CVS no longer administering J&J shots in many locations
Overnight Health Care: Biden pleads for more people to get vaccinated | Harris highlights COVID-19 vaccination safety | Novavax COVID-19 vaccine shown highly effective in trial
Welcome to Monday's Overnight Health Care. In another move toward normalcy, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said fully vaccinated members and staff do not have to wear masks on the House side - almost a month after the CDC lifted masking recommendations for fully vaccinated people.
Today: Novavax finally reported data from its clinical trial. President Biden issued a plea for people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, and Vice President Harris made similar remarks as part of the U.S. "month of action."
We'll start with Biden:
Biden pleads for people to get vaccinated 'as soon as possible'
President Biden on Monday urged Americans who have not yet gotten vaccinated against the coronavirus to do so as soon as possible, pointing to the nearly 600,000 lives lost domestically from the virus.
"If you have not been vaccinated, get vaccinated. Get vaccinated as soon as possible. We have plenty of vaccinations, plenty of sites. We have more work to do to beat this virus and now is not the time to let our guard down," Biden said.
July 4th goal in doubt: Biden has set a goal of vaccinating 70 percent of U.S. adults with at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by July 4. While 13 states have reached that threshold, others are lagging behind and Biden appears increasingly unlikely to meet that goal.
Nationally, 64.5 percent of Americans above age 18 have received at least one dose of vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The White House has embarked on a multipronged effort to address vaccine concerns, deliver doses to hard-to-reach Americans and incentivize individuals to get their shots over the next month.
Another part of the vaccine push: Harris highlights COVID-19 vaccination safety, efficacy in SC event to kick off tour
Vice President Harris on Monday touted the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine on the first stop of her tour to convince skeptical Americans to get the shot.
"The vaccines - let me say it again - are safe. They are safe. And they are free. And they are effective. And it is that simple. If you are vaccinated, you are protected. If your community is vaccinated, COVID rates in your community will go down," Harris said in Greenville, S.C.
Harris said, in her remarks at a COVID-19 vaccination mobilization event at the Phillis Wheatley Community Center, that misinformation is a major barrier to getting more Americans to take the vaccine.
Novavax COVID-19 vaccine shown highly effective in trial
Novavax revealed the results of a phase three COVID-19 vaccine trial that determined that the company's two-dose inoculation is highly effective.
The trial found the Novavax vaccine to be 90.4 percent effective overall, and 100 percent effective in protecting against moderate and severe disease.
The vaccine was also found to be 91 percent effective among high-risk populations, defined as individuals over the age of 65, or younger if they have certain comorbidities.
The results of the trial with almost 30,000 participants across 119 sites in the U.S. and Mexico aligned with the effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, which saw 95 percent and 94.1 percent efficacies, respectively, in phase three clinical trials.
What's next: Novavax, in a news release Monday morning, said it plans to file for regulatory authorizations in the third quarter, once the final phases of testing and process qualifications are met.
Upon approval, the company said it is on track to manufacture 100 million doses per month by the end of the third quarter, and 150 million per month by the end of the fourth quarter of this year.
"Novavax continues to work with a sense of urgency to complete our regulatory submissions and deliver this vaccine, built on a well understood and proven platform, to a world that is still in great need of vaccines," Novavax President and CEO Stanley C. Erck said.
Context: The U.S. has plenty of other vaccine options, so the future of Novavax in this country is uncertain, despite the fact that the federal government paid $1.6 billion for 100 million doses under the Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed.
The vaccine may be put to better use overseas, especially if the FDA decides the company needs to apply for full approval or licensure, which could slow the process down even more. But even though the company likely missed its opportunity to contribute to the first wave of vaccinations in the U.S., the nation will probably need booster shots at some point in the next year.
Vermont governor lifts restrictions as state becomes first to reach 80 percent vaccinated
Gov. Phil Scott (R) announced Monday that Vermont has become the first state in the country to vaccinate 80 percent of its eligible population of people 12 and older against the coronavirus, and that as a result of the successful vaccination campaign, all remaining pandemic restrictions would be lifted.
"Effective immediately, I'm lifting all remaining COVID restrictions. Our work continues, but Vermonters can be proud of what they've done," Scott tweeted.
Can other states hit Biden's goal, though? Not every state is as successful as Vermont in the vaccine push. Nationally, 62 percent of people 12 and older have received at least one vaccine dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
When looking at adults 18 and over, the national figure is 64.4 percent, meaning there is progress to be made if the country will hit the Biden administration's July 4 goal of 70 percent.
Red/blue divide: Vermont, Hawaii and Massachusetts are at the top of the list with more than 80 percent of adults 18 and older vaccinated, according to data compiled by The New York Times.
Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana are at the bottom, with less than 50 percent.
UK study: Pfizer, AstraZeneca vaccines offer protection against Delta variant
A British study released on Monday found that the Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines offer solid protection against hospitalization due to the Delta variant.
Public Health England determined that the full two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine offers 96 percent protection against hospitalization, and the AstraZeneca vaccine gives 92 percent protection against hospitalization.
The preprinted analysis concluded that the protection rates are "comparable" to the vaccines' effectiveness against the Alpha variant.
Another study: Another analysis in Scotland published as a letter Monday in the Lancet medical journal concluded that the vaccines were slightly less effective against infection with the Delta strain than other variants.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was found to give 79 percent against the Delta variant, and the AstraZeneca vaccine provided 60 percent protection against Delta, after both doses.
Why it matters: Concerns have mounted about the effectiveness of the vaccines against the Delta variant as it has become the dominant strain in the U.K. and is spreading across the U.S.
Another recent study from Public Health England found that while two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech or AstraZeneca vaccines was considered effective against symptomatic Delta cases, both vaccines only gave 33 percent protection to partially vaccinated people with one shot.
What we're reading
Coronavirus infections dropping where people are vaccinated, rising where they are not, Post analysis finds (The Washington Post)
Anti-vax groups rack up victories against Covid-19 push (Politico)
In alleged health care 'money grab,' Nation's Largest Hospital Chain Cashes In on Trauma Centers (Kaiser Health News)
'I'm just winging it': Faced with confusing data on the new Alzheimer's drug, doctors scramble to advise their patients (STAT)
State by state
Some medically vulnerable Texans feel left behind as the state returns to normal (Texas Tribune)
Ohio may let doctors refuse to give medical service if it violates their religious beliefs (The Columbus Dispatch)
Arizona has over $1B in federal COVID-19 relief money. How will it be spent? (The Arizona Republic)
Op-eds in The Hill