Welcome to Monday’s Overnight Health Care. Some states are rapidly opening up coronavirus vaccine access to everyone. Others are still slowly muddling through priority groups. And a small lucky group in western Mass. got both a shot and a Yo-Yo Ma concert.
If you have any tips about vaccines or other developments shoot me an email, and follow me on Twitter at @NateWeixel or email me at [email protected]
Today: The hits keep coming for AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, the White House is open to former President TrumpDonald TrumpThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Biden to hit road, tout COVID-19 relief lawOregon senator takes center stage in Democratic filibuster debateJuan Williams: Trump’s jealous rants can’t hide his failuresMORE’s help in encouraging vaccinations, and a CDC review found three Trump-era guidance documents that were not written by agency staff.
We’ll start with vaccines:
White House would welcome Trump urging supporters to get vaccinated
The Biden administration on Monday indicated it would welcome former President Trump getting more involved in vaccine outreach efforts, but signaled it would spend its time investing in local doctors and community leaders who might convince skeptical conservatives to get the shot.
“If former President Trump woke up tomorrow and wanted to be more vocal about the safety and efficacy of the campaign, of the vaccine, certainly wed support that,” White House press secretary Psaki said at a briefing with reporters.
“Every other living former president has participated in public campaigns,” she added. “They did not need an engraved invitation to do so. He may decide he should do that. If so, great. But there are a lot of different ways to engage to reach out to ensure that people of a range of political support and backing know the vaccine is safe and effective.”
Biden’s view: When asked, the president said his focus was more on doctors, preachers and other local leaders who would resonate with Republicans.
“I discussed it with my team and they say the thing that has more impact than anything Trump would say to the MAGA folks is what the local doctor, what the local preachers, what the local people in the community say,” Biden said. “So I urge all local docs and ministers and priests to talk about why, why its important to get that vaccine, and even after that, until everyone is in fact vaccinated, to wear this mask.”
Reaction: Physician groups were thrilled. They have been pushing to get primary care doctors more involved in vaccine administration, but it remains to be seen if this will happen given the distribution of vaccines to date.
Read more here.
Related: Former coronavirus testing czar says it’s ‘very important’ for Trump to encourage followers to get vaccinated
CDC review finds Trump-era guidance was not based on science
Federal health officials have identified and removed guidance documents released during the Trump administration that were not grounded in science and not “primarily authored” by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) staff, according to an agency internal review.
The review specifically cited three reports issued by the Trump administration that had already been removed from the agency’s website: guidance on reopening schools issued in July, guidelines on “reopening America” issued in April, and guidance on COVID-19 testing issued in August.
The review was conducted by the CDC’s principal deputy director, Anne Schuchat, at the request of the agency’s director, Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by the National Shooting Sports Foundation – Biden: Back to ‘normal’ still means ‘beat the virus’CDC director: ‘I worry about the day where the vaccine will no longer be free’Fauci to spring breakers: ‘Don’t put your guard down completely’MORE, as part of a pledge to restore the publics trust in the CDC.
In a memo to Walensky summarizing the findings, Schuchat said the review will “ensure that all of CDCs existing guidance related to COVID-19 is evidence-based and free of politics.”
The review found that some guidance “was not primarily authored by CDC staff,” that some used language that was not as strong as it could have been and that some needed to be updated based on new evidence.
Read more here.
CDC: Most people get both coronavirus vaccine doses on time
One of the main concerns with relying on two-dose vaccines is making sure people actually get that second dose. New data from the CDC on Monday shows that hasn’t been a problem yet, but comes with a caveat.
Most people who have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna are receiving the second dose on time. During the first two months of the U.S. COVID-19 vaccination program, the CDC found that 95 percent of people had completed both two-dose vaccinations within the recommended time period.
However, the CDC said the groups prioritized to receive a shot during this period, such as health care workers and long-term care residents, had better access to a second dose because they were more likely to have been vaccinated at their work or residence.
“As priority groups broaden, adherence to the recommended dosing interval might decrease,” the agency said.
The CDC recommends 21 days between doses for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 28 days between doses for Moderna’s. But the agency has said if needed in emergency circumstances, there can be up to 42 days between doses.
Read more here.
Germany, France and Italy suspend AstraZeneca vaccinations
It’s been a rough few days for AstraZeneca, as European nations seemingly play follow-the-leader, and one after another pauses its use of Astra’s COVID-19 vaccine.
Germany, France and Italy became the latest European countries to suspend use of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, citing concerns of potential blood clots even though the World Health Organization has said no such link exists.
Monday’s announcements come on the heels of Denmark, Iceland, Ireland and Norway previously hitting pause, similarly citing reports that individuals inoculated with the AstraZeneca vaccine were becoming ill, and some were dying.
Experts, AstraZeneca and Europes regulatory body all insist that the vaccines benefits namely preventing COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations and helping to stop the pandemic outweighs its risks. They have repeatedly pointed out that the number of people to report the side effect is relatively small, and no causal link has been established.
AstraZeneca has not yet applied for authorization in the U.S.
Why it’s important: The concern is that even if, or when, these reports are officially proven unfounded, the actions of these countries could result in widespread confidence issues. AstraZeneca’s vaccine is intended to be the cheapest and most widely used across the globe. The company has come under fire in Europe for production issues causing delivery delays, but the pauses could have even greater consequences for countries to bring the pandemic under control.
Read more here.
What we’re reading
Shot chasers: How officials in Trumps lame-duck White House scrambled to score COVID-19 vaccinations (Vanity Fair)
WHO urges world not to halt vaccinations as AstraZeneca shot divides Europe (Reuters)
The curious case of AstraZenecas Covid-19 vaccine (Stat)
State by state
Are Black people getting COVID-19 vaccines at Floridas federal sites? State wont say (Miami Herald)
How Covid has changed our movement, as revealed by your cellphone (California Healthline)
All Connecticut residents 16 and older will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine on April 5 (Hartford Courant)
Op-eds in The Hill
How COVID could reshape mental health policy
Our nation needs March Madness