There’s a lot to keep track of. Here’s a list of this week’s news updates and stories you may have missed.
The White House released on Thursday its operational plan to vaccinate kids under five if and when the vaccines are authorized by the Food and Drug Administration and recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So far, the Biden administration has procured 10 million doses between the Moderna and Pfizer/Moderna versions that will be ready initially with millions to come in the following weeks.
“As with prior vaccination efforts, the administration will leverage existing federal programs and capabilities to ensure that we are reaching parents and families with the information they need,” said the plan. “And, as always, the administration will remain laser-focused on equity and making sure that we reach those hardest-hit and most at-risk communities.”
Dr. Ashish Jha, White House COVID-19 response coordinator, said on Thursday that the administration has enough funds to get all children vaccinated who want to be, but “we do not have enough resources to have enough vaccines for every American for the next generation of vaccines.” The Biden administration has had to make a “series of very painful decisions” to reallocate current funds for more pressing needs, such as the next generation of vaccines. Here are some of the other recent headlines you might have missed.
The CDC’s advisory committee will meet on June 17 and 18 to discuss the pediatric vaccines, as outlined in a notice published in the Federal Register.
The FDA’s advisory committee voted on Tuesday to support Novavax’s vaccine. However, the FDA has to review changes the company made to its manufacturing process before it can authorize the vaccine, CNBC reported on Thursday. Novavax told the FDA about the changes on June 3, which was four days before the advisory committee met, according to the report.
The Biden administration is expected to announce on Friday that the CDC is lifting the requirement for travelers to test negative before entering the United States, CNN reported.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced on Monday that he tested positive for COVID-19 and has mild symptoms. He said he’ll work remotely until he is cleared. Last week the Labor and Interior department secretaries also disclosed they tested positive.
The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee released a report on Wednesday with more lessons it has learned in its two years of oversight of COVID-19 funds. They are that rental assistance and healthcare funds should be allocated based on need; there should be more outreach to boost awareness of new programs (such as for internet access and funeral assistance); the Labor Department inspector general needs more access to data on unemployment insurance benefits programs; collaboration is essential to oversight; and there needs to be a better reporting system to follow pandemic spending. The report also identified what agencies have been doing about the issues and lessons it flagged, such as “[the Office of Management and Budget] is currently exploring better ways to track and report sub-recipient spending.”
Top officials involved in COVID-19 oversight (such as the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee chair) will testify before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis on Tuesday. COVID oversight has been a wide-ranging task conducted by the three entities created by the CARES Act, the Justice Department, the Government Accountability Office, inspectors general, the Secret Service and others.
The House passed two bipartisan bills on Wednesday that would extend the statute of limitations for fraud cases involving small business COVID relief programs to 10 years. The 10-year statute of limitations would make all Paycheck Protection Program and COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan fraud cases consistent with the time period for bank fraud.
A New Jersey business owner admitted he defrauded over 75 victims of more than $2.7 million in a scheme to sell pesticides listed falsely as Environmental Protection Agency-approved to kill the coronavirus, the Justice Department announced on Thursday. “Today’s announcement represents the largest pandemic fraud case related to the sale of unregistered pesticides charged nationwide,” said Special Agent in Charge Tyler Amon of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division in New Jersey. “This case underscores EPA’s commitment with our law enforcement partners to hold violators accountable when they undercut the level playing field used by law abiding companies to ensure the integrity and safety of their products.”
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is notifying states that they now have an extra year, until March 31, 2025, to use American Rescue Plan funds to increase and improve home- and community-based services for people with Medicaid, the Health and Human Services Department recently announced. “The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the risks of institutional and congregate settings for older Americans and people with disabilities, underscoring the urgent need to expand access to high-quality [home-and community-based services] to improve outcomes for people who need long-term services and support,” said the announcement.
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This article was published first on GovExec, a FederalSoup partner site ("Coronavirus Roundup: The Federal Government Plans for Young Kids’ Vaccines Amid Funding Crunch.")