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Covid-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Is Worse In E.U. Than U.S.

Mar 8, 2021,10:23am EST|8,671 views

Joshua Cohen, Contributor
HealthcareI write about prescription drug value, market access, healthcare systems, and ethics of distribution of healthcare resources.
Source: Forbes
Photos Source: Forbes

Holding up hand to stop a COVID-19 vaccination syringe from approaching, an anti vaxxer person stands in the background
Across the E.U. vaccine hesitancy is worse than it is in the U.S. GETTY
Source: Forbes
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the U.S. has been somewhat of an outlier. With merely 4% of the world’s population, the U.S. accounts for more than 20% of globally reported deaths and nearly 25% of confirmed cases. But in the vaccination race the U.S. is proving to be a formidable competitor, having administered 30% of the world’s vaccine doses; approximately 26.3 doses per 100 people. Among Western industrialized nations only the U.K. has a better vaccination rate. Of those in the U.S. in the 65 and above age group, 59% have received at least one dose, and 69% of those over 75 have gotten at least one dose.

This is not to say that there aren’t issues with the vaccine rollout in the U.S. It’s been bumpy and uneven, with some states performing well and others lagging. Inequitable distribution across socioeconomic strata continues to be problematic. Moreover, the U.S. contends with an outspoken anti-vaccine movement.

But getting shots into the arms of European Union (E.U.) residents has proven to be much trickier. The U.S. is vaccinating at a faster pace than any member of the E.U., and three times the E.U. average.

Some of this can be attributed to better supply in the U.S. By contrast, Europe has faced unexpected manufacturing delays as well as a failure to procure sufficient inventory.

Thus far, most of the focus on explaining differences in vaccination rates has been on the supply side. So, for example, last summer the U.S. and the U.K. bought tens of millions of doses of several vaccine candidates prior to their emergency use authorization. The U.S. and U.K. didn’t know which vaccines would make it through the emergency use authorization process. But, both nations wanted to be sure they secured a supply so that once their respective regulatory agencies gave the go-ahead the initial batches would be immediately available. On the other hand, the E.U. took a much more risk-averse, wait-and-see approach, which meant that when the European Medicines Agency granted emergency use authorization there was little or no supply available at launch. The U.S. and U.K. gamble paid off, while E.U. dithering did not.

Yet supply is not the only factor impacting vaccination uptake. On the demand side, most of Europe is flailing while the U.S. is succeeding on the whole.

According to a recent Pew survey, nearly 70% of the U.S. public intends to get a Covid-19 vaccine or has already been vaccinated. This represents an impressive 10% jump in vaccine receptiveness in less than three months. Furthermore, a whopping 83% of registered Democrats are inclined to get vaccinated or have already received a coronavirus vaccine. Even among registered Republicans the numbers are improving, with a solid majority (56%) now saying they’re willing to get vaccinated or have already obtained a coronavirus vaccine. Independents fall somewhere between the Democrats and Republicans in terms of their vaccine receptiveness. Notably, the difference in vaccine receptiveness between black and white Americans has diminished since November. Sixty-one percent of black Americans now say they plan to get a Covid-19 vaccine or have already received one, up dramatically from 42% in November.

The numbers in the U.S. are significantly better than the E.U. Last month, in collaboration with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the RECOVER Social Sciences team published a policy brief based on their study on public views of Covid-19 vaccination. The study covered seven European countries: France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and Ukraine.

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Only 36% of the surveyed Europeans strongly agree with the statement that vaccines are safe. Posed the question whether respondents would be willing to be vaccinated if the vaccine was found to be safe and effective and provided free-of-charge, only between 44% and 66% answered in the affirmative. Moreover, a separate poll in France found that only 40% of French people want the Covid-19 vaccine.

Poll after poll conducted across Europe suggest very large numbers of Europeans have serious qualms about the safety of vaccines and potential short- and long-term adverse effects. They also voice concern about the speed with which vaccines went through the clinical development process. A vocal minority perceives the vaccine as unnecessary. And many have conveyed their mistrust of global and national authorities as well as pharmaceutical companies, who some regard as solely pursuing financial interests and not those of public health.

In Europe, even approved products that don’t necessarily have supply issues have faced stiff resistance. In France and Germany, for example, the approved AstraZeneca vaccine has an image problem, which means many are reluctant to take it, including healthcare workers on the front lines. Poor, inconsistent messaging has fueled the public’s confusion over the safety and efficacy of AstraZeneca’s vaccine. President Macron’s claim last month that the vaccine was “quasi-ineffective” for the elderly didn’t help matters. He has since reversed himself and is now pleading that people get vaccinated with whatever vaccine is available to them. But the damage was already done.

Europe’s degree of Covid-19 vaccine aversion is perhaps surprising, but not if one views it in the context of fiercely anti-establishment politics on the far-left and far-right, and a particularly virulent anti-science sentiment that existed long before Covid-19 hit. To illustrate, the far-right Lega and leftist Five Star Movement in Italy have both incited fearmongering about vaccines. Likewise, far-right and far-left political leaders in France, such as Le Pen and Mélenchon, have stoked anti-vaccine attitudes.

For Europe, the rising tide of vaccine hesitancy is coming at the worst possible time. In France and Italy cases and hospitalizations are increasing again. And, the situation is dire in the Czech Republic, which this week registered a record-breaking total of nearly 8,500 patients hospitalized with Covid-19. Also, Hungary’s prime minister declared last week that the country is in the midst of the worst two weeks of the pandemic.

Strong mitigation measures will need to continue across Europe to curb the spread, preserve healthcare system capacity, and save lives. Concomitantly, revamping a flagging vaccination campaign is critical. While boosting vaccine supply is a prerogative, tackling the widespread problem of vaccine hesitancy is equally important.

Have you taken the COVID 19 Vaccine? Why? Why not?

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Joshua P Cohen
Joshua P Cohen

I’m an independent healthcare analyst with over 22 years of experience analyzing healthcare and pharmaceuticals. Specifically, I analyze the value (costs and benefits) of biologics and pharmaceuticals, patient access to prescription drugs, the regulatory framework for drug development and reimbursement, and ethics with respect to the distribution of healthcare resources. I have over 110 publications in peer-reviewed and trade journals, in addition to newspapers and periodicals. I have also presented my work at numerous trade, industry, and academic conferences. From 1999 to 2017 I was a research associate professor at the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development. Prior to my Tufts appointment, I was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, and I completed my PhD in economics at the University of Amsterdam. Before pursuing my PhD I was a management consultant at Accenture in The Hague, Netherlands. Currently, I work on freelance basis on a variety of research, teaching, and writing projects. 

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As U.S. Corporations Face Reckoning Over Prescription Opioids, CEOs Keep Cashing In

March 28, 20217:00 AM ET
BRIAN MANN
Source: NPR

Source: NPR
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Steve Collis, president and chief executive officer of AmerisourceBergen Corp., testifies during a House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearing on May 8, 2018.Bloomberg/Getty Images

Imagine you’re part of a project that goes horribly wrong at work, causing a scandal, costing your company a ton of money, maybe even putting people at risk. Now imagine after that kind of performance your company rewards you with a raise and a bonus.

Critics say that’s happening right now with CEOs at big drug and health care companies tangled up in the opioid crisis.

“When leadership fails … the board of directors have to be willing to hold their executives accountable,” said Shawn Wooden, Connecticut’s state treasurer.

His job includes investing state pension funds and other taxpayer money in firms that include some of the nation’s biggest drug makers and health corporations.

Wooden believes executives at some of those companies made risky decisions, leading their firms deep into the opioid business.

More than 450,000 Americans have died from opioid overdoses since drug companies began making, distributing and selling large quantities of prescription painkillers.

Now many firms face a tsunami of opioid lawsuits, have filed for bankruptcy, or find themselves on the hook for billions of dollars in settlements.

But Wooden says CEOs and other top executives keep getting rewarded.

A company loses $6.6 billion, a CEO is rewarded

Wooden points to a recent shareholder fight over compensation for Steve Collis, CEO of AmerisourceBergen since 2011.Article continues after sponsor message

The health services giant agreed to pay Collis $14.3 million for his work in 2020, a 26% raise. In that same year his firm reached a tentative $6.6 billion opioid settlement with state and local governments.

Wooden said that one opioid loss “nearly wipes out a decade, a decade’s worth of the company’s profits.”

He argues when calculating Collis’s pay, the company’s board should have factored in the loss along with the “reputational harm and the societal harm” caused by AmerisourceBergen’s opioid business.

Amerisource Bergen has admitted no wrongdoing as part of its settlement talks.

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In a statement to NPR, a spokesperson for the company said Collis was compensated appropriately based on the “pay-for-performance principle that executives should be rewarded when they deliver targeted financial results.”

But the company acknowledges that when calculating Collis’s performance, its board first excluded “litigation-related expenses.” Which means the whole opioid mess, everything related to “legal or compliance costs” was wiped from the ledger.

Despite objections by Wooden and Rhode Island state treasurer Seth Magaziner, a narrow majority of the company’s shareholders voted earlier this month to approve Collis’s compensation.

Collis isn’t alone. CardinalHealth, also on the hook for an opioid settlement worth roughly $6.5 billion, gave CEO Michael Kaufman a $2.5 million bonus in 2020.

Source: NPR
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Purdue Pharma CEO Craig Landau testifies via video to a House Oversight Committee hearing on Dec. 17, 2020. Members of the family that owns OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma have acknowledged the drug had a role in the opioid crisis but have stopped short of apologizing or admitting wrongdoing.AP

Purdue Pharma CEO sees bonus after company guilty plea

Critics in Congress say one of the most troubling cases of drug executive compensation involves Dr. Craig Landau, CEO of Purdue Pharma, maker of OxyContin.

Landau has been an executive with the firm since the late 1990s and stepped into the top job in 2017. While admitting no personal wrongdoing, he’s named in dozens of opioid lawsuits.

In 2019, Landau led Purdue into bankruptcy and then last year his company admitted committing federal crimes linked to opioid sales.

Despite that track record, Purdue Pharma’s board rewarded Landau with a bonus worth nearly $3 million, a decision approved by a federal bankruptcy judge.

In December, while appearing before a congressional oversight committee, Landau faced calls to give the money back so it could be distributed to creditors and people harmed by the opioid epidemic.

“Will you forego this $3 million bonus you’re taking out of the pockets of the people who should get that money from the bankruptcy court?” asked Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill.

“I have already made — willingly made — significant monetary concessions in order to move the bankruptcy process forward,” Landau testified.

“So the answer is no,” Krishnamoorthi said. “You want those $3 million at the expense of those opioid victims. Shame on you, Dr. Landau, shame on you.”

Landau voiced regret for the harm caused by OxyContin and again said he had done nothing wrong personally.

In a statement to NPR, Purdue Pharma praised Landau’s leadership and said he was compensated appropriately.

“Despite unprecedented headwinds, Dr. Landau has led the company and delivered results for its many stakeholders,” the spokesperson said.

Shareholders hurt by opioid reckoning

Charles Elson, an expert on corporate governance and ethics at the University of Delaware, said this kind of executive compensation at companies embroiled in a public health crisis leaves a bad taste.

“No matter how thick you slice it, it’s still the same old baloney,” Elson said, noting it is common for American corporations to reward executives with hefty bonuses even when things go wrong.

According to Elson, the financial pain for losses, like these billion dollar opioid settlements, typically gets passed along instead to average Americans who own stock in these companies.

“The shareholders are not simply a group of people on Wall Street, the shareholders are in fact all of us who were damaged as well,” Elson said. “I think that’s why it’s galling to see [executives] rewarded.”

The reality of the pharmecuitical industry is that it is a big business who has been paying fines for some time. How much of these fines are written into the cost of creating a drug and bring it to market? How much are these companies willing to pay and how many lives are they willing to see loss. How much can you afford to pay: drug management, disease management or death? Which one will you pay?

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Research looks at COVID vaccine hesitancy and refusal among the U.S. public

Angela Betsaida B. Laguipo, BSNBy Angela Betsaida B. Laguipo, BSN
Mar 4 2021
Source: News – Medical Life Science

Vaccination against the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) has rolled out in many countries, including the United States. As the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases continues to rise, vaccinating many people in the population is crucial. Despite campaigns to inform residents of the benefits of vaccines, many are still reluctant to get vaccinated.

Researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital, the Johns Hopkins Hospital, and the University of California, San Francisco, found that over one-third of the study respondents were hesitant to get the COVID-19 vaccine. To increase vaccine acceptance, the team suggested public health interventions to target vaccine-hesitant populations, with messaging that addresses their concerns about the vaccines’ efficacy and safety.

COVID-19 vaccination

There are more than 250 vaccines against COVID-19 in development by pharmaceutical companies across the globe. Of these, 71 are in clinical evaluation. Vaccines are now being widely administered, these include Moderna’s vaccine, the Pfizer+BioNTech vaccine, the AstraZeneca + University of Oxford vaccine, and more recently the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

One of the ways to combat the COVID-19 pandemic is attaining herd immunity. For COVID-19 vaccination to effectively confer herd immunity, health experts said that at least 60 to 70 percent of the population must be vaccinated.

However, vaccine hesitancy deters this. For instance, influenza vaccine hesitancy rates have increased by about 40 percent. The researchers aimed to see the most common reasons why Americans are hesitant to get vaccinated for COVID-19.Main Predictors of Covid-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Personograph plot of the classification tree analysis, which identified previous influenza vaccine coverage and political affiliation as significant predictors of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. The main reasons given for vaccine were concerns about side effects and safety of the vaccine (75%,Main Predictors of Covid-19 Vaccine Hesitancy Personograph plot of the classification tree analysis, which identified previous influenza vaccine coverage and political affiliation as significant predictors of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. The main reasons given for vaccine were concerns about side effects and safety of the vaccine (75%, n=497), the need for more information about the vaccine (53%, n=351), and doubts regarding the efficacy of the vaccine (17%, n=110).
Source: News – Medical Life Science
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The study

The study, published on the preprint server medRxiv*, aimed to determine the U.S. population rate of COVID-19 hesitancy, identify characteristics linked to hesitation, and determine the reasons for reluctance.

The researchers distributed a 43-question survey on Amazon Mechanical Turk, an online labor marketplace where people receive a nominal fee for completing tasks, to 1,756 respondents between November 17 and 18, 2020.

The expected primary outcome measure was the rate of COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy, which is defined as either non-acceptance or being unsure about accepting the vaccine. Secondary outcomes included patient characteristics tied to vaccine hesitancy, reasons for being hesitant, and health care sites where they would like to be vaccinated.

Study findings demonstrated that a total of 663 participants were COVID-19 vaccine-hesitant, wherein 374 were decided to be non-acceptors, and 289 were unsure about accepting the vaccine.

Further findings showed that vaccine hesitancy was tied to not receiving the influenza vaccine in the past five years. Also, females, Blacks, having a high school education or less, and being in the Republican party affiliation were more likely to be vaccine-hesitant.

The reasons cited for vaccine hesitancy included the potential side effects, the need for more information about the vaccine, and doubts about vaccine effectiveness. For the preferred cites for vaccination, vaccine acceptors opted to go to their primary doctors, dedicated vaccination areas, and pharmacies.

“Optimal health policy deliberations for COVID-19 vaccine distribution require consideration of vaccine hesitancy and reasons for refusal,” the researchers explained.

“To improve efficient and equitable vaccine distribution, educational messaging campaigns should seek to address non-acceptors’ primary concerns of safety and side effects of the vaccine,” they added.

The team also recommended widening the efforts to disseminate information on the benefits of vaccination against infections. This can help control and spread the virus, and at the same time, aid in the attainment of herd immunity.

As the virus continues to wreak havoc globally, boosting vaccination campaigns can help control the pandemic. To date, more than 115 million people have already been infected with SARS-CoV-2. Of these, 2.55 million have died.

*Important Notice

medRxiv publishes preliminary scientific reports that are not peer-reviewed and, therefore, should not be regarded as conclusive, guide clinical practice/health-related behavior, or treated as established information.Source:

Journal reference:

There is a huge interest in understanding and overcoming COVID-19 Vaccine hesitation. COVID-19 hesitation has hit all communities across the world. Some countries have encouraged influencers to get public vaccinations to encourage vaccination. How do you feel about COVID-19 Vaccination? Why? Have you received the vaccination?

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‘Run The Oil Industry In Reverse’: Fighting Climate Change By Farming Kelp

March 1, 20215:00 AM ET
FRED BEVER
Source: NPR

Source: NPR
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Adam Baske (left) and Capt. Rob Odlin of Running Tide Technologies in the Gulf of Maine. They release rope that’s entwined with early-stage kelp, a fast growing seaweed that will soak up carbon dioxide. Fred Bever/Maine Public

In the race to stall or even reverse global warming, new efforts are in the works to pull carbon dioxide out of the air and put it somewhere safe.

One startup in Maine has a vision that is drawing attention from scientists and venture capitalists alike: to bury massive amounts of seaweed at the bottom of the ocean, where it will lock away carbon for thousands of years.

The company is called Running Tide Technologies, and it’s prototyping the concept this winter. On a recent day in the Gulf of Maine, boat captain Rob Odlin says the task itself isn’t much different from any other in his seafaring career, whether chasing tuna or harvesting lobster.

“We’re just fishing for carbon now, and kelp’s the net,” he says.

Running Tide CEO Marty Odlin — the boat captain’s nephew — comes from a long line of Maine fishermen, and once imagined he would continue the tradition. But he watched as the warming climate drove major shifts in fish populations, while regulators put a lid on how much could be taken from the sea.

“It just got really hard for me to go into crazy debt to buy a boat to catch fish that were swimming away,” Odlin says.

The Dartmouth-trained engineer did start an oyster farm. But he also started thinking about how to stop the damage in the Gulf of Maine, one of the fastest warming bodies of water on the planet.

“Essentially what we have to do is run the oil industry in reverse,” he concluded.

As Odlin notes, the fossil fuels we burn for energy started out as plants millions of years ago. Much of it was ocean algae that sank to the bottom of ancient seas, where chemistry and water pressure transformed it into oil, over geologic timescales.

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Olivia Mercier runs the kelp hatchery at Portland’s Running Tide Technologies. She raises sporophytes, or early-stage kelp, on a pipe wrapped with biodegradable string; the string will be placed in the ocean.Fred Bever/Maine Public

Odlin wants to mimic those natural processes, and do it in a hurry. He envisions an armada heading hundreds of miles offshore each fall, to deploy millions of free-floating cellulose buoys, each tethered to a kelp-bearing rope.

The kelp will soak up carbon — gigatons of it — via photosynthesis. Months later the mature plant blades will grow too heavy for their biodegradable buoys.

“So the kelp will sink to the ocean bottom in the sediment, and become, essentially, part of the ocean floor,” Odlin says. The ultimate goal is that it will stay there, sequestrated for millions of years, turning back into oil.

This year’s goal is more modest: an on-the-water experiment, floating about 1600 single-buoy “micro-farms” to gather data and prove the concept.

Low-tech elegance

The company is part of a new wave of big-thinking about removing carbon from the atmosphere at a planetary-scale.

Microsoft last year committed a billion dollars to kick-start research and development in the emerging field of carbon-removal tech. It also promised to find ways to remove all the CO2 its operations have put in the air since it was founded.

High-tech carbon-removal innovations are emerging around the world. Towering banks of fans that can pull CO2 from the sky. Pumps injecting plant-based biofuels into the earth. But Running Tide seems to be capturing attention — and investment — because of its low-tech elegance.

“When we started learning about Running Tide’s approach, I was blown away by the simplicity,” says Stacy Kauk, who directs sustainability efforts at Shopify, a $150-billion e-commerce company which will be Running Tide’s first customer for carbon-capture credits.

She says Shopify is willing to pay a premium for the credits now, in hopes the technology can ultimately be brought to a price-point that would attract broad buy-in from other businesses and governments.

“They’re not relying on expensive equipment, or energy-intensive processes,” she says. “It’s very simple, and the economies of scale associated with that make Running Tide’s solution have huge potential.”

Source: NPR
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Marty Odlin, CEO of Running Tide Technologies, in its workshop on Portland’s waterfront. The Dartmouth-trained engineer comes from a fishing family and once wanted to be a fisherman. But after seeing global warming’s effects on the Gulf of Maine fisheries he decided to try and reverse the damage.Fred Bever/Maine Public

At a large scale, though, Running Tide is mindful there could be unwanted consequences. It’s modeling whether, for instance, a multitude of free-floating micro-farms could entangle whales, hinder shipping, or foul beaches.

Outside experts are pitching in: A consortium of oceanographers from MIT, Stanford and other top research outfits will review the project and its environmental risks. But executive director Brad Ack says all that will be weighed in the context of the urgency of combating climate change.

“We have to compare them against the no-action alternative,” he says. “And in this case, the no-action alternative is very grim.”

Running Tide’s Marty Odlin says it will take a World-War II level mobilization to remove a major chunk of some 200 years’ worth of humanity’s CO2 pollution, whether via his model or any others that show real-world promise.

“We’re kind of in a cage-match with it right now,” he says. “I’m not in this to give Godzilla a paper-cut.”

For now, from his uncle’s re-purposed lobster boat off Maine’s coast, the Running Tide team is tending the buoys, making sure they survive the winter storms. They’ll return in the spring to sink this test-crop of carbon-removing kelp a thousand meters deep, hopefully to stay there for millennia.

How has this article helped you? How are they positively impacted our environment? How can you positively impact our environment?

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FACT SHEET: President Biden Takes Executive Actions to Tackle the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, Create Jobs, and Restore Scientific Integrity Across Federal Government

JANUARY 27, 2021 • STATEMENTS AND RELEASES
Source: The White House

Biden-Harris Administration Commits on Climate Change – Creating Jobs, Building Infrastructure, and Delivering Environmental Justice

Today, President Biden will take executive action to tackle the climate crisis at home and abroad while creating good-paying union jobs and equitable clean energy future, building modern and sustainable infrastructure, restoring scientific integrity and evidence-based policymaking across the federal government, and re-establishing the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

These Executive Orders follow through on President Biden’s promise to take aggressive action to tackle climate change and build on the executive actions that the President took on his first day in office, including rejoining the Paris Agreement and immediate review of harmful rollbacks of standards that protect our air, water, and communities.

President Biden set ambitious goals that will ensure America and the world can meet the urgent demands of the climate crisis, while empowering American workers and businesses to lead a clean energy revolution that achieves a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035 and puts the United States on an irreversible path to a net-zero economy by 2050. Today’s actions advance those goals and ensure that we are tapping into the talent, grit, and innovation of American workers, revitalizing the U.S. energy sector, conserving our natural resources and leveraging them to help drive our nation toward a clean energy future, creating well-paying jobs with the opportunity to join a union, and delivering justice for communities who have been subjected to environmental harm.

President Biden will also sign an important Presidential Memorandum on scientific integrity to send a clear message that the Biden-Harris Administration will protect scientists from political interference and ensure they can think, research, and speak freely to provide valuable information and insights to the American people. Additionally, and in line with the scientific-integrity memorandum’s charge to reestablish scientific advisory committees, President Biden will sign an Executive Order re-establishing the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

TACKLING THE CLIMATE CRISIS AT HOME AND ABROAD EXECUTIVE ORDER

Today’s Executive Order takes bold steps to combat the climate crisis both at home and throughout the world. In signing this Executive Order, President Biden has directed his Administration to:

Center the Climate Crisis in U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security Considerations

  • The order clearly establishes climate considerations as an essential element of U.S. foreign policy and national security. 
  • The order affirms that, in implementing – and building on – the Paris Agreement’s objectives, the United States will exercise its leadership to promote a significant increase in global ambition. It makes clear that both significant short-term global emission reductions and net zero global emissions by mid-century – or before – are required to avoid setting the world on a dangerous, potentially catastrophic, climate trajectory. 
  • The order reaffirms that the President will host a Leaders’ Climate Summit on Earth Day, April 22, 2021; that the United States will reconvene the Major Economies Forum; that, to underscore the administration’s commitment to elevating climate in U.S. foreign policy, the President has created a new position, the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, which will have a seat on the National Security Council, and that it will be a U.S. priority to press for enhanced climate ambition and integration of climate considerations across a wide range of international fora.
  • The order also kicks off the process of developing the United States’ “nationally determined contribution” – our emission reduction target – under the Paris Agreement, as well as a climate finance plan.
  • Among numerous other steps aimed at prioritizing climate in U.S. foreign policy and national security, the order directs the Director of National Intelligence to prepare a National Intelligence Estimate on the security implications of climate change, the State Department to prepare a transmittal package to the Senate for the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, and all agencies to develop strategies for integrating climate considerations into their international work.

Take a Whole-of-Government Approach to the Climate Crisis

  • The order formally establishes the White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy – led by the first-ever National Climate Advisor and Deputy National Climate Advisor – creating a central office in the White House that is charged with coordinating and implementing the President’s domestic climate agenda.
  • The order establishes the National Climate Task Force, assembling leaders from across 21 federal agencies and departments to enable a whole-of-government approach to combatting the climate crisis.

Leverage the Federal Government’s Footprint and Buying Power to Lead by Example

  • Consistent with the goals of the President’s Build Back Better jobs and economic recovery plan, of which his clean energy jobs plan is a central pillar, the order directs the federal agencies to procure carbon pollution-free electricity and clean, zero-emission vehicles to create good-paying, union jobs and stimulate clean energy industries.
  • In addition, the order requires those purchases be Made in America, following President Biden’s Buy American executive order. The order also directs agencies to apply and strictly enforce the prevailing wage and benefit guidelines of the Davis Bacon and other acts and encourage Project Labor Agreements. These actions reaffirm that agencies should work to ensure that any jobs created with funds to address the climate crisis are good jobs with a choice to join a union.
  • The order directs each federal agency to develop a plan to increase the resilience of its facilities and operations to the impacts of climate change and directs relevant agencies to report on ways to expand and improve climate forecast capabilities – helping facilitate public access to climate related information and assisting governments, communities, and businesses in preparing for and adapting to the impacts of climate change.
  • The order directs the Secretary of the Interior to pause on entering into new oil and natural gas leases on public lands or offshore waters to the extent possible, launch a rigorous review of all existing leasing and permitting practices related to fossil fuel development on public lands and waters, and identify steps that can be taken to double renewable energy production from offshore wind by 2030. The order does not restrict energy activities on lands that the United States holds in trust for Tribes. The Secretary of the Interior will continue to consult with Tribes regarding the development and management of renewable and conventional energy resources, in conformance with the U.S. government’s trust responsibilities.
  • The order directs federal agencies to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies as consistent with applicable law and identify new opportunities to spur innovation, commercialization, and deployment of clean energy technologies and infrastructure. 

Rebuild Our Infrastructure for a Sustainable Economy

  • The order catalyzes the creation of jobs in construction, manufacturing, engineering and the skilled-trades by directing steps to ensure that every federal infrastructure investment reduces climate pollution and that steps are taken to accelerate clean energy and transmission projects under federal siting and permitting processes in an environmentally sustainable manner.

Advance Conservation, Agriculture, and Reforestation

  • The order commits to the goal of conserving at least 30 percent of our lands and oceans by 2030 and launches a process for stakeholder engagement from agricultural and forest landowners, fishermen, Tribes, States, Territories, local officials, and others to identify strategies that will result in broad participation. 
  • The order also calls for the establishment of a Civilian Climate Corps Initiative to put a new generation of Americans to work conserving and restoring public lands and waters, increasing reforestation, increasing carbon sequestration in the agricultural sector, protecting biodiversity, improving access to recreation, and addressing the changing climate.
  • The order directs the Secretary of Agriculture to collect input from farmers, ranchers, and other stakeholders on how to use federal programs to encourage adoption of climate-smart agricultural practices that produce verifiable carbon reductions and sequestrations and create new sources of income and jobs for rural Americans.

Revitalize Energy Communities

  • The order establishes an Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization, to be co-chaired by the National Climate Advisor and the Director of the National Economic Council, and directs federal agencies to coordinate investments and other efforts to assist coal, oil and natural gas, and power plant communities. 
  • The order tasks the new Interagency Working Group to advance projects that reduce emissions of toxic substances and greenhouse gases from existing and abandoned infrastructure and that prevent environmental damage that harms communities and poses a risk to public health and safety – such as projects to reduce methane emissions, oil and brine leaks, and other environmental harms from tens of thousands of former mining and well sites.
  • In addition, the new Interagency Working Group is also directed to explore efforts to turn properties idled in these communities, like brownfields, into new hubs for the growth of our economy.

Secure Environmental Justice and Spur Economic Opportunity

  • The order formalizes President Biden’s commitment to make environmental justice a part of the mission of every agency by directing federal agencies to develop programs, policies, and activities to address the disproportionate health, environmental, economic, and climate impacts on disadvantaged communities.
  • The order establishes a White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council and a White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council to prioritize environmental justice and ensure a whole-of-government approach to addressing current and historical environmental injustices, including strengthening environmental justice monitoring and enforcement through new or strengthened offices at the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Justice, and Department of Health and Human Services.  The new bodies are also tasked with advising on ways to update Executive Order 12898 of February 11, 1994.
  • The order creates a government-wide Justice40 Initiative with the goal of delivering 40 percent of the overall benefits of relevant federal investments to disadvantaged communities and tracks performance toward that goal through the establishment of an Environmental Justice Scorecard.
  • The order initiates the development of a Climate and Environmental Justice Screening Tool, building off EPA’s EJSCREEN, to identify disadvantaged communities, support the Justice40 Initiative, and inform equitable decision making across the federal government

SCIENTIFIC INTEGRITY PRESIDENTIAL MEMORANDUM
The Presidential Memorandum on Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking directs agencies to make evidence-based decisions guided by the best available science and data. Scientific and technological information, data, and evidence are central to the development and iterative improvement of sound policies, and to the delivery of effective and equitable programs. Improper political interference in the scientific process, with the work of scientists, and in the communication of scientific facts undermines the welfare of the nation, contributes to systemic inequities and injustices, and violates the public trust.

The memorandum charges the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) with the responsibility for ensuring scientific integrity across federal agencies. The OSTP Director is directed to review the effectiveness of agency scientific-integrity policies and assess agency scientific-integrity policies and practices going forward.

In addition, agencies that oversee, direct, or fund research are tasked with designating a senior agency employee as Chief Science Officer to ensure agency research programs are scientifically and technologically well founded and conducted with integrity. Because science, facts, and evidence are vital to addressing policy and programmatic issues across the Federal Government, all agencies – not just those that fund, conduct, or oversee scientific research –must designate a senior career employee as the agency’s Scientific Integrity Official to oversee implementation and iterative improvement of scientific-integrity policies and processes.

EXECUTIVE ORDER ESTABLISHING THE PRESIDENT’S COUNCIL OF ADVISORS ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Leaders across the Biden-Harris Administration, including the President himself and his senior advisors in the Executive Office of the President, will seek input, advice, and the best-available science, data, and scientific and technological information from scientists, engineers, and other experts in science, technology, and innovation.

To that end, and in alignment with the scientific-integrity memorandum’s charge to reestablish scientific and technological advisory committees, this order re-establishes the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). The PCAST– co-chaired by the President’s Science Advisor – will advise the President on policy that affects science, technology, and innovation. The Council will also advise the President on scientific and technical information that is needed to inform public policy relating to the economy, worker empowerment, education, energy, environment, public health, national and homeland security, racial equity, and other topics.

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How can these policies change our environment? What ways do you contribute to the improvement of the environment? How can you contribute to the environment….

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Flood risk is growing for US homeowners due to climate change. Current insurance rates greatly underestimate the threat, a new report finds

Flooded homes are shown near Lake Houston following Hurricane Harvey on August 30, 2017, in Houston. A new report finds that current flood insurance coverage rates greatly underestimate the actual financial risk flooding poses to millions of homeowners. Flooded homes are shown near Lake Houston following Hurricane Harvey on August 30, 2017, in Houston. A new report finds that current flood insurance coverage rates greatly underestimate the actual financial risk flooding poses to millions of homeowners.
Source: CNN
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Story by Drew Kann. Graphics by Renée Rigdon, CNN
Updated 9:32 AM ET, Mon February 22, 2021
Source: CNN
Photos Source: CNN

(CNN)Wildfires and hurricane-force winds produce stunning videos and headlines, but flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States.And almost no place in the country is immune as 98% of all counties in the US have experienced at least one flooding event. In the last decade alone, floods have caused more than $155 billion worth of damage, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).As the climate changes, the risk of financial loss from flooding for millions of homeowners is increasing.

After the snow melts, the flooding will begin. Here's how to prepare
Source: CNN
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

After the snow melts, the flooding will begin. Here’s how to preparenew report finds that there is a growing gap between the financial threat homeowners face from flooding and the insurance rates some pay to cover that risk.Currently, there are nearly 4.3 million residential properties around the country with a substantial risk of financial loss due to flooding. The report defines “substantial risk” as carrying a 1% chance of flooding in any year.Some, but not all, of those homeowners have insurance through the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which provides more than 90% of the flood insurance policies in the US.close dialog

But the report finds that those homes face losses each year which dwarf the costs of their NFIP premiums. The average NFIP premium cost today for those properties is around $981, but their expected annual loses are $4,694 per property.If all of those property owners were to purchase flood insurance to protect against potential damage, premiums would need to increase by 4.5 times to cover the risk. The analysis was conducted by the First Street Foundation, a non-profit research and technology group that aims to shed light on the growing risk of flooding around the country due to climate change.The study only considered residential properties with between one and four units, but the authors say the actual financial risk from flooding around the country is likely far greater than the report captures.

Millions more US homes are at risk of flooding than previously known, new analysis shows
Source: CNN
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Millions more US homes are at risk of flooding than previously known, new analysis shows“Our numbers are large … but it’s not encompassing all properties that are inside the Special Flood Hazard Area, or many other residential properties like condos, apartment buildings and other larger buildings,” said Matthew Eby, founder and executive director of the First Street Foundation. “So if you take that and you extrapolate, there are actually a lot more buildings that have financial risk as well.”A separate report from the foundation last year estimated that there are a total of 14.6 million properties around the country with substantial flood risk. The owners of around 5.9 million of those properties may be unaware of their flood risk because they are located outside of FEMA’s Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA), and therefore aren’t required to buy flood insurance even if they hold a government-backed mortgage loan, the report found.Scientists are confident that climate change is fueling hurricanes capable of whipping up more dangerous storm surges, as well as increasing the odds of extreme rainfall events that can trigger inland flooding.Today, the 4.3 million homes with a 1% chance of flooding carry an expected annual loss of $20.8 billion due to flood damage, the foundation’s analysis found.However, within the life of a 30-year mortgage signed today, those losses are projected to balloon by 61% to nearly $32.2 billion per year by 2050 due to the effects of climate change.As massive storms like Hurricanes Katrina, Harvey and Sandy have hammered some of the country’s biggest coastal cities, the NFIP’s bottom line has already taken a beating. Today, the program is saddled with more than $20.5 billion in debt, according to a recent Congressional Review Service Report. That’s after Congress canceled $16 billion of the NFIP’s debt in 2017 to allow the program to pay claims to victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.”With climate change and more development and more properties at risk, it just keeps going further in the hole,” said Sandra Knight, a senior research engineer at the University of Maryland’s Center for Disaster Resilience and a former FEMA administrator. “That tells you you’re not collecting enough premiums, but the long-term game is to have zoning and building codes that minimize risk. You can’t just depend on insurance.”Experts and even FEMA officials have acknowledged for years that there are shortcomings with the NFIP as it is currently structured.Chief among those is the process of drawing FEMA’s flood maps, which provide the basis for setting insurance rates for many policies under the NFIP.FEMA still has not completed flood maps for huge swaths of the US, said Michael Grimm, the acting deputy associate administrator of the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administratio, while testifying before a House committee in February 2020And though FEMA maps are required by Congress to be reassessed every five years, Grimm says it takes seven years on average to complete a new flood map, meaning that some maps may technically be out of date by the time they’re finished.An emergency worker helps evacuate people stranded by flooding during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. A new report finds that the risk of financial loss for homeowners due to flooding is expected to grow as the climate changesAn emergency worker helps evacuate people stranded by flooding during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. A new report finds that the risk of financial loss for homeowners due to flooding is expected to grow as the climate changesInsurance rate setting under the NFIP has seen little change since the 1970s.The rates are set depending on which of three broad types of flood zones a property sits in: low to moderate risk, high risk or high risk coastal area. The type of property, the elevation of the building, the number of floors and whether it has a basement are also factored in.But experts say the use of these flood zones is an unsophisticated way to gauge risk that doesn’t take into account key considerations, like the topography of the land where a property sits. FEMA’s flood models only factor in the risk of storm surge and river flooding, not the threat posed by heavy rainfall.”It’s actually sort of a crude way to price flood risk because it doesn’t account for changing flood risk across a landscape,” said Carolyn Kousky, the executive director of the Wharton Risk Center at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the advisory board for the First Street Foundation.To address these problems, FEMA is expected to roll out a new system for setting flood insurance rates later this year called Risk Rating 2.0, which the agency says will utilize the latest technology to better capture the risk for each individual property.David Maurstad, the senior executive of the National Flood Insurance Program, said that the First Street Foundation’s findings should not be taken as a preview of the rate changes flood insurance policy holders can expect when Risk Rating 2.0 goes into effect.”Any attempt to compare an outside entity’s premium estimates or premium recommendations to the Risk Rating 2.0 initiative is premature,” Maurstad said in an emailed statement. “FEMA is constantly working to leverage new technologies and provide national-scale flood risk information more efficiently, accurately and consistently to the public.”Still, Kousky says that the new findings are an important indicator of just how much the cost of flood damage could grow around the country as the climate changes, which the cost of insurance in any single year does not capture.”It certainly has shown how much flood losses are going to start increasing as a result of climate change,” she said. “That should be a red flag for the NFIP and communities everywhere that the cost of this risk are going up. And that means to stay solvent, insurance costs have to go up as well.”

Biden has introduced an aggressive environmental plan including mitigating climate change, such as rejoining the Paris Agreement. How can such policies improve our environment? How can you mitigate climate change (click the button below)? How can flood insurance be reduced and how can you prepare for flooding in your area or other extreme weather conditions as a result of climate change?

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Environmental Impacts of Solar Power

PHOTO: PIOTR ZAJDA/SHUTTERSTOCK
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Source: Union of Concerned Scientist

The sun provides a tremendous resource for generating clean and sustainable electricity without toxic pollution or global warming emissions.

The potential environmental impacts associated with solar power—land use and habitat loss, water use, and the use of hazardous materials in manufacturing—can vary greatly depending on the technology, which includes two broad categories: photovoltaic (PV) solar cells or concentrating solar thermal plants (CSP).

The scale of the system—ranging from small, distributed rooftop PV arrays to large utility-scale PV and CSP projects—also plays a significant role in the level of environmental impact.

Land use

Depending on their location, larger utility-scale solar facilities can raise concerns about land degradation and habitat loss. Total land area requirements varies depending on the technology, the topography of the site, and the intensity of the solar resource. Estimates for utility-scale PV systems range from 3.5 to 10 acres per megawatt, while estimates for CSP facilities are between 4 and 16.5 acres per megawatt.

Unlike wind facilities, there is less opportunity for solar projects to share land with agricultural uses. However, land impacts from utility-scale solar systems can be minimized by siting them at lower-quality locations such as brownfields, abandoned mining land, or existing transportation and transmission corridors [12]. Smaller scale solar PV arrays, which can be built on homes or commercial buildings, also have minimal land use impact.

Water use

Solar PV cells do not use water for generating electricity. However, as in all manufacturing processes, some water is used to manufacture solar PV components.

Concentrating solar thermal plants (CSP), like all thermal electric plants, require water for cooling. Water use depends on the plant design, plant location, and the type of cooling system.

CSP plants that use wet-recirculating technology with cooling towers withdraw between 600 and 650 gallons of water per megawatt-hour of electricity produced. CSP plants with once-through cooling technology have higher levels of water withdrawal, but lower total water consumption (because water is not lost as steam). Dry-cooling technology can reduce water use at CSP plants by approximately 90 percent [3]. However, the tradeoffs to these water savings are higher costs and lower efficiencies. In addition, dry-cooling technology is significantly less effective at temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Many of the regions in the United States that have the highest potential for solar energy also tend to be those with the driest climates, so careful consideration of these water tradeoffs is essential. (For more information, see How it Works: Water for Power Plant Cooling.)

Hazardous materials

The PV cell manufacturing process includes a number of hazardous materials, most of which are used to clean and purify the semiconductor surface. These chemicals, similar to those used in the general semiconductor industry, include hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, nitric acid, hydrogen fluoride, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, and acetone. The amount and type of chemicals used depends on the type of cell, the amount of cleaning that is needed, and the size of silicon wafer [4].  Workers also face risks associated with inhaling silicon dust. Thus, PV manufactures must follow U.S. laws to ensure that workers are not harmed by exposure to these chemicals and that manufacturing waste products are disposed of properly.

Thin-film PV cells contain a number of more toxic materials than those used in traditional silicon photovoltaic cells, including gallium arsenide, copper-indium-gallium-diselenide, and cadmium-telluride[5]. If not handled and disposed of properly, these materials could pose serious environmental or public health threats. However, manufacturers have a strong financial incentive to ensure that these highly valuable and often rare materials are recycled rather than thrown away.

Life-cycle global warming emissions

While there are no global warming emissions associated with generating electricity from solar energy, there are emissions associated with other stages of the solar life-cycle, including manufacturing, materials transportation, installation, maintenance, and decommissioning and dismantlement. Most estimates of life-cycle emissions for photovoltaic systems are between 0.07 and 0.18 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour.

Most estimates for concentrating solar power range from 0.08 to 0.2 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour. In both cases, this is far less than the lifecycle emission rates for natural gas (0.6-2 lbs of CO2E/kWh) and coal (1.4-3.6 lbs of CO2E/kWh) [6]. 

References:

[1] Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Renewable Energy at Mining Sites

[2, 3, 4] National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). 2012. Renewable Electricity Futures Study. Hand, M.M.; Baldwin, S.; DeMeo, E.; Reilly, J.M.; Mai, T.; Arent, D.; Porro, G.; Meshek, M.; Sandor, D. eds. 4 vols. NREL/TP-6A20-52409. Golden, CO: National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

[5] National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Best Research-Cell Efficiencies.

[6] IPCC, 2011: IPCC Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation. Prepared by Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [O. Edenhofer, R. Pichs-Madruga, Y. Sokona, K. Seyboth, P. Matschoss, S. Kadner, T. Zwickel, P. Eickemeier, G. Hansen, S. Schlömer, C. von Stechow (eds)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, 1075 pp. (Chapter 7 & 9).

What are the commercial implications of the solar panel industry? Why? Why not?

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Spaceport America

Inside the risky venture of Spaceport America

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook
Source: The Verge
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Commercial Space Travel is here. What are the health implications? What will people eat in space if Elon Musk builds a city by 2050? What are your thoughts on space travel?

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US administers 1st doses of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine

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The FDA authorized Pfizer’s vaccine last week.

By Ivan Pereira, 14 December 2020, 09:43
Source: ABC News
Featured Photo Source: Unsplash, CDC

Why are people hesitant to trust a COVID-19 vaccine?

Vaccines are proven to reduce deaths and help end pandemics, but the historic speed that the coronavirus vaccines have been developed has made some people hesitant to take them.

A critical care nurse from Northwell Long Island Jewish Medical Center was vaccinated at 9:23 a.m. during a livestreamed event with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “You didn’t flinch,” Cuomo said.

PHOTO: Sandra Lindsay, left, a nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, is inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by Dr. Michelle Chester, Dec. 14, 2020, in New York.
Mark Lennihan/APMark Lennihan/APSandra Lindsay, left, a nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, is inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by Dr. Michelle Chester, Dec. 14, 2020, in New York.

The University of Louisville Hospital in Kentucky will receive its first delivery of the vaccine at 9:30 a.m. and at 10:30 a.m., three doctors and two nurses will receive the vaccine.

Other locations in Connecticut, New York, Iowa, Washington, D.C., and Michigan are also expected to administer vaccine doses on Monday.

The rollout comes less than a week after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the vaccine for emergency use for Americans over 16. The order from the FDA led to the pharmaceutical company shipping 2.9 million doses to 636 sites across the country.

Pfizer, which produced the vaccine alongside German company BioNTech, began shipping the doses from its Michigan warehouse Sunday directly to those sites, which were pre-selected by governors and local health officials.

Pfizer said it would roll out a second batch of 2.9 million doses shortly after the first batch. The U.S. government is opting to keep 500,000 doses in reserve to address any shipping or distribution mishaps.

The vaccine, which requires two doses for full inoculation, began distribution in the United Kingdom last week.

The vaccine is the first in the country to use the genetic technology mRNA instead of viral components. Pfizer claimed its trials showed the vaccine was 95% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19.

The FDA will hold a hearing on Dec. 17 with Moderna, which also developed an mRNA-based vaccine, before possibly giving emergency authorization for its deployment.

According to the World Health Organization, there are 52 COVID-19 vaccines in human trials, and 162 vaccines in preclinical development.

The vaccine developments come as the U.S. is in the midst of the deadliest period of the pandemic, according to health data. America leads the world with over 16 million cases and close to 300,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

The seven-day averages of new daily cases, 211,494, hospitalizations, 106,656, and deaths, 2,427, were at record highs on Dec. 13, according to health data from the COVID Tracking Project.

ABC News’ Arielle Mitropoulos, Sony Salzman and Eric Strauss contributed to this report.

This report was featured in the Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, episode of “Start Here,” ABC News’ daily news podcast.

How do you feel about the COVID 19 vaccine? Many people are asking others what they think of receiving the vaccine. How does the COVID 19 vaccine impact the pandemic?

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White House Blocks New Coronavirus Vaccine Guidelines

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Source: The New York Times
Featured Photo Source: Unsplash, Sharon Mccutcheon
The F.D.A. proposed stricter guidelines for emergency approval of a coronavirus vaccine, but the White House chief of staff objected to provisions that would push approval past Election Day.

Sharon LaFraniere
Noah Weiland

By Sharon LaFraniere and Noah Weiland

WASHINGTON — Top White House officials are blocking strict new federal guidelines for the emergency release of a coronavirus vaccine, objecting to a provision that would almost certainly guarantee that no vaccine could be authorized before the election on Nov. 3, according to people familiar with the approval process.

Facing a White House blockade, the Food and Drug Administration is seeking other avenues to ensure that vaccines meet the guidelines. That includes sharing the standards — perhaps as soon as this week — with an outside advisory committee of experts that is supposed to meet publicly before any vaccine is authorized for emergency use. The hope is that the committee will enforce the guidelines, regardless of the White House’s reaction.

The struggle over the guidelines is part of a monthslong tug of war between the White House and federal agencies on the front lines of the pandemic response. White House officials have repeatedly intervened to shape decisions and public announcements in ways that paint the administration’s response to the pandemic in a positive light.

That pattern has dismayed a growing number of career officials and political appointees involved in the administration’s fight against a virus that has claimed more than 209,000 lives in the United States.

The vaccine guidelines carry special significance: By refusing to allow the Food and Drug Administration to release them, the White House is undercutting the government’s effort to reassure the public that any vaccine will be safe and effective, health experts fear.

“The public must have full faith in the scientific process and the rigor of F.D.A.’s regulatory oversight if we are to end the pandemic,” the biotech industry’s trade association pleaded on Thursday, in a letter to President Trump’s health secretary, Alex M. Azar II, asking for release of the guidelines.

The Food and Drug Administration submitted the guidelines to the Office of Management and Budget for approval more than two weeks ago, but they stalled in the office of Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff. Their approval is now seen as highly unlikely.

A main sticking point has been the recommendation that volunteers who have participated in vaccine clinical trials be followed for a median of two months after the final dose before any authorization is granted, according to a senior administration official and others familiar with the situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Given where the clinical trials stand, that two-month follow-up period would all but preclude any emergency clearance before Election Day.

The conflict began almost as soon as the Food and Drug Administration submitted the guidelines to the White House budget office on Monday, Sept. 21. The next day, Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, the F.D.A. commissioner, briefed Mr. Azar on the matter.

That Wednesday, Mr. Meadows raised a series of concerns, a senior administration official said. He questioned the need for two months of follow-up data, said that stricter recommendations would change the rules in the middle of clinical trials and suggested that Dr. Hahn was overly influenced by his agency’s career scientists. The White House on Monday did not respond to a request for comment.

Speaking to reporters on Sept. 23, Mr. Trump publicly cast doubt on whether the guidance would be approved. “We may or may not approve it,” he said, suggesting that the regulatory action “was a political move more than anything else.”

F.D.A. officials later provided additional justification to the White House, explaining that the two-month follow-up was necessary to identify possible side effects and ensure that a vaccine’s protection against Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, was not short-lived. But they have been unable to break the stalemate.

The White House has the authority to intervene in such nonbinding guidance documents — a step below enforceable regulations — at least partly because of an October 2019 executive order that tightened restrictions over the issuance of such documents. That order asserted that “agencies have sometimes used this authority inappropriately in attempts to regulate the public.” White House officials have cited it to force the Food and Drug Administration and other agencies to submit pandemic-related guidelines to the White House budget office for review before public release.

Staff members at the budget office scrutinize the documents for statements that could undercut the president’s public message that the administration either has the pandemic under control or will soon, according to former and current federal officials.

The testing and release of a vaccine is an issue that has gained wide national attention. Mr. Trump has repeatedly misrepresented how quickly a vaccine might be available to most Americans, promising a major breakthrough in vaccine development as early as this month. No clinical trial in the United States has yet advanced far enough to prove that any vaccine is safe and effective, although Pfizer, one vaccine developer, is hoping for interim results soon from its trial.

The Food and Drug Administration’s new guidelines were intended to assure companies developing vaccines that they were being held to a common standard and to reassure the public. Polls suggest that Americans are increasingly wary about taking a coronavirus vaccine: A survey published last month by the Pew Research Center found that 51 percent of Americans would either probably or definitely take one, down from 72 percent in May.

Dr. Peter Marks, the F.D.A.’s top regulator for vaccines, said last week in an event organized by Friends of Cancer Research that the government had to be transparent about the standards it was using to evaluate experimental vaccines in order to build public trust. He and other health officials have stressed that the companies developing vaccines are already fully aware of the agency’s expectations for products seeking authorization for emergency use.

Mr. Azar on Friday played down the conflict with the White House, telling a House panel that those concerned about its involvement in the guidelines were making “a mountain out of a molehill.”

“What the commissioner is proposing to put out is public emergency use authorization guidance on a vaccine that would be consistent with letters already sent to the manufacturers,” Mr. Azar said. “The F.D.A. has already told the manufacturers what they’re going to look for.”

Some vaccine makers, including Johnson & Johnson, have publicly indicated that they will follow the agency’s recommendations, regardless of the White House’s actions.

At a recent meeting with F.D.A. staff members, Dr. Marks said the agency “may hear more noise in the press” about trouble with the guidance but added that the “goal isn’t to get into fights,” according to people familiar with his comments. He said at the Friends of Cancer Research event that there was no reason “to get all excited” because “we are going to have a transparent advisory committee meeting for each and every emergency use authorization that comes through.”

Privately, Dr. Marks has told colleagues that an angry tweet from Mr. Trump attacking F.D.A. scientists over the guidelines could damage public confidence in a coronavirus vaccine.

The guidance laid out more specific criteria for clinical trial data and recommended that it be reviewed by the advisory committee of independent experts. It is expected to be included in the briefing papers for the committee’s next meeting, scheduled for Oct. 22.

Food and Drug Administration officials hope the committee will consider those standards before giving its blessing to any emergency use authorization for a vaccine. The most likely recipients of any vaccine that wins that authorization will be high-risk populations such as health care workers.

In addition to the two-month follow-up period, the guidelines stated that there should be at least five cases of severe infection in the placebo group as evidence that a vaccine is effective in preventing more than just mild to moderate illness. About 10 percent of Covid-19 cases are considered severe.

The guidelines also laid out the agency’s expectation that vaccine makers would continue to assess the long-term safety and efficacy of the drug, if granted emergency use authorization.

Katie Thomas contributed reporting from Chicago. Kitty Bennett contributed research.

How do you feel about a coronavirus vaccine? What do you think the guidelines will be? Will you take a coronavirus vaccine?

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