Welcome to the WBD News Flash, your weekly highlight of HR benefits and healthcare news. Weekly, we will provide you with the top trending industry news stories in healthcare, human resources, legislation, benefits technology and administration, and more. Make the WBD News Flash your go to reference for current events!
U.S. COVID-19 Vaccination Effort Begins
By truck and by airplane, vials of COVID-19 vaccine packed in dry ice are now making their way across the United States. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, just approved for emergency use, is being shipped to key cities around the country. The federal government is distributing the vaccine does based on a state’s adult population, according to the AP. After that, states decide where to ship and administer the vaccines. Generally, front-line healthcare workers are expected to be the first to receive vaccination.
In a press briefing, FDA vaccine regulator Peter Marks pushed back against some suggestions that people receive just one dose of the vaccine rather than the tested double dose, three weeks apart. “It seems pretty foolhardy to just conjecture that one dose might be okay without knowing,” Marks told the press.
Vaccine Credentials Come in App Form
As COVID-19 vaccinations begin in the U.K. and the U.S., private enterprise is working on digital credentials to follow people who have received the shot. While the U.S. government is planning to hand out personal record cards to those receiving coronavirus vaccinations, there is no official guidance to third parties who are seeking to answer the question: “How do we know who has been vaccinated?”
Currently, a digital option called CommonPass is being shopped to companies who want to confirm vaccination of their future customers. United, JetBlue, and Lufthansa have all signed on to use CommonPass, according to the New York Times. The nonprofit which developed the pass, Commons Project Foundation, sees the app as a must in controlling the pandemic. Meanwhile, other experts warn that splitting society into those vaccinated and those not will lend itself to future inequalities. Others express concern about privatizing public health with apps like CommonPass.
Trump Admin Seeks Massive HHS Regulation Review
The Trump administration has proposed a rule which would require the Department of Health and Human Services to review about 2,400 regulations in 24 months, voiding any regulations which aren’t completed by the deadline. The rules affect Medicare, prescription drugs, and a host of other medical concerns. Health providers and consumer advocates fear the rule will tie up federal health officials who are trying to deal with the pandemic, according to KHN.
HHS officials say they’ve been working on the rule since April, and that they anticipated it would be part of Trump’s second term in office. While some experts have called it a move to distract the incoming Biden Administration, officials point to President Trump’s ongoing policy of removing regulations while in office.