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!

US Govt. Seeks Solutions to Vaccine Shortage

Halve the COVID-19 vaccine to hasten the vaccination process in the U.S.? That’s being considered by the government. Reuters reports that the federal vaccine administrators are talking to Moderna and the FDA about issuing half the double-dose currently required by the Pharma company. While it would still be two shots issued two weeks apart, the dosage would be cut in half.

“We know it induces an identical immune response” to the full dose, says Moncef Slaoui, head of Operation Warp Speed. Slaoui did not endorse the suggestion to give out a single shot, skipping the second dose in order to vaccinate more people.

Price Transparency Rule to Move Ahead

The Trump administration’s price transparency rule for healthcare providers has entered the beginning stages, as a last-minute bid by hospital groups to secure an emergency stay was turned down by a judge. The judge’s order said that the hospital groups “miss the mark” in their case for why posting the rates they’ve negotiated with health plans will hurt their business. The judge’s order also found that the new rule will help the majority of consumers.

The American Hospital Association continues to state that disclosing privately negotiated rates will “create widespread confusion” and “accelerate anticompetitive behavior among commercial health insurers.”

The rule now requires hospitals post online their payer-negotiated rates for 300 shoppable services.

Calling In Sick Doubles During Pandemic

Notice higher rates of call-outs in your office? It’s probably related to the pandemic. Absenteeism due to illness reached record numbers in April 2020, and that number shows no sign of abating, according to the Labor Department. Missed work, due to fears of COVID-19 exposure, mandated quarantines, and other illness factors which workers might previously have gone to work with before the pandemic, causes supply chain disruption. In turn, this slows the economic recovery officials have been hoping for since mid-2020.