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Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Update

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02/23/2021

Congress

  • The House Budget Committee approved the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill. The full House of Representatives is expected to vote on this budget reconciliation bill on either Friday or Saturday. The bill will then go to the Senate where the bill could undergo some changes to comply with the Senate’s rules for budget reconciliation bills.
  • On February 23rd, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing on how to expand the availability of COVID-19 vaccines. The hearing will feature testimony from five vaccine manufacturers.
    • Read testimony of Pfizer’s John Young here.
    • Read testimony of Moderna’s Stephen Hoge here.
    • Read testmony of Johnson & Johnson’s Richard Nettles here.
    • Read testimony of AstraZeneca’s Ruud Dobber here.
    • Read testimony of Novavax’s John Trizzino here.
  • On February 24th, the House Appropriations Committee’s Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee will hold a hearing on public health infrastructure.

White House and Federal Agencies

  • The FDA is reminding people that the coronavirus does not spread through food or food packaging.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Updates

Vaccine, Testing and Treatment

  • A new study of clinical trial data shows Pfizer’s vaccine is at least 52 percent effective after the first dose but 94.8 percent effective after two doses.
    • A different study out of Israel shows a single dose of the Pfizer vaccine was 85 percent effective. The study also showed that two doses are highly effective at preventing both symptomatic and asymptomatic cases. After two doses, the vaccine was 99.2 percent effective at preventing serious cases of COVID-19 and 98.9 percent effective at preventing hospitalizations and deaths.
  • As manufacturers increase production of vaccines, the federal government is working to make sure daily inoculations keep pace.
  • Pfizer asked the FDA to allow its vaccine to be stored with regular refrigeration instead of ultra-cold storage.
  • Shipments of vaccines that were delayed due to winter storms will be delivered this week.
  • The FDA shortened the clinical trial requirements for changes to approved COVID-19 vaccines that are intended to address new variants.