Former FDA Head Says CDC Guidance Hurt Pandemic Response

Scott Gottlieb

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance ultimately hindered the U.S. response to the pandemic, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb wrote in his upcoming book “Uncontrolled Spread,” set to be released Sept. 21.

Gottlieb said in the book that U.S. intelligence agencies need to play a more active role in preparing for a pandemic, as opposed to leaving plans solely to health agencies like the CDC.

“We need to have human assets in the medical community so we understand when an outbreak emerges,” Gottlieb said, Axios reported. “We need to have the capability of monitoring typical streams of intelligence, like signals intelligence and maybe even satellite intelligence, looking for things that could be trip wires for an outbreak of disease.”

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Georgia Doctor Recommends COVID Vaccine, But Not Boosters

One Georgia doctor is taking a common sense approach to COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, which could be authorized by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a matter of days. 

Dr. Cecil Bennett of Newnan Family Medicine in Newnan, Georgia, says he recommends that all of his patients take the COVID-19 vaccine. He will not, however, recommend booster shots for patients who have taken the vaccine and still have immunity from the virus, unless they are immunocompromised. 

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Report: Top Health Officials Tell White House to Pause Vaccine Booster Plan

Top U.S. health officials told the White House pandemic coordinator on Thursday to scale back the Biden administration’s plan to administer the coronavirus booster shots to individuals in September, The New York Times reported.

Dr. Janet Woodcock, the acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeffrey D. Zients that they need more time to collect and analyze the necessary data relating to the booster shots, The New York Times reported.

The doctors told Zients that their agencies might be able to determine whether to recommend boosters for recipients of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the coming weeks, according to the Times.

The two doctors presented their argument to Zients at a meeting on Thursday. It is unclear how Zients responded to the news.

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Commentary: The Clear Case for Joe Biden’s Impeachment

Alan Dershowitz says calls for the impeachment of Joe Biden are “wrong.” He claims in his most recent op-ed at the D.C. establishment’s favorite Republican rag, The Hill: “Whatever one may think of what Biden did or failed to do, it does not constitute an impeachable offense under the text of the Constitution.” With all due respect, Dershowitz is full of crap.

“The Framers,” Dershowitz writes, “insisted that a president could not be impeached unless he committed criminal-type conduct akin to treason and bribery.” If this is true, then why did President Thomas Jefferson call for the impeachment of a federal district judge on the grounds that he was “a man of loose morals and intemperate habits?” Jefferson was a prominent founder, who greatly influenced the framers of the Constitution.

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‘Require It’: Biden Tells Private Companies to Mandate COVID-19 Vaccinations

Man getting COVID vaccine

President Joe Biden encouraged private sector companies Monday to “step up” vaccine requirements for employees following the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

“If you’re a business leader, a non-profit leader, a state or local leader, who has been waiting for full FDA approval to require vaccinations, I call on you now to do that. Require it,” Biden said. “Do what I did last month. Require your employees to get vaccinated or face strict requirements.”

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Lawyer Suing Indiana University for COVID Vaccine Mandate Expanding Effort to ‘Four or Five States’

The lawyer representing students challenging Indiana University’s COVID vaccine mandate has been “retained by students in other states to bring similar claims,” he said in an interview Tuesday.

Veteran litigator James Bopp told the John Solomon Reports podcast that he expects to file suit in another “four or five states in the next couple of weeks.”

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United Airlines to Become First Major Airline Requiring Staff be Vaccinated

United Airlines plane on runway

United Airlines announced Friday that it will require all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 starting this fall, making it the first major airline to do so.

“We know some of you will disagree with this decision to require the vaccine for all United employees,” United CEO Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart announced in a memo. “But, we have no greater responsibility to you and your colleagues than to ensure your safety when you’re at work, and the facts are crystal clear: everyone is safer when everyone is vaccinated.”

The order requiring proof of vaccination will go into effect five weeks after the Federal Drug Administration officially gives full approval of the COVID-19 vaccines, or by Oct. 25, whichever comes first, The Hill newspaper reports. The FDA is expects to start giving full approval as early as next month.

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FDA Asks for Internal Review of Approval Process for Alzheimer’s Drug

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is asking for an internal review of its own approval process that gave a greenlight to a drug to treat Alzhiemer’s, a move that could shed more light on the controversial chain of decision-making that led to the drug’s being okayed for use.

The FDA last month approved drug company BioGen’s product Aduhelm, the first medicine greenlit in the U.S. to slow the cognitive decline of those living with Alzhiemer’s.

Yet that decision was shrouded in controversy: The approval went against the advice of an outside panel of FDA experts and even led to the resignation of several of those experts in protest.

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Fully Vaccinated Do Not Need Booster for Delta Variant, CDC and FDA Say

Fully vaccinated Americans do not need to receive a booster shot to protect against the Delta variant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Food and Drug Administration said in a press release.

“People who are fully vaccinated are protected from severe disease and death, including from the variants currently circulating in the country such as Delta,” a joint statement said on Thursday.

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U.S. Government Allocates $3.2 Billion for COVID-19 Antiviral Pills

Department of Health & Human Services

The Department of Health and Human Services will invest $3.2 billion to develop and manufacture COVID-19 antiviral medicines, it announced Thursday.

The initiative, funded as part of the American Rescue Plan, is designed to accelerate research into antivirals as well as build platforms for urgent response to future viral threats, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said in a statement Thursday. Specifically, the plan expands antiviral clinical trials, forms partnerships between health agencies and pharmaceutical companies, and funds “drug discovery groups” tasked with innovating new antiviral medicines.

“New antivirals that prevent serious COVID-19 illness and death, especially oral drugs that could be taken at home early in the course of disease, would be powerful tools for battling the pandemic and saving lives,” said chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci in the statement.

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Study Finds Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine 90 Percent Effective

Doctor preparing COVID-19 Vaccine

Novavax announced on Monday that its two-dose COVID-19 vaccine is 90% effective, according to a press release on Novavax’s website.

The phase-3 trial enrolled 29,960 participants ages 18 and older in the U.S. and Mexico. The study found that 77 of the participants tested positive for COVID-19, with 63 testing positive in the placebo group and 14 in the vaccine group, according to the press release.

“Today, Novavax is one step closer to addressing the critical and persistent global public health need for additional COVID-19 vaccines. These clinical results reinforce that NVX-CoV2373 is extremely effective and offers complete protection against both moderate and severe COVID-19 infection,” Stanley C. Erck, President, and CEO of Novavax said in the press release.

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Pro-Life Groups Accuse FDA of ‘Ignoring the Science’ on at-Home Abortion Drugs

Pro-life groups are accusing the Food and Drug Administration of “ignoring the science” by removing restrictions that prevented abortion drugs from being delivered by mail.

The national pro-life Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) and its research and education arm, the Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI), said Tuesday that the FDA’s decision to remove restrictions on abortion drugs “ignores the risk of increased mortality and morbidity for women taking the abortion pill,” according to an SBA List press release.

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Arizona House Passes Bill Banning Abortions Based on Genetic Abnormality

Susan B. Anthony List State Policy Director Sue Liebel

The Arizona House passed a bill Thursday that bans abortions based on diagnosis of genetic abnormality, such as Down syndrome.

S.B. 1457 states that the rights of “an unborn child at every stage of development” must be acknowledged and prohibits abortions based on the sex, race, or genetic abnormality of the child. The bill makes exceptions for medical emergencies.

“A person who knowingly” performs such an abortion “is guilty of a class 3 felony,” according to the legislation.

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Factory Mixup Ruins 15 Million Johnson & Johnson Coronavirus Vaccines

COVID-19 Vaccinations

Workers at a Baltimore plant responsible for producing two separate coronavirus vaccines mistakenly mixed up their respective ingredients, ruining approximately 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine and pausing all production at the plant, the company confirmed Wednesday.

The facility, run by Emergent BioSolutions, had partnered with both Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca to produce vaccines. Federal officials said that the mistake was a result of human error, according to The New York Times, which first reported the mix up that reportedly occurred several weeks ago.

A quality control review “identified one batch of drug substance that did not meet quality standards at Emergent BioSolutions, a site not yet authorized to manufacture drug substance for our COVID-19 vaccine,” Johnson & Johnson said in a statement. “This batch was never advanced to the filling and finishing stages of our manufacturing process.”

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FDA Panel Votes to Recommend Johnson & Johnson’s Coronavirus Vaccine for Emergency Authorization

The Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory panel voted Friday evening to recommend Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency approval, clearing the way for its authorization, distribution and administration nationwide.

The vote followed hours of the panel live-streaming its process of scouring over data from the pharmaceutical company in order to reaffirm that the vaccine was safe for the millions of Americans who will receive it. The FDA also released the vaccine’s clinical trial data on Wednesday showing that the vaccine was effective in fighting the virus itself.

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Coronavirus Vaccines Can Guard Against New, More Contagious UK Strain, Experts Say

The two coronavirus vaccines that have been approved for emergency use authorization in the U.S. will be able to combat a new, more contagious strain of the virus in the U.K., experts said Monday.

Vaccines made by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna will be effective against the new strain, which is “very similar” to previous strains at the genetic level, University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation affiliate assistant professor Vin Gupta told CNBC. The Food and Drug Administration has approved both vaccines for emergency use authorization after large-scale human trials showed efficacy of more than 90%.

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FDA Grants Moderna’s Coronavirus Vaccine Emergency Authorization

The FDA approved Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use Friday, making the United States the first country to have approved two safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19.

Its approval follows a key FDA panel’s overwhelming vote Thursday to endorse the vaccine’s safety and efficacy. The Moderna vaccine’s approval means that its distribution could begin within hours, providing hospitals and long-term care facilities across the country thousands of much-needed doses.

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FDA Authorizes First Over-the-Counter Home Coronavirus Test

The Food and Drug Administration approved the first over-the-counter, at-home coronavirus test Tuesday.

The test, developed by the Australian company Ellume Limited, is a rapid antigen test that can deliver results in approximately 20 minutes, and works on any patient older than two years of age, the FDA said in its announcement.

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FDA Review Reaffirms Moderna Coronavirus Vaccine’s Safety, Efficacy

The FDA released data Tuesday reaffirming that Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine is safe and effective in preventing severe cases in adults.

The release is a sign that the vaccine is likely to be granted emergency use from the FDA in the coming days, public health officials said, a critical step in ensuring that millions of Americans can be vaccinated as soon as possible. The FDA released similar data regarding Pfizer’s vaccine just days before it was given emergency approval as well.

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FDA Grants Pfizer Coronavirus Vaccine Emergency Authorization, Launching Nationwide Distribution and Vaccination Effort

The FDA approved Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for emergency use Friday, officially beginning a nationwide mass vaccination effort in an attempt to overcome the coronavirus pandemic.

Its approval follows a key FDA panel’s overwhelming vote to endorse the vaccine’s safety and efficacy. President Donald Trump called for the agency to approve Pfizer’s earlier Friday, telling its director, Dr. Stephen Hahn, to “get the dam vaccines out” as soon as possible.

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FDA Advisory Panel Approves Pfizer Coronavirus Vaccine, Clearing Way for Final Authorization and Distribution

The FDA’s vaccine advisory panel voted 17-4 to approve Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine for use, clearing the way for its approval and distribution nationwide.

After scouring over Pfizer’s data during the multi-hour meeting Thursday, the panel ensured that it was safe for the hundreds of million Americans expected to receive it in the coming months and voted to recommend approval. Though the panel’s decision is merely an advisory one, the FDA is expected to heed its recommendation and approve Pfizer’s vaccine as early as Friday.

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Moderna Asks FDA for Emergency Approval of COVID-19 Vaccine, Second Company to Pass Milestone

Pharmaceutical company Moderna announced Monday that it will submit its coronavirus vaccine to the federal government for emergency use authorization approval.

Moderna said it would ask the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval after its large-scale human trial concluded and showed the company’s vaccine to have an overall efficacy of 94.1%, according to NBC News. The vaccine was found to be 100% effective in preventing severe cases of coronavirus, according to Moderna.

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FDA Has Delayed Approval Process for Promising Cancer Drug for Months Because of COVID

A promising immunotherapy drug for patients battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma may fail to gain federal approval due to COVID-19 precautions, according to company executives and a quarterly report.

Liso-cel, manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb, originally had its Food and Drug Administration (FDA) application accepted in February, but has yet to have one of its contracted manufacturing sites undergo FDA inspection due to the coronavirus pandemic. Not only is the drug’s approval contingent on the facility inspections from the FDA, according to multiple company executives, but its application expires on Nov. 16, meaning that if the plant is not inspected in the coming days Bristol-Myers may have to completely resubmit the drug’s application as a result.

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White House to Block FDA Vaccine Guidelines That Would’ve Delayed Approval Past Election

The White House blocked new vaccine guidelines proposed by health officials within the Trump administration, which likely would have pushed the approval of a coronavirus vaccine past the election.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is in charge of approving vaccines, proposed the guidance on Sept. 21, according to The New York Times. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows raised concerns with one provision of the guidelines which said vaccine trial subjects should be examined for two months following their final dose, a senior administration official told the Times.

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