President Joe Biden requires federal workers to get vaccinated for COVID-19 or face strict safety protocols; Pfizer files federal lawsuit over reimbursing drugs through Medicare; and the CDC revises its testing guidance for fully vaccinated individuals.
President Joe Biden is requiring all civilian federal workers to either receive a vaccine for COVID-19 or obey strict testing, social distancing, restricted travel, and mask requirements, according to Reuters. The president will likely not mandate vaccines for federal employees and those who choose not to get vaccinated will not be at risk of being fired. The United States has approximately 2.18 million civilian employees and 570,000 Postal Service workers. However, it is not yet clear whether the president plans for the requirements to apply to postal service employees or contractors who work with the federal government. The news comes after the state of New York and the Department of Veterans Affairs announced similar vaccination requirements for state and health employees, respectively.
Three years after paying $24 million in settlement payments for allegedly inflating drugs sales by reimbursing Medicare out-of-pocket costs, Pfizer is suing the federal government to legalize the practice. According to Fortune, by making costly medicines cheap or free to patients, the company encouraged patients to use Pfizer drugs covered by Medicare and Medicaid. The suit is a response to the government’s crackdown on a dozen drug companies accused of similar practices. If Pfizer wins, taxpayers may be forced to pay billions of dollars and other pharmaceutical companies will have more freedom to create their own reimbursement practices, analysts said.
Just days after revising its masking guidance, the CDC reversed its testing guidance for fully vaccinated people who are asymptomatic, according to The New York Times. The agency now advises vaccinated individuals to be tested 3 to 4 days after they come into contact with someone who has COVID-19, regardless of whether they are experiencing symptoms. Previous recommendations stated that vaccinated people only needed to be tested if they have symptoms after coming into contact with a COVID-19-infected person. Fully vaccinated people should also wear a mask in public indoor spaces after being exposed to the virus. If test results come back negative, they can stop wearing masks indoors. However, if the test is positive for COVID-19, infected persons should isolate at home for 10 days.