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Overnight Health Care: FDA endorses safety and efficacy of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine | FDA authorizes first at-home, over counter test | Fauci says Trump, Biden should be vaccinated soon

Overnight Health Care: FDA endorses safety and efficacy of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine | FDA authorizes first at-home, over counter test | Fauci says Trump, Biden should be vaccinated soon
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Welcome to Tuesday's Overnight Health Care.

Moderna's coronavirus vaccine will likely be on its way soon after being endorsed by the FDA today, ahead of a panel meeting later this week. Vice President Pence will receive the COVID-19 vaccine soon, and Fauci says President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House Georgia secretary of state withholds support for 'reactionary' GOP voting bills MORE and President-elect BidenJoe BidenKlain on Manchin's objection to Neera Tanden: He 'doesn't answer to us at the White House' Senators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Overnight Defense: New Senate Armed Services chairman talks Pentagon policy nominee, Afghanistan, more | Biden reads report on Khashoggi killing | Austin stresses vaccine safety in new video MORE should take it immediately. Meanwhile, the FDA authorized a rapid, at-home COVID test.

We'll start with Moderna: 

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FDA endorses safety and efficacy of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine

A coronavirus vaccine manufactured by Moderna is on the verge of authorization after Food and Drug Administration (FDA) scientists found it to be safe and 94 percent effective at preventing severe cases of COVID-19.

The evidence will be discussed during a panel meeting of independent experts on Thursday. Based on the track taken by the vaccine manufactured by Pfizer and BioNTech, the FDA could grant emergency use authorization for the Moderna vaccine as soon as Friday. 

The anticipated authorization would give America two different vaccines against COVID-19. The Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed has invested $4.1 billion in federal funds in the development and distribution of Moderna's vaccine. The federal government signed a deal last summer to deliver a total of 100 million doses in the first quarter of 2021. Last week the administration announced that it had purchased another 100 million doses from Moderna for the second quarter.

Results: The vaccine was effective across all races and genders, the FDA found, and may even prevent asymptomatic infection, rather than symptomatic disease.

Side effects included chills, injection site soreness, fever, headache and fatigue, but most did not last longer than a day, the agency found.

Next step: Based on what happened with Pfizer last week, Moderna's vaccine could get cleared on Friday with distribution to states starting Monday. Gen. Gustave Perna, the CEO of Operation Warp Speed, said the administration plans to ship 6 million doses out to 3,285 locations across the country in the first week of the vaccine's authorization.

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Read more here.

A step forward on testing: FDA authorizes first fully at-home, over the counter COVID-19 test 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday granted emergency authorization to the first over the counter, fully at-home test for COVID-19. 

The move is a significant step forward in expanding the reach of rapid, at-home coronavirus tests, something experts have been advocating for months. Still, there will be limitations on supply and cost could be a barrier to widespread, repeated use.

The test is made by a company called Ellume. People swab their nose and then use a “Bluetooth connected analyzer” that sends the results to their smartphone, the company said.

The company said it plans to have 20 million tests available in the United States in the first half of 2021. The FDA said 3 million tests would be produced in January. 

The big picture: That is a significant number, but far less than the hundreds of millions that would be needed for the goal some experts have advocated of allowing every household to have access to a cheap $1 paper strip test they could use multiple times a week, helping people to return to work and school. Some experts have pushed the FDA to move faster in authorizing new tests, saying it has been too concerned with making sure they fully live up to the highest accuracy standards. 

Read more here

Fauci says Trump, Biden should be vaccinated soon

The nation's leading infectious disease doctor on Tuesday said it is imperative both President Trump and President-elect Joe Biden receive doses of the coronavirus vaccine as soon as possible. 

"For security reasons, I really feel strongly that we should get them vaccinated as soon as we possibly can," Anthony FauciAnthony FauciNew data suggest 'long COVID' symptoms last up to 9 months: Fauci The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Finger-pointing on Capitol riot; GOP balks at Biden relief plan Overnight Health Care: COVID-19 vaccine makers pledge massive supply increase | Biden health nominee faces first Senate test | White House defends reopening of facility for migrant kids MORE said in an appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America."

While speaking about Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisEmhoff reflects on interracial marriage case: Without this 'I would not be married to Kamala Harris' WHO: Coronavirus deaths down 20 percent worldwide last week Collins: Biden's .9T coronavirus package won't get any Senate GOP votes MORE, Fauci said he would like to see Biden "fully protected as he enters into the presidency in January. So that would be my strong recommendation.”

Though Trump has already contracted and recovered from the virus, Fauci said he believes Trump should be vaccinated to be "doubly" sure he is protected because he remains "very important to our country right now."

Trump said over the weekend that members of his administration “should receive the vaccine somewhat later in the program, unless specifically necessary.” 

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Meanwhile, Pence indicates he will get the vaccine soon.

“Be confident that we have cut red tape, but we’ve cut no corners when it comes to the development of this vaccine,” Pence said at an event in Indiana. “I look forward in the days ahead to receiving the vaccine myself and do so without hesitation.”

Read more here.

Poll finds increasing number of Americans, including Black people, would take COVID vaccine

Americans are increasingly willing to take a COVID-19 vaccine, especially Black and Hispanic Americans, according to a new poll released Tuesday

The Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 71 percent of Americans are willing to take a free and safe COVID-19 vaccine, an increase of eight percent from three months ago. 

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The increases are the most dramatic among Black adults: 62 percent of those polled in December said they would be willing to take a free and safe vaccine, compared to 50 percent three months ago. 

Officials had worried about convincing people to get vaccinated, especially people from communities of color who have been exploited by the public health system in the past, and who still face worse health outcomes compared to white people, partly due to unequal access to care and racism. 

Public health officials have worked in recent months to assuage those concerns ahead of the expected authorization of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

The poll, which was conducted from Nov. 30 to Dec. 8, indicates some of those efforts have been successful, not just among people of color but across all segments of society. 

Read more here.

Another pro-vaccine voice: Nursing, doctor and hospital groups urge health workers to take COVID-19 vaccine

Nursing, doctor and hospital groups are urging all health professionals to take the coronavirus vaccine and share their experience with others as a way to convince as many people as possible to get vaccinated.

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In an open letter published Tuesday, the American Nurses Association, the American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association said health professionals must "push for high rates of vaccination within the U.S. population if we hope to overcome this virus."

Most experts said the U.S. needs a minimum of 70 percent of the population to be vaccinated in order to achieve herd immunity.

"As front-line caregivers, our essential role in protecting the health and wellbeing of our communities goes beyond the care we provide. As a valued and trusted voice, our example is perhaps the strongest health resource we have," the groups wrote. 

"Our hope is simple; we urge you to get the COVID-19 vaccine and share your experience with others."

Read more here

 Virtual Event Announcement: 1:00 ET Wednesday 12/16 -- COVID-19, Tech and Economic Resilience

Significant advances in communication and information technology have lifted many, and buffered others, during a crushing pandemic. As a new administration prepares to take charge, which technology shifts are here to stay? How can policymaking keep pace to ensure the American economy retains its competitive edge? In the first of three virtual events, The Hill discusses the role of technology in re-energizing the American economy. Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottLobbying world Powell pushes back on GOP inflation fears Trump ready to make McConnell's life miserable MORE, Rep. Suzan Delbene, Janet Napolitano, Amb. Ron Kirk, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, Microsoft's Fred Humphries. RSVP for event reminders 

What we’re reading

Eli Lillly CEO: Coronavirus treatment can help ‘offload the stress’ on hospital system right now (Fox Business

Critical to vaccines, cold storage is Wall Street’s shiny new thing (New York Times

‘I haven’t even told my wife’: Inside the frantic and secretive sprint to name the Covid-19 vaccines (Stat News

State by state

Coronavirus vaccine heads to Washington’s nursing homes, bringing hope and questions (Seattle Times

'It's Definitely A Relief': Massachusetts Health Care Workers Begin Receiving Coronavirus Vaccine (WBUR)

Gov. Abbott says White House was ‘unaware’ of COVID-19 mitigation steps in Texas when it called for more restrictions (KXAN)