HEALTH CARE BRIEFING: J&J Pause Risks Fomenting Public Hesitancy

Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine represents solely a sliver of the present U.S. provide, however pausing its use may current new hurdles for a nationwide immunization marketing campaign that should overcome wider vaccine hesitancy to outpace fast-spreading variants.

The sidelining of J&J, nevertheless short-term, leaves the U.S. with two different vaccines that already made up the majority of its marketing campaign—from Pfizer and Moderna. Pictures from these drugmakers account for 95% of the photographs allotted within the U.S. this week. And Pfizer’s chief govt stated yesterday that his firm will pace up promised U.S. deliveries within the coming weeks.

The U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention and Meals and Drug Administration stated yesterday in a joint assertion that they’d pause use of the J&J shot after six ladies who obtained it developed a uncommon type of blood clotting. The FDA signaled the pause would final a matter of days.


The White Home stated the vaccination marketing campaign can proceed at its present tempo. President Joe Biden advised reporters that, with Pfizer and Moderna, “there’s sufficient vaccine that’s mainly 100% unquestionable for each single solitary American.” Jeff Zients, White Home Covid-19 response czar, stated at a briefing that “we have now loads of provide to proceed our vaccination program and hit our objectives.”

If the J&J pause lasts solely a number of days as U.S. officers sign, cancellations and rescheduled appointments may create an identical slowdown to these from winter storms earlier this yr. However doubt in regards to the security of any of the obtainable coronavirus vaccines may thwart the U.S. vaccination marketing campaign simply because it hits its stride.

“That is going to scare lots of people,” stated Noel Brewer, professor of well being conduct on the College of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “We should always all be involved in regards to the security of medicines we obtain. On this case, there’s not numerous cause for concern. The precise threat is vanishingly small.” Read more from Josh Wingrove and Angelica LaVito.

Clot Facet Impact Places Highlight on Immune Response: Extraordinarily uncommon circumstances of clotting seen with AstraZeneca’s and J&J’s vaccines have put the highlight on an unusual response that happens when the physique unleashes its immunity firepower in opposition to blood platelets. The clotting is very uncommon in that it entails low ranges of platelets, the element of blood primarily liable for coagulation, and has solely been seen at low ranges in vaccine recipients. Read more from John Lauerman and Robert Langreth.

  • Pause to Educate: U.S. well being officers urged the pause to present them time to teach medical doctors on methods to deal with the exceedingly uncommon dysfunction, stated Peter Marks, a high official on the U.S. Meals and Drug Administration, after six ladies between the ages of 18 and 48 developed cerebral venous sinus thrombosis. No less than one girl died, and a second girl was in vital situation, officers stated. The conventional therapy for clots, the blood-thinner heparin, may make the dysfunction worse, and even kill a affected person, officers stated. Read more from John Lauerman.

Occurring on the Hill

Home Postpones Medicare Cuts, Teeing Up Possible Spending Debate: The Home cleared a invoice (H.R. 1868) by a vote of 384 to 38 to delay till 2022 cuts to Medicare, pushing off till subsequent yr a bigger debate over federal spending.

Home lawmakers March 19 voted to postpone the cuts and waive finances necessities of the $1.9 trillion stimulus bundle accepted earlier within the month, however Senate Republicans in a March 25 vote solely agreed to cope with the more-immediate risk to Medicare. Congress will probably be confronted with greater than $36 billion in pending reductions to Medicare in 2022. Read more from Alex Ruoff.

Lawmakers Search Hospital Transparency Rule: Power and Commerce Chair Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.) and rating member Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), in addition to Reps. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), the leaders of the Well being Subcommittee, wrote to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra yesterday to induce him to conduct “vigorous oversight” of the implementation of HHS’s “Hospital Value Transparency Ultimate Rule,” amid experiences that some hospitals are transferring slowly to adjust to the rule. Read their letter here.

Democrats Push for Mandated Sick Depart: Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) re-introduced a invoice yesterday that might require employers to supply one hour of paid sick go away for each 30 hours labored by staff. The 2 beforehand launched the laws in 2019, but it surely wasn’t thought of by related panels. They stated that the pandemic has made clear the necessity for sick go away for staff in any other case compelled to decide on between their well being and a paycheck, Andrew Kreighbaum experiences. Read text of the bill here.

Democrats Name for Eased Fetal Tissue Analysis: Very important scientific analysis on ALS, spinal wire accidents, and Parkinson’s illness are vulnerable to stalling if the Biden administration doesn’t carry restrictions to make use of fetal tissue in medical analysis, 26 Democrats advised HHS. The Division of Well being and Human Companies banned scientists who work for the Nationwide Institutes of Well being from utilizing fetal tissue in 2019. And a Trump-era coverage additionally severely curbed entry to federal funding for scientists wanting to make use of fetal tissue in biomedical analysis. Jacquie Lee has more.

Well being-Care Payments on Faucet: The Home plans to vote on a number of health-care payments right now beneath suspension of the foundations, which bars amendments, limits debate and requires a two-thirds majority to go:

  • Anti-Doping Company Reauthorization: The U.S. Anti-Doping Company could be reauthorized by means of fiscal 2030 beneath H.R. 172. The invoice would authorize $15.5 million for the company in fiscal 2022, reaching $23.7 million by fiscal 2030. The Home Power and Commerce Committee hasn’t acted on the invoice, which Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) launched on Jan. 4. For extra, see the BGOV Bill Summary by Brittney Washington.
  • Sesame Allergy symptoms: Sesame could be added to the Meals and Drug Administration’s listing of main meals allergens starting in 2023 beneath S. 578. There are presently eight major food allergens that should be clearly recognized on any meals label: milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans. The Senate handed the invoice by unanimous consent on March 3. For extra, see the BGOV Bill Summary by Danielle Parnass.
  • Minority Well being Analysis: The Nationwide Institute on Minority Well being and Well being Disparities may present analysis endowments to present and former “facilities of excellence” at minority tutorial establishments beneath H.R. 189, which might be named for the late Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.). The measure was launched on Jan. 5 by Rep. Nanette Barragan (D-Calif.) and referred to the Home Power and Commerce Committee. For extra, see the BGOV Bill Summary by Danielle Parnass.
  • Stem Cell Analysis: Stem cell packages beneath the Well being and Human Companies Division could be reauthorized for 5 years, by means of fiscal 2026, beneath H.R. 941. It will embody the C.W. Bill Young Cell Transplantation Program and the Nationwide Twine Blood Stock Program. The measure was launched Feb. 8 by Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) and referred to the Home Power and Commerce Committee. For extra, see the BGOV Bill Summary by Danielle Parnass.
  • Schooling on Biosimilars: The Well being and Human Companies Division could be directed to create a central web site for academic supplies on biosimilars beneath S. 164. The Senate handed the invoice by unanimous consent on March 3. For extra see the BGOV Bill Summary by Brittney Washington.
  • New Chemical Entities: The standards for a drug to obtain exclusivity as a brand new chemical entity could be modified by S. 415 in order that it applies to these with no beforehand accepted “lively moiety,” as an alternative of lively ingredient. An lively moiety is the molecule liable for the physiological or pharmacological motion of the drug. The Senate handed the invoice by unanimous consent on March 10. For extra, see the BGOV Bill Summary by Danielle Parnass.
  • Carbon Monoxide Displays: The Shopper Product Security Fee would supply grants to states to forestall carbon monoxide poisoning beneath H.R. 1460. The CPSC would use appropriated funding in fiscal 2021 by means of 2025 for the grants. The Home Power and Commerce Committee hasn’t acted on the invoice, which Rep. Annie Kuster (D-N.H.) launched March 1. For extra, see the BGOV Bill Summary by Adam M. Taylor.
  • Drug Registration Bans: The Drug Enforcement Administration, beneath a modified version of H.R. 1002, may prohibit any particular person from registering to fabricate or dispense managed substances if the particular person has a historical past of suspended registrations. The measure was launched by Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) and referred to the Home Power and Commerce and Judiciary committees. For extra, see the BGOV Bill Summary by Danielle Parnass.
  • Drug Registration Transfers: Beneath H.R. 1899, the Drug Enforcement Administration must terminate an individual’s registration to fabricate or dispense managed substances in the event that they die, terminate their enterprise, or give up the registration. Registrations may solely be transferred with the DEA’s consent and in keeping with any circumstances the company specifies. The measure is sponsored by Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.). For extra, see the BGOV Bill Summary by Danielle Parnass.

Hearings At the moment:

  • Pandemic Preparedness: The Senate Homeland Safety and Governmental Affairs Committee plans a listening to on the preliminary Covid-19 preparedness and response.
  • FEMA Response: The Senate Appropriations Homeland Safety Subcommittee meets for a hearing on the Federal Emergency Administration Company’s Covid-19 response.
  • Covid-19 in Native Communities: The Senate Indian Affairs Committee scheduled a listening to on Covid-19 response in native communities and native health-care techniques.
  • Substance Abuse Payments: The Home Power and Commerce Subcommittee on Well being meets for a listening to on payments concentrating on opioid, methamphetamine and other substance use and misuse.

The Coronavirus Pandemic

U.S. Commerce Chief Meets on WTO Vaccine Waiver: Biden’s commerce consultant yesterday met with teams looking for a waiver for elements of the World Commerce Group’s intellectual-property guidelines to enhance vaccine entry for lower-income nations. U.S. Commerce Consultant Katherine Tai advised the teams, together with Public Citizen and Human Rights Watch, that the White Home is dedicated to growing the manufacturing and distribution of vaccines, in keeping with statements from the USTR, which didn’t include any dedication to altering the U.S. stance on the WTO. Read more from Eric Martin.

B.1.1.7 Pressure Might Be Much less Lethal Than Feared: The Covid-19 variant that emerged within the U.Okay. and have become the dominant pressure within the U.S. isn’t as lethal as earlier analysis indicated, although it’s confirmed to be faster-spreading than different variations, in keeping with a brand new research. Amongst 339 sufferers with the virus, 36% of these contaminated with the B.1.1.7 pressure that arose within the U.Okay. grew to become severely sick or died, in keeping with analysis revealed yesterday within the Lancet Infectious Illnesses journal, in comparison with 38% of those that had non-B.1.1.7 infections. Read more from Elaine Chen.

Extra Headlines:

What Else to Know

Fentanyl Ban Complicates Biden’s Drug Coverage Shift: Biden is dealing with a vital check of his promise to cut back overdose deaths within the U.S. by means of dependancy therapy, civil rights and drug coverage teams say. Biden has signaled he needs to take a unique method from earlier administrations that embraced dependancy therapy and crack-downs on the opioid commerce.

The Home Power and Commerce Committee right now will take into account Republican-led laws (H.R. 1910) to make everlasting the short-term classification of fentanyl-like substances as one of many most-strictly managed medicine. That classification expires on Might 6.

Advocates for altering drug guidelines have welcomed the administration’s stance, however civil rights teams say motion will communicate the loudest. They’re urging the Biden administration and Congress to let the short-term ban on fentanyl-like substances lapse. Read more from Alex Ruoff.

SCOTUS Poised to Evaluate Down Syndrome Abortions: Ohio will now not be blocked from imposing a regulation criminalizing abortions when a supplier is aware of a girl needs the process due to a fetal analysis of Down syndrome, a cut up full Sixth Circuit stated yesterday in a swimsuit virtually sure to make its method to the U.S. Supreme Courtroom. That is the primary appeals court docket ruling holding legitimate a restriction primarily based on a fetal analysis of Down syndrome. It conflicts with these of the Seventh and Eighth circuits. Read more from Mary Anne Pazanowski.

Extra Headlines:

With help from Andrew Kreighbaum

To contact the reporter on this story: Brandon Lee in Washington at

To contact the editors liable for this story: Zachary Sherwood at; Giuseppe Macri at; Michaela Ross at

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