CMS To Expand COVID-19 Vaccine Education For Medicare, Medicaid.
Forbes (12/2, Jennings) reports that Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure “says her office will double down on vaccine education for seniors and low-income Americans as the country continues to battle the Covid-19 pandemic and the latest omicron variant.” Brooks-LaSure told the Forbes Healthcare Summit on Thursday that the agency is “really trying to make sure that everyone knows what is available to them.”
Ten States Have Vaccinated Less Than 50% Of Their Population Against COVID-19 As Omicron Hits US.
Newsweek (12/2, Browne) reports, “The Omicron COVID variant was detected in the U.S. on Wednesday, and 10 states have fewer than 50 percent of their population fully vaccinated, data shows.” West Virginia “had the lowest proportion of fully vaccinated people at 42 percent” out of all the states. Meanwhile, “the states with the highest percentage of their population vaccinated are Vermont and Rhode Island, both with 73 percent.” The article mentions NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Significant Jump In Americans Getting COVID-19 Boosters, Report Shows.
Senior Contributor Bruce Japsen writes in Forbes (12/2) that the “latest Kaiser Family Foundation vaccine monitor report (12/2, 14K) shows 23% of American adults who are already vaccinated against the Coronavirus have received a booster shot,” which “is big jump from the 10% of fully vaccinated adults who had gotten their booster in October.” During an interview Wednesday on SiriusXM Doctor Radio’s “Doctor Radio Reports,” Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said, “There’s a degree of confidence, and I would say a reasonably high degree of confidence that the vaccine is going to be protective against this variant. ... There’s probably going to be some decline in the efficacy of the vaccine relative to this variant, but we’re certainly not going to lose the vaccine.”
The Hill (12/2, Coleman) also reports.
Omicron Coronavirus Variant Alters Views Of Many Health Experts On Boosters.
The New York Times (12/1, Mandavilli) reports that the emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variant has altered the views of many health experts who initially opposed “the Biden administration’s campaign to roll out booster shots of the coronavirus vaccines to all American adults.” According to the Times, “Booster shots clearly raise antibody levels, strengthening the body’s defenses against infection, and may help offset whatever advantages Omicron has gained through evolution.” CDC officials “said on Monday that all American adults should receive booster shots.”
OregonLive (December 1)
After two hours looking online, Cornell found nothing in the near future. He also walked into two nearby pharmacies, only to be turned away because of lack of vaccine or available staff to administer a shot that day.
Analysis Says Number Of Seniors Vaccinated Against COVID-19 Is Lower Than CDC Data Show.
Philip Bump writes in the Washington Post (11/30, Bump), “At first glance, America’s effort to protect its most at-risk citizens from the coronavirus has been an unalloyed success.” The CDC’s “current tally indicates that 99.9 percent of those ages 65 and older have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, a remarkable accomplishment less than 12 months after vaccines first became available.” However, “that figure is obviously flawed and almost certainly too high,” given, for instance, that data show 14% of people aged 65 and older have vowed to never get COVID-19 vaccines.
Judge Halts Biden’s COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate For Healthcare Workers In 10 States.
The Washington Post (11/30, Rosenberg, Suliman) reports, “A federal judge in Missouri has partially halted another one of the Biden administration’s key vaccine requirements, temporarily blocking the imposition of a rule for certain health-care workers in 10 states.” In early November, CMS issued a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers in hospitals and nursing homes which” use “Medicare and Medicaid funding. On Monday, US “District Judge Matthew T. Schelp, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, said that a preliminary injunction to halt the rule was warranted because he believed the arguments made by the plaintiffs – 10 mostly Republican-dominated states – that the CMS lacked authority to implement the requirement, probably had merit.”
CDC Now Recommends Anyone 18 And Older Receive COVID-19 Booster Amid Omicron Variant Fears.
The Wall Street Journal (11/29, A1, Abbott, Subscription Publication) reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday strengthened its recommendations for COVID-19 booster shots amid fears over the Omicron variant, now recommending that anyone 18 and older receive the additional shot after completing the first course of vaccination.
The Hill (11/29, Sullivan) reports CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said, “Everyone ages 18 and older should get a booster shot either when they are 6 months after their initial Pfizer or Moderna series or 2 months after their initial J&J vaccine.”
CNN (11/29, Fox) reports that this is “a slight but significant tweak to the wording of guidance issued earlier this month when the CDC endorsed an expanded emergency use authorization for boosters from the US Food and Drug Administration.” Walensky stated, “The recent emergence of the Omicron variant (B.1.1.529) further emphasizes the importance of vaccination, boosters, and prevention efforts needed to protect against COVID-19.”
NIH Director Urges Redoubling Of Vaccination Efforts In Light Of Omicron Variant Spread.
CNN (11/28, Cole) reports that NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins “stressed Sunday that a newly emerged coronavirus variant ‘ought to redouble’ vaccination efforts and other mitigation strategies, saying that while much is unknown about the variant, action should be taken now to avoid ‘a situation that makes this worse.’” Collins told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” that the Omicron variant is “certainly not good news. We don’t know yet how much of an impact this will have. It ought to redouble our efforts to use the tools that we have, which are vaccinations and boosters, and to be sure we’re getting those to the rest of the world, too, which the US is doing more than any other country.”
In Light Of New Variant, US Health Officials Urging Americans To Get COVID-19 Vaccines, Boosters.
The New York Times (11/28, Petri) reports top US health officials “urged unvaccinated Americans on Sunday to get their shots and for eligible adults to seek out boosters, amid the discovery of a new variant.” During “several morning talk shows on Sunday, Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, cautioned Americans that the emergence of Omicron and the uncertainty that surrounds it is a reminder that the pandemic is far from over.” Although “the variant has yet to be detected in the United States, maintaining vigilance and safeguarding public health through inoculations, masking indoors and distancing, remains critical, he said.” NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci “delivered a similar message, sending a ‘clarion call’ for vaccinations and boosters. It is inevitable that the variant, which has already been detected in several countries, will surface in the United States, Dr. Fauci said.”