U.S. government stockpile of COVID-19 vaccines already drained

Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine image courtesy of Wikipedia

Last week, President-elect Joe Biden vowed to release COVID-19 vaccine doses from a government stockpile. 

On Jan. 13, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) echoed that sentiment, stating it would “no longer stockpile millions of COVID-19 vaccine doses held to ensure Americans receive their second shot,” according to a brief notice. 

But federal officials had already drained vaccine reserves before the HHS vowed to open up a vaccine stockpile, according to state officials who had been expecting more doses.

Local government officials expecting vaccine supplies to roughly double starting next week are now forced to contend with the status quo. 

Critics of Operation Warp Speed, a public-private partnership established by the Trump administration to support COVID-19 vaccine distribution, have been frustrated with the speed …

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Report: Will Dr. Hahn crack under political pressure?

Many jobs have come with increased stress levels during the coronavirus pandemic, from ICU staff to Walmart greeters. Now officials who’ve been keeping tabs on FDA commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn are wondering whether he can weather the strain of defending science while working for the Trump administration, according to a New York Times report.

Hahn has been squeezed between expressing his professional opinions and toeing the administration line on topics such as hydroxychloroquine and COVID-19 vaccines. (Hydroxychloroquine may cause a heart rhythm disorder or drug-induced sudden cardiac death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).) He has gamely fielded questions raised about statements made by President Trump — including on whether the coronavirus is deadly and the possibility of a vaccine being will be ready by Election Day, November 3, 2020.

Get the full story on our sister site, Medical Design & Outsourcing.

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Abbott: ID NOW COVID-19 results more accurate with earlier testing

Abbott’s ID Now test machine (Image from Abbott)

Abbott (NYSE:ABT) said today that its ID NOW COVID-19 test works better on specimens collected soon after patients begin showing symptoms.

The test’s performance has drawn fire from federal officials in recent weeks, including a recent FDA warning that the ID NOW test may return false-negative results. The agency granted the test an emergency use authorization (EUA) on March 27 and said it is now investigating whether false-negative results could be due to the types of swabs used or the type of viral transport media.

Abbott began advising customers in mid-April that ID NOW is a rapid test that was not designed for use with viral transport media. The company also recommended using dry nasal swabs to collect samples.

Today, the company announced an interim analysis of an ongoing clinical study at five urgent care clinics in New Jerse…

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Groups release guidance on medtech reps’ return to hospitals

A handful of medical organizations released guidelines today on the safe return of medtech company representatives to healthcare facilities during the coronavirus pandemic.

The guidance released today by AdvaMed, the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN) and the American Hospital Association (AHA) builds on the April 17 joint statement by AHA, AORN, the American College of Surgeons, and the American Society of Anesthesiologists on the resumption of elective surgeries.

Several medical device companies, especially those in orthopedics, have suffered major drops in sales since the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recommended in March that healthcare providers postpone elective procedures until further notice to preserve personal protective equipment. The CMS decision followed one by the American College of Surgeons calling for hospitals to “minimize, postpone or cancel” elective procedures until the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak s…

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