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Biden to Fund New COVID Vaccine ‘for Everybody … Whether They’ve Gotten It Before or Not’
President Joe Biden on Friday told reporters that he’s planning to request more money from Congress to develop a new coronavirus vaccine. “I signed off this morning on a proposal we have to present to the Congress a request for additional funding for a new vaccine that is ne- — necessary — that works,” the official White House transcript reads.
“Tentatively, it is recommended that — it will likely be recommended that everybody get it no matter whether they’ve gotten it before or not.”
The announcement follows a recorded rise in COVID-19 cases in some regions, which has been accompanied by the return of mask mandates and canceled classes by some colleges and businesses. Maybe this time it will actually be safe and effective?
Americans’ Spending on Mental Health Services Rose 53% Since Pandemic Began
That’s the key takeaway from a new study published Aug. 25 in JAMA Health Forum.
Some rules for expanded payment for telehealth services have now expired, so it’s not known whether this level of spending will continue, according to researchers at the RAND Corporation and Castlight Health.
Lead author Jonathan Cantor, a policy researcher at RAND, a nonprofit research organization, and his colleagues found that spending on mental health services rose 53.7% between March 2020 and August 2022 in a large group of people with employer-provided insurance.
Use of mental health services increased by nearly 39%, according to the research, which used claims data from about 7 million commercially insured adults. The analysis included anxiety disorders, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and PTSD.
Moderna Serves Up Fresh U.S. Open Ad, Highlighting ‘Changemaker’ Arthur Ashe Ahead of Vaccine Season
Moderna has returned for a second set at the U.S. Open. One year after partnering with Billie Jean King for a brand awareness campaign, the mRNA specialist is kicking off a new push focused on another of the changemakers of tennis: the late Arthur Ashe.
Echoing a classic Apple campaign, Moderna’s spots are based on the line “Here’s to the changemakers.” King and Ashe have impeccable credentials as changemakers. While both players were stars on the court, they are now known as much for their broader impact on the sport and society. Ashe, a pioneering Black tennis player, helped break down racial barriers and later, after suffering a heart attack and contracting HIV from a blood transfusion, became a health advocate.
Moderna had a lot to cram into its ad. The desire to encourage people to take up the new COVID-19 vaccines and stay up to date with flu shots underpins Moderna’s decision to sponsor the U.S. Open. “It’s the only truly global sporting event in this time period where we can stay front and center and remind people to stay up to date with their vaccines. The timing is good. It’s a global event. It gets a lot of media attention as well,” Kate Cronin, chief brand officer at Moderna, said.
COVID Virus Is Evolving Three Times Faster in Deer Versus Humans
COVID-19 variants are evolving three times faster in white-tailed deer than in humans, according to a new study. Deer serve as virus reservoirs, places where a virus thrives and multiplies, making them the perfect host for ongoing mutation.
The virus also appears to be passing between humans and deer, where genomic analysis showed at least 30 infections in deer were introduced by humans. How this jump is happening remains a mystery to experts.
The study was published Aug. 28 in Nature Communications. This work was supported by the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Ohio State’s Infectious Diseases Institute.
CDC Removes COVID Vaccine Adverse Event Reports From Website: Report
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website appeared to have quietly stopped collecting COVID-19 vaccine adverse events on the federal agency’s V-safe website earlier this summer. “Thank you for your participation. Data collection for COVID-19 vaccines concluded on June 30, 2023,” the V-safe website reads.
Instead of displaying data collected from the mRNA vaccine, the CDC website redirects users to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) website for adverse event reporting. Dr. David Gortler, a Brownstone Institute Fellow who formerly served as a senior official and advisor for the FDA, first reported the change in the CDC’s website, questioning why the federal agency removed the data.
Since mRNA injections hit the market in 2021, Gortler cited the FDA’s VAERS database that allegedly names the vaccines as the number one cause of more than 1.5 million adverse event reports, including heart attacks and cases of myocarditis and pericarditis in the U.S.
Gortler also cited an FDA-funded study out of Harvard that states VAERS reports represent less than 1% of vaccine adverse events that actually occur.
CDC Expects New COVID Vaccines From Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax to Be Available in Mid-September
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expects updated COVID vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and Novavax to be available to the public in mid-September, an agency official told reporters Thursday.
That amounts to the most specific timeline to date. Federal officials have said the new shots could arrive around September. CDC Director Mandy Cohen had previously provided a later timeline, telling NPR that the vaccines could be available by the “early October time frame.”
Those shots still need approvals from the Food and Drug Administration and the CDC, which will set eligibility guidelines for the jabs. An independent panel of advisors to the CDC is meeting on Sept. 12 to vote on a recommendation for those guidelines.
Alnylam to Appeal COVID Vaccine Patent Ruling in Moderna Case
After the Delaware federal court issued a ruling on certain patent claims, Alnylam and Moderna agreed to a final judgment of non-infringement, Alnylam said in a recent statement. But Alnylam said it “respectfully disagrees” with the ruling and pledged to appeal.
Alnylam originally filed the lawsuit last March. It’s just one of several cases the company has brought against COVID-19 vaccine juggernauts Moderna and Pfizer. In the case, it seeks “reasonable compensation” for alleged patent infringement.
Specifically, Alnylam accused Moderna of utilizing its lipid nanoparticle delivery technology that the biotech created for its RNAi drug Onpattro, which treats the rare condition of hereditary transthyretin-mediated amyloidosis.
New COVID Variant BA.2.86 Spreading in the U.S. in August 2023. Here Are Key Facts Experts Want You to Know.
Health authorities and scientists say they are now racing to study BA.2.86, a new strain of the virus that causes COVID-19 after the highly mutated variant was spotted spreading in multiple countries around the world and at least three different U.S. states.
For now, officials say they remain well-equipped to deal with the strain if it continues to spread. Early assessments suggest current treatments and tests, as well as upcoming vaccines to be rolled out next month, will not be rendered useless by BA.2.86.
Authorities still consider BA.2.86 technically a part of the Omicron variant family, though the WHO told reporters that this could change if the strain spreads more widely. More could be known soon about the impacts of the strain, from experiments done by scientists testing the strain’s mutations against antibodies for the virus.