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What We’re Reading: Biden’s New Vaccine Goal; US Stops Distribution of Antibody Treatment; Drop in Female HPV Cases


President Biden outlines new vaccine goal; the United States will stop distributing Eli Lilly's bamlanivimab; rates of human papillomavirus (HPV) decrease among females.

200 Million COVID-19 Vaccine Doses in 100 Days

In his first press conference since inauguration, President Joe Biden outlined a new goal for America’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout: to administer 200 million doses within his first 100 days in office. Reported by The New York Times, the United States is already on track to meet that goal. As of March 25, the CDC reported the country has administered 130 million shots, covering about 14% of the American population. As a part of this ongoing effort, California and Florida announced they would join other states soon in expanding eligibility for all adults. Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson have all promised enough doses to vaccinate the country’s roughly 260 million adults by the end of May.

US to Stop Distributing Bamlanivimab

The United States will no longer distribute Eli Lilly’s COVID-19 antibody treatment bamlanivimab for use on its own due to a sustained increase of COVID-19 variants in the country, CNN reports. The move comes after the FDA updated its guidance saying the therapy on its own may not work as well against variants, while the administration has asked companies to assess such therapies against emerging variants. However, bamlanivimab can still be used in combination with etesevimab, another monoclonal antibody treatment developed by Eli Lilly, and together the 2 seem to work against variants. In December, the US government spent $812.5 million to buy 650,000 additional doses of bamlanivimab.

HPV Infection Rates Fall in US Females

New CDC data show that since the introduction of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in 2006, rates of infections among females fell 88% in teens aged 14 to 19 by 2018, according to CIDRAP. In this time frame, rates among females aged 20 to 24 fell by 81%. HPV, the most common sexually transmitted infection, can lead to cervical, anogenital and oropharyngeal cancers and anogenital warts. Vaccines are recommended for both girls and boys. In addition, substantial decreases in infection rates among unvaccinated females suggest herd effects and may be related to a decrease in reported sexual behaviors among teens. However, a drop in HPV vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic threatens to reverse gains made in vaccination coverage, researchers noted.

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