Pfizer Covid Vaccine For Teens; Plus Partisan Opioid Politics

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While the Biden administration recently reversed the longstanding U.S. objection to waiving patent rights to increase global access to Covid-19 vaccines, domestic legislation to help treat addiction is getting caught in a partisan political fight. Forbes reporter Andrew Solender reports from D.C. that House Republicans voted down a relatively uncontroversial bill that would close a loophole allowing some drug manufacturers to reduce competition for drugs to fight opioid use disorder. Rep. Madeleine Dean, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, refused to let Rep. Buddy Carter, a Republican from Georgia, co-lead the bill due to his vote to object to Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential election.

Plus, more and more Americans are putting money in Health Savings Accounts, with $82.2 billion across 30 million HSAs in January. Forbes contributor Ashlea Ebeling reports the Internal Revenue Service has upped contribution limits to $3,650 for individuals and $7,300 for families in 2022. 

Softbank-Backed Health AI Startup Moves Into Clinical Care With Key Amazon Hire

Cardiologist Maulik Majmudar is leaving Amazon, where he led wearable efforts into general wellness, to join the Boston-based startup Biofourmis. Majmudar is the new chief medical officer of the artificial intelligence and digital therapeutics company, which will become a provider of medical services and take on risk in value-based contracts under his leadership. The company’s cutting edge approach to AI and sensors attracted a $100 million round led by Softbank Investment Advisers last September. Read more here.


Medical device maker Becton Dickinson will spin off its diabetes care business. 

Billionaire John Pritzker and his former wife Lisa Stone Pritzker are donating nearly $60 Million for mental health research at U.C. San Francisco.

Massachusetts’ attorney general is suing the advertising agency Publicis Health, alleging the company’s “deceptive marketing schemes” fueled the opioid epidemic. 

Coronavirus Updates

India hit a grim milestone today with more than 250,000 deaths from Covid-19, as the country battles a second wave that left 4,205 dead in a 24-hour period. More than 175 million Covid vaccines have been administered, according to a government tally, but there is still a severe vaccine shortage. In better news, a CDC advisory panel voted to recommend the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to 12-15 year olds, which comes after the FDA expanded the vaccine’s EUA to this age group on Monday. And infectious disease expert Dr. Stephen Thomas, who led a clinical trial of Pfizer’s vaccine, explains why he’s vaccinating his kids.

No Evidence That Covid Vaccines Damage Placenta Or Cause Infertility, Says Study

These latest findings add to a growing body of research that suggests vaccines don’t bring any additional safety concerns for those who are pregnant or want to become pregnant. Read more here.

Other Coronavirus News

Some state governors are partially basing their reopening plans on how many people have been vaccinated rather than the rate of new infections, including Oregon, Michigan, Vermont and New Mexico.

The Tokyo Olympics start in less than 100 days, but Japan has only a 2.8% vaccination rate,as the country has one of the lowest levels of vaccine confidence in the world. 

United Airlines and medical device maker Abbott have partnered to offer international passengers a CDC-approved self-administered Covid-19 test for use at their final destination. 

The U.S. took a “shots on goal” approach when it awarded vaccine manufacturer contracts through Operation Warp Speed. The largest number of vaccines at 300 million doses was for AstraZeneca, which has yet to be authorized in the country. 

Across Forbes

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What Else We are Reading

Former Google CEO Schmidt says AI ‘will have its biggest impact’ in health care (STAT)

Vlad the vaccinator: Dracula’s castle lures visitors with COVID-19 jabs (Reuters)

Cicadas Have an Existential Problem (The Atlantic)