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AACN's Washington Weekly

Published December 16, 2020

COVID-19 Vaccine Approved and Distribution Commences

On Monday, December 14, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine arrived in 145 facilities across the country, setting off the first wave of shipments of more than 2.9 million doses expected this week. In fact, one of the first to receive this vaccine was a nurse in New York. These distribution efforts come as the FDA authorized emergency use and notified the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Operation Warp Speed of its approval. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is a two-dose vaccine for those 16 and older and is 95% effective for preventing COVID-19 with both doses. See the FDA factsheet for recipients and caregivers for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine here

FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, MD, recognized this milestone and emphasized the open review process that, "... included input from independent scientific and public health experts and a thorough evaluation by the agency’s career scientists to ensure this vaccine met FDA’s rigorous, scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support emergency use authorization. The tireless work to develop a new vaccine to prevent this novel, serious, and life-threatening disease in an expedited timeframe after its emergence is a true testament to scientific innovation and public-private collaboration worldwide.” 

The FDA is now reviewing Moderna's vaccine for emergency use as well, which could increase distribution efforts. Additional vaccines in process include AstraZeneca, which is expected to be less expensive than the other leading vaccines, and Johnson & Johnson, which is said to require only one-dose and is currently finishing phase three trials. AACN will continue to monitor this process. 

AACN Attends the 2020 Stephen E. Straus Distinguished Lecture on Social Determinants of Health

On December 9, AACN attended the National Institutes of Health’s 2020 Stephen E. Straus Distinguished Lecture, “All Health Is Not Created Equal: Where You Live Matters.” Dr. Shannon Zenk, Director of the National Institute of Nursing Research, delivered the lecture providing expert perspective given her background as a nurse and a population health scientist. This session outlined how socioeconomic factors, such as where one lives, can determine their health and susceptibility to diseases and other health conditions, such as obesity, diabetes, and COVID-19. Social inequities in food environment, geographic location, and community infrastructure all play a role in continued health disparities across the country. Micro and macro interventions, such as increased availability, selection of, and price reduction of fruits and vegetables in food deserts and other communities can be effective tools to reduce health disparities.

Continued Negotiation in Congress on COVID-19 Relief and Omnibus Spending Packages

Congressional leadership continues work to reach agreement on COVID-19 aid and Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 spending packages. This comes as a bipartisan group of lawmakers released two COVID-19 bills earlier in the week, and as Congress passed a one-week stopgap funding measure for FY 2021 appropriations, which is set to expire this Friday, December 18.

Take action by urging your Representative and Senators to include our shared COVID-19 and FY 2021 priorities in these year-end efforts. Click here to send your Members of Congress a message today! AACN will continue to monitor these negotiations on both an omnibus spending package and additional COVID-19 aid. To stay up-to-date, please visit AACN’s Policy and Advocacy webpage and be sure to follow @AACNPolicy on Twitter.

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