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AACN's Washington Weekly

Published February 24, 2021

CDC Holds National Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine

From February 22–24, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is hosting a national forum on the COVID-19 Vaccine. This virtual event aims to unite representatives from many organizations and fields to come together and have a conversation on COVID-19 vaccination efforts. Speakers include members from the federal government, public health systems, community organizations, and many other organizations who work to promote effective strategies to build increased trust and interest in the COVID-19 vaccination process. AACN is proud to be in attendance for this forum as academic nursing continues its community engagement in this arena. To learn more, click here.

Administration Purchases Additional COVID-19 Vaccine Doses; Congress Holds Hearings on Vaccine Distribution

On February 11, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Defense purchased an additional 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to help meet national demand. Altogether, the U.S. government has purchased 600 million vaccine doses from Pfizer and Moderna. On February 24, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that Johnson & Johnson has met the requirements for emergency authorization. An independent group is meeting on Friday to determine final authorization. These ongoing efforts come as the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations met with top executives from Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, and Novavax to discuss meeting the national demand for vaccines and how they are working to expand vaccine access. To watch the hearing, click here.

House Committee Advanced Stimulus Package Setting-up Vote by Full Chamber

On February 22, the U.S. House Committee on the Budget advanced the $1.92 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package, titled American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, by a vote of 19-16. This bill now advances to the House Rules Committee before consideration on the House Floor. Key provisions to note include:

  • $200 million for Nurse Corps: Supporting scholarships and loan repayment for nurses and nursing students serving in underserved areas;
  • $80 million Mental and Behavioral Health Training: Awards grants to health professions schools, academic health centers, and others to reduce and address mental and behavioral health issues, such as substance use disorders, suicide, and burnout;
  • $7.66 billion for the Public Health Workforce: Including funding for public health nurses;
  • $14 billion for vaccines: Continuing the efforts as additional vaccines are purchased and distributed; and
  • $46 billion for testing, tracking, and tracing efforts, as well as monies for addressing health disparities and protecting underserved patients and communities.

The House is currently expecting votes later this week and possibly into the weekend. The hope is to have a final bill to the President’s desk by mid-March before current unemployment benefits expire. As we continue to advocate for these important issues, please send your Members of Congress a message urging them to include the FAAN Act in the COVID-19 relief package.

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