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!

Pfizer Speeds Production Time

Pfizer is saying their production time for Covid-19 vaccines will be cut in half as they optimize facilities and procedures. A Pfizer VP says they’ve already doubled output in the last month. Production time for a vaccine batch is expected to drop from 110 days to an average of 60 days.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government is sharing optimism about vaccine supply in the coming months. Dr. Anthony Fauci told NBC’s Chuck Todd that the expanded manufacturing capabilities will escalate throughout the spring. He anticipates an uptick in Moderna and Pfizer vaccine doses in March and April, and the addition of the Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine. This vaccine’s trial data is under review by the FDA, with a verdict on authorization expected at the end of February.

President Biden Talks Covid Recovery on Network TV

Describing the coronavirus pandemic as a “national emergency,” President Biden told CBS Evening News that it would be very difficult to for the US to successfully combat Covid-19 with the current vaccination rate. Plans for mass vaccination sites continue, including the utilization of all thirty NFL football stadiums across the country. Biden also spoke about the importance of opening schools. The CDC will soon release guidelines about minimum requirements for opening schools.

Some State Insurance Marketplaces Reopen

Following President Biden’s order to reopen the federal ACA marketplace, some states are opening their marketplaces as well. Pennsylvania’s state marketplace, Pennie, will reopen from Feb. 15 through May 15, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. New Jersey’s marketplace will also be open through May 15.

Pennie saw a nearly 10% increase in new customers enrolling during the 2020 open enrollment period. The marketplace will be open to anyone who is without health insurance.