From Capitol Hill, the Wall Street Journal reports that on Tuesday the Senate Republicans refused to give unanimous consent to the Democrat effort to solve the debt ceiling issue without Republican support. Secretary of the Treasury Yellen advised Congress yesterday that she expects that current emergency measures used since August 1 to deal with the debt ceiling problem would soon be exhausted and “the government would be unable to pay all of its bills on time starting Oct. 18 unless Congress acts.” That of course is an unprecedented situation. The FEHBlog finds it interesting that the Congressional Democrat leadership has not lead with the bipartisan crafted continuing appropriation bill instead of the debt ceiling bill because the federal fiscal year ends on Thursday.
From the Delta variant front
- The National Institutes of Health Director summarizes where we stand on the COVID-19 booster effort in his weekly blog post. The FEHBlog who has received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine over six months ago checked a major retail pharmacy chain site to see whether the booster is readily available and he found that it is which happily is a stark difference from last winters efforts to find the initial doses.
- The Wall Street Journal reports that
Regulatory clearance of the Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE vaccine for young children may not come until November, according to a person familiar with the matter, after the companies said they won’t ask for the green light for a few weeks.
The companies said Tuesday they provided U.S. health regulators with data from a recent study of their vaccine in children 5 to 11 years old. They said they would file an application asking the Food and Drug Administration to authorize use in the coming weeks, though they had previously targeted submitting the application as early as the end of September.
- The Kaiser Family Foundation released an interesting survey on the current public response to COVID. As of today, according to the CDC, just over 75% of Americans eligible to receive the vaccine (ages 12 and older) have receive at least one dose.
- Healthcare Dive adds that
As of Tuesday, hospitalizations in the U.S. are down 16% over the past two weeks, according to the 14-day average from data compiled by The New York Times.
The U.S. reached a turning point in this year’s summer surge earlier this month, according to the seven-day averages. The average hospitalizations reached a peak on Sept. 3, started to decline the next day and have been trending down ever since, according to data compiled by the Times.
In the tidbits department
- The Department of Health and Human Services announced awarding “nearly $1 billion in American Rescue Plan funding to nearly 1,300 Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Health Center Program-funded health centers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories to support major health care construction and renovation projects. These awards will strengthen our primary health care infrastructure and advance health equity and health outcomes in medically underserved communities, including through projects that support COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccination. The awards were made through the Health Resources and Services Administration.”
- HHS also announced “the appointment of Lisa J. Pino as Director of the Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”). OCR is the HHS agency which enforces the HIPAA Privacy and Security Rules among other things. As it is a small world, Ms. Pino previously was “Senior Counselor [at Homeland Security] and drove the 2015 U.S. cyber breach mitigation of 4 million federal personnel and 22 million surrogate profiles, the largest hack in federal history, by renegotiating 700 vendor procurements and establishing new cybersecurity regulatory protections.”