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Overnight Health Care: All adults in US now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine | White House launches media blitz to promote vaccines

Overnight Health Care: All adults in US now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine | White House launches media blitz to promote vaccines
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Welcome to Monday's Overnight Health Care. We're not usually jealous of New Yorkers, but it's pretty cool that they can get vaccinated under a blue whale in the American Museum of Natural History. 

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: Everyone over 16 in the country is now eligible for a coronavirus shot, and the White House is launching a media blitz to convince people to get vaccinated. The FDA ordered a troubled Baltimore company to stop manufacturing Johnson & Johnson's vaccine, and the WHO officially said "vaccine passports" are not a good idea.  

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Milestone: All adults in US now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine

All adults in the United States are now eligible to register for the COVID-19 vaccine, just in time for President BidenJoe BidenWarren calls for US to support ceasefire between Israel and Hamas UN secretary general 'deeply disturbed' by Israeli strike on high rise that housed media outlets Nation's largest nurses union condemns new CDC guidance on masks MORE’s Monday deadline for appointments to be available for all adults.  

Those 16 and older in every state, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico are eligible to receive a vaccine as of Monday, which public health experts are labeling as a major win for the country’s effort to reemerge from the pandemic. 

Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island and Vermont were the latest states to open vaccine registration appointments to all adults, according to The New York Times.

Current statistics: More than half of all American adults over 18, or almost 131 million, have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 33 percent, or more than 85 million, are fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.  

An average of 3.2 million doses are being administered per day, compared to the about 1.7 million given last month. 

Biden’s original target: The president initially had aimed for all adults to have access to COVID-19 vaccines by May 1 before updating the deadline earlier this month.

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Read more here.

 

And the White House is launching a media blitz to get the word out

Top Biden administration health officials are participating in roughly 30 local news interviews across the country, according to a White House official, focusing on markets that have lower vaccination rates in order to boost confidence in vaccines. Some health officials will also participate in national interviews.

The officials include the top infectious diseases expert Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFauci: COVID-19 vaccine could lead to 'breakthrough' in HIV fight GOP lawmaker calls for Wuhan probe to 'prevent the next pandemic' Trump bemoans lack of vaccine credit amid mask news MORE, White House senior adviser on coronavirus response Andy Slavitt, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraMcDonald's teams up with HHS on pro-vaccination campaign Overnight Health Care: FDA authorizes Pfizer vaccine for adolescents | Biden administration reverses limits on LGBTQ health protections The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden reverses Trump limits on transgender protections MORE, Assistant Secretary for Health Rachel LevineRachel LevineBiden administration loosens restrictions on meds for opioid use disorder amid rise in deaths Overnight Health Care: All adults in US now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine | White House launches media blitz to promote vaccines White House launches media effort to promote coronavirus vaccines MORE, Surgeon General Vivek MurthyVivek MurthyA full pandemic recovery demands mental health support Biden to appear on MSNBC before town hall on vaccines Surgeon general: US 'still not doing enough' to address growing mental health crisis MORE, White House senior adviser for COVID-19 equity Cameron Webb and White House vaccine coordinator Bechara Choucair, according to the official.

President Biden also filmed a brief video that was disseminated on White House social media platforms in which he urges Americans to sign up for their shots.

“Everybody is eligible as of today to get the vaccine. We have enough of it, you need to be protected and you need in turn to protect your neighbors and your family. So please, get the vaccine,” Biden says in the video.

Read more here

 

New twist in the J&J saga: FDA orders troubled Baltimore J&J contractor to pause manufacturing

In addition to a pause on the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because of concerns about very rare blood clots, there is now also a manufacturing pause at a Baltimore plant making the vaccine. 

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Federal regulators ordered the embattled Emergent BioSolutions plant in Baltimore to stop producing new Johnson & Johnson vaccine material pending a completed inspection, the company said Monday. 

In a regulatory filing with the Securities and Exchanges Commission released Monday, Emergent said it "agreed not to initiate the manufacturing of any new material" for Johnson & Johnson's vaccine "and to quarantine existing material" until the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finishes its inspection.

The FDA began its inspection April 12, the company said.

Background: The disclosure from Emergent is the latest blow to Johnson & Johnson's ramping up of domestic production for its coronavirus vaccine. 

J&J contracted with Emergent to help manufacture vaccines early in the pandemic, but the company has come under fire from regulators after 15 million doses of the vaccine were ruined last month after being contaminated by ingredients from AstraZeneca's vaccine.

Read more here

 

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Watchdog report faults chaotic and unsafe response to early pandemic overseas evacuations

Remember the repatriation flights at the beginning of the pandemic? The Government Accountability Office is out with a new report finding faults in the response. 

A lack of specific planning and infighting between federal agencies in the earliest days of the coronavirus pandemic led to a chaotic effort to bring home hundreds of Americans from overseas that put repatriates, federal personnel and nearby communities at risk, according to the report.

The GAO report found the agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services "experienced serious fundamental coordination challenges, including disagreement over whether to designate the effort as an evacuation or repatriation."

The report centers around efforts between January and March 2020 to bring back to America approximately 1,100 individuals from Wuhan, China, and the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan.

According to the report, HHS agencies did not follow repatriation plans or guidance and had not previously exercised emergency repatriation plans in the context of a pandemic, which would have helped clarify roles and responsibilities and identify any response efforts needing improvement.

The GAO probe found agencies were fighting over who was in charge, and disagreements over the terminology led to confusion and safety lapses. 

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WHO panel gives thumbs down to requiring vaccination proof for travel

A WHO panel came out against any requirements that travelers show proof of their COVID-19 vaccination in order to enter certain countries, highlighting its concern that such measures would aggravate inequities. 

The Emergency Committee released a statement on Monday detailing its members’ advice to the director-general, including to avoid any mandate for people to prove they took the vaccine before traveling into countries.

Inequity concerns: The panel specifically cited unease about inequity as the vaccine remains less available in certain areas and nations, especially countries that could not afford to collect a large stockpile of vaccine doses, giving their residents a disadvantage. 

“Do not require proof of vaccination as a condition of entry, given the limited (although growing) evidence about the performance of vaccines in reducing transmission and the persistent inequity in the global vaccine distribution,” the committee’s recommendation reads. 

“States Parties are strongly encouraged to acknowledge the potential for requirements of proof of vaccination to deepen inequities and promote differential freedom of movement.”

Follows:  Mike Ryan, the executive director of the WHO’s emergencies program, said earlier this month that WHO did not support “vaccine passports” that serve as proof of vaccination.

Read more here.

 

Virtual Event Announcement: 

Policy Prescriptions for Cost & Coverage--Tuesday, April 20 at 1:30PM ET

From delaying medical care and putting off doctor visits, to struggling to access adequate services ‒ health care in the traditional sense had largely been put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic. But now, as vaccines bring hope that the nation may soon begin to emerge from this crisis, longstanding concerns will have to be addressed. How can we bring patient-centered solutions to the health care system and ensure its resiliency? Editor-at-Large Steve Clemons is joined by Reps. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) and Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisRoy to challenge Stefanik for Cheney's old position Watchdog finds Architect of the Capitol was sidelined from security planning ahead of Jan. 6 Capitol Police watchdog calls for boosting countersurveillance MORE (R-IL) and ACS CAN's Keysha Brooks-Coley. RSVP today. 

 

What we’re reading

The race to untangle the secrets of rare, severe blood clots after Johnson & Johnson vaccination (Washington Post)

Public health experts worry about boom-bust cycle of support (Associated Press and Kaiser Health News)

U.S. faces critical weeks as COVID-19 cases rise again in some places (Wall Street Journal)

 

State by state

Vaccine hesitancy in South Dakota could prolong pandemic, delay return to normal (Brookings Register

SC governor, biz groups push for COVID liability protection (Associated Press)

Questions surface over Minnesota's COVID-19 testing contract (Star Tribune)

 

Op-eds in The Hill

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine needs an honest risk assessment