, which was first discovered in South Africa.

Read more here

 

What we’re reading

CDC ramps up scrutiny of rare post-vaccination ‘breakthrough infections’ (Washington Post

To speed vaccination, some call for delaying second shots (New York Times

Scientists work toward an elusive dream: a simple pill to treat COVID-19 (Stat News)

They tested negative for COVID. Still, they have long COVID symptoms (Kaiser Health News

 

State by state

Wisconsin reports most daily COVID-19 cases in nearly 2 months; deaths, hospitalizations also up (Wisconsin State Journal)

Shift to Phase 2 could mean dip in vaccine doses sent to Northern Virginia (WTOP)

Proposed new Indiana vaping products tax blasted as ‘measly’ (Chicago Tribune)