Xavier Becerra confirmed as HHS secretary

Image from Gage Skidmore on Flickr

The U.S. Senate narrowly voted to confirm Xavier Becerra as the secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services (HHS) today.

Becerra received the nomination for the position from President Joe Biden in December 2020. Today, the Senate voted 50-49 in favor of Becerra, who will have to resign his seat as the attorney general of California. He will succeed Alex Azar, who held the position during the Trump administration until his resignation just days before Biden’s inauguration.

Democrats unanimously backed his nomination in the Senate, while Republican senators were nearly united in opposing his confirmation, claiming Becerra’s past, which included Democratic legal challenges to policies from the Donald Trump administration, made him unfit for the position.

Becerra, a 12-term veteran of U.S. Congress, had previously advocated for healthc…

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Report: U.S. should have enough COVID-19 vaccine in Q3 2021, CDC head tells Senate panel

CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield told a Senate panel today that the federal government should have enough coronavirus vaccine for Americans to resume “regular life” by the third quarter of 2021, according to a report by CNBC.

Redfield said vaccinations could begin November or December of 2020 and that it could take 6 to 9 months to inoculate all Americans, the network reported.

“If you’re asking me when is it going to be generally available to the American public so we can begin to take advantage of vaccine to get back to our regular life, I think we’re probably looking at third … late second quarter, third quarter 2021,” Redfield told the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies.

The Trump administration today released a plan to distribute an eventual COVID-19 vaccine free of charge, initially to targeted groups and more broadly as supply increases. The government is p…

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