Coronavirus Roundup: NIH Invests in Long-COVID Research; Vaccine Updates – Government Executive

The Food and Drug Administration’s advisory committee on vaccines is meeting on Friday to discuss Pfizer/BioNTech booster shots for the general population. Approval from the agency could come thereafter. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s advisory committee on immunization practices will meet on September 22 and 23 to discuss the shots, The Washington Post reported. The CDC would have to formally recommend the shots before they become available. Here are some of the other recent headlines you might have missed.

Moderna plans to apply for emergency use authorization for its booster shots, Politico reported on Thursday. The company released new data on Wednesday that “the company believes this adds to evidence of [the] potential benefit of a booster dose,” said a press release.

Pfizer and BioNTech plan to file for emergency use authorization for their vaccine for kids under 5 years old in November, The Hill reported on Wednesday. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration could face challenges in implementing the emergency standard mandating that companies with 100 or more employees require their workers to get vaccinated or be subject to regular testing, The Hill reported on Tuesday. “OSHA does not have nearly enough staff to inspect the vast majority of workplaces for compliance with the forthcoming vaccination mandate,” said the report. “But some experts say they wouldn’t need to, given the steps taken by many of the nation’s biggest employers on mandating vaccinations for employees.” Additionally, “the politics around the mandate, however, are still expected to put OSHA in the crosshairs of Republican officials who have vowed to oppose the new requirements.” 

Bloomberg Law looked at how the new OSHA emergency standard and contractor vaccine mandate could hold up in court. “OSHA emergency standards and some contractor executive orders have had poor litigation track records—with the former seeing five out of six losses in court challenges,” said the report. “But attorneys and academics say the past might not necessarily be prologue for the Biden administration’s move to throw its weight behind increasing vaccination rates in the face of infections fueled by the more contagious Delta variant.”

On Wednesday, the American Federation of Government Employees declared its positions on potential fiscal 2022 National Defense Authorization Act amendments––some of which are COVID-19 related. The union is against an amendment “that would prohibit funds from being used for inoculating members of the Armed Forces with the COVID-19 vaccine,” as it “would place the health and safety of DoD civilian employees and their families working with the military at risk by disrupting the vaccination of the military,” said the document. It is also against an amendment that “would prohibit the Department of Defense from entering a contract with any company that mandates its employees received COVID-19 vaccines,” because it “would endanger federal employees working in the same workspaces with unvaccinated contract employees.” Both amendments were proposed by Republican lawmakers.

The National Institutes of Health has devoted nearly $470 million for a large nationwide study to look at the long-term effects of the coronavirus.“The NIH REsearching COVID to Enhance Recovery (RECOVER) Initiative made the parent award to New York University Langone Health, New York City, which will make multiple sub-awards to more than 100 researchers at more than 30 institutions,” said NIH on Wednesday. 

Starting October 1, new immigrants to the United States must be fully vaccinated, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced on Tuesday. The agency outlined the situations in which there are exceptions. 

Selling unused federal property is a difficult process, but “the rise of remote work means that federal agencies are likely to need less office space, resulting in a greater need for the government to reduce its footprint,” The New York Times reported.

The Biden administration is reigning in how many coronavirus antibody treatments it sends to states after a rising demand from Republican-led states––as they have come to rely on them rather than reinforcing public health restrictions, Politico reported.

Upcoming: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki will give a briefing at 2:30 p.m. 

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