Overnight Health Care — Presented by Altria — CDC issues urgent alert for pregnant people to get COVID-19 vaccine

Overnight Health Care — Presented by Altria — CDC issues urgent alert for pregnant people to get COVID-19 vaccine
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Overnight Health Care, where we’re following the latest moves on policy and news affecting your health. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.

Noted marijuana activist Woody Harrelson was spotted at the Capitol today walking into Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPhotos of the Week: Schumer, ASU protest and sea turtles Hospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan GOP infighting takes stupid to a whole new level MORE’s (D-Calif.) office as he stepped away from filming the HBO miniseries on the men behind Watergate.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) simple message to people who are pregnant: get vaccinated. 

For The Hill, we’re Peter Sullivan (psullivan@thehill.com), Nathaniel Weixel (nweixel@thehill.com) and Justine Coleman (jcoleman@thehill.com). 

Write to us with tips and feedback, and follow us on Twitter: @PeterSullivan4, @NateWeixel and @JustineColeman8.

Let’s get started.

Clyburn pushes for Medicaid expansion amid infrastructure drama

Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.)

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Wednesday said it would be “unAmerican” not to prioritize Medicaid expansion in the Democrats's social spending package amid an intra-party clash over health care priorities.   

Clyburn one of the leaders advocating to include a provision for the federal government to step in and provide Medicaid coverage in the 12 GOP-led states that have so far declined the coverage under the Affordable Care Act. 

The provision would be included in President BidenJoe BidenPfizer CEO says vaccine data for those under 5 could be available by end of year Omicron coronavirus variant found in at least 10 states Photos of the Week: Schumer, ASU protest and sea turtles MORE’s Build Back Better plan. 

Tension with progressives: With a limited amount of funds for a slew of health care priorities, there is tension with progressives, led by Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Abortion access for 65M women at stake Hospitals in underserved communities face huge cuts in reckless 'Build Back Better' plan Sanders urges Biden to delay Medicare premium hike linked to Alzheimer's drug MORE (I-Vt.), who are pushing for expanding Medicare to include dental, vision and hearing coverage.  

Clyburn on Wednesday made the case for prioritizing Medicaid over adding to Medicare, noting that Medicaid serves low-income people while Medicare serves seniors regardless of income, meaning it includes even “billionaires.” 

“I think it would be unAmerican of us to continue to do the things that are necessary to get our economy back going and leave these 200,000 South Carolinians out, leave the Americans, the citizens in these 12 states, leave them behind as we go on to improve other parts of health care services in our country,” Clyburn said on a press call hosted by the group Protect Our Care.  

Read more here.



CDC 'strongly' urges pregnant people to get COVID-19 vaccine 

The CDC on Wednesday issued an urgent health advisory, "strongly" recommending that people who are pregnant or lactating get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Misinformation fight: The agency is stepping up its efforts to convince these vulnerable groups of the benefits of vaccination. Scientists are battling waves of misinformation that are contributing to low vaccination numbers among people who are pregnant, lactating or trying to become pregnant. 

Data shows coronavirus vaccines do not increase the risk of miscarriage or birth defects, nor do they have any negative impacts on fertility. But according to CDC data, only 31 percent of pregnant people have been vaccinated against COVID-19, and vaccination rates vary markedly by race and ethnicity. 

"Pregnancy can be both a special time and also a stressful time – and pregnancy during a pandemic is an added concern for families. I strongly encourage those who are pregnant or considering pregnancy to talk with their healthcare provider about the protective benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine to keep their babies and themselves safe," CDC Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyCDC working to tighten testing requirement for international travelers Overnight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Omicron sets off a flurry of responses CDC strengthens recommendation to say all adults should get booster shot MORE said in a statement.

Groups like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine also recommended pregnant people get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Read more here


An increase in Americans who say they are vaccinated against COVID-19 includes the largest Republican gain since April, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday.

Seventy-five percent of respondents said they were vaccinated against COVID-19, up 6 points from August. 

Overall, 80 percent said they either are vaccinated or plan to be vaccinated, the highest tally this year.

For the first time, a majority of Republicans responded that they had received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, the largest monthly uptick from April, when 39 percent said they had been at least partially vaccinated.   

By comparison, 68 percent of independents and 92 percent of Democrats said they are at least partially vaccinated against COVID-19.

Read more here

Ivermectin disinformation leads to new kinds of chaos 

An avalanche of misinformation about the antiparasitic drug ivermectin’s ability to treat COVID-19 has caused a series of national problems, from increased calls to poisoning centers to a shortage of the medicine itself. 

Patients have become desperate for a treatment that’s most commonly used for livestock and have taken their disputes over ivermectin with hospitals to court. 

Disinformation has flooded the internet, where dozens of Facebook groups centered around ivermectin remain active despite insufficient evidence that the medicine works in treating people for COVID-19. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), other state health departments and even Merck, the drug’s main manufacturer, have all warned against using ivermectin for COVID-19. Still, online influences supporting the controversial COVID-19 treatment endure. 

Media Matters for America found 60 public and private Facebook groups dedicated to ivermectin last month, before the social media giant removed 25 of them after the liberal watchdog’s report. But the other groups still involve more than 70,000 combined users. 

“The promise that there are miracle solutions to an illness is really persuasive,” Jennifer Reich, a professor of sociology at the University of Colorado Denver. “And the idea that individuals can manage their own health, if they read a lot, gather information and make their own decisions is really powerful.”

Read more here





The South Carolina Department of Education on Wednesday said that it will follow a federal judge's recent order blocking the state’s ban on school mask mandates, informing school districts that they “now have the discretionary authority to require masks.” 

The state’s education superintendent, Molly Spearman (R), informed local school district leaders across South Carolina that U.S. District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis on Tuesday approved a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction prohibiting the enforcement of the statewide mask mandate ban. 

The measure, known as Proviso 1.108, had been written into the state’s budget and effectively put school districts that imposed mask mandates at risk of losing state funding. 

Despite a statement from Gov. Henry McMaster’s (R) office shortly after the decision saying that he planned to challenge the ruling, Spearman wrote Wednesday that the “immediate effect of the Court’s order is that both the state and local school districts are prohibited from enforcing Proviso 1.108 and school districts now have the discretionary authority to require masks.” 

However, the superintendent noted that the state education department “will continue to monitor further action taken by the judicial system that may alter the aforementioned guidance and correspond with schools and districts accordingly.” 

Read more here.



  • White House moves to shield pandemic response if the government shuts down (The Washington Post
  • ‘Never-ending nightmare': The hospitals where the ICU occupancy stayed high (NBC News)
  • We’re already barreling towards the next pandemic (The Atlantic)



  • I worry every single day’: Idaho officials say COVID crisis to get more dire this fall (Idaho Statesman
  • 'We're gonna lose a bunch more people,' GOP governor says while pleading for residents to get vaccinated (CNN
  • N.J. district puts 900 staff, students on COVID quarantine after starting year mask-optional (NJ.com)




That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s healthcare page for the latest news and coverage. See you Thursday.