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What We’re Reading: Blood Donation Guidance Updated; COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy Simplified; FDA Reviewing CBD Product Safety

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The FDA is relaxing some time-based deferrals for donating blood; new guidance aims to streamline the COVID-19 vaccination process; Congress has been called on to solidify cannabidiol (CBD) regulations.

FDA Eases Blood Donation Ban on Gay Men

After years of pressure from blood banks, the American Medical Association, and LGBTQ rights organizations, the FDA plans on easing restrictions on gay and bisexual men from donating blood, according to The Washington Post. This new guidance will base blood donation eligibility on gender-inclusive, individual risk-assessment questions rather than time-based deferrals, with the effect that gay men are no longer banned from donating blood for extensive periods of time; in 1985, the ban was a lifetime one, and this was shortened to 1 year in 2015 before being reduced again to 3 months at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 Vaccination Strategy Streamlined

Yesterday, a committee of FDA advisors voted unanimously for a simplified COVID-19 vaccination strategy, according to NPR. The new rule would treat COVID-19 vaccines as interchangeable, in that regardless of the manufacturer, all vaccines (first dose or booster) would have the same formulation and target the same viral strain or strains. An additional consideration proposed, but not voted on, would include an annual COVID-19 vaccination schedule, much like the flu vaccine.

FDA Calls on Congress to Help Regulate CBD

Yesterday, the FDA announced that it is calling on Congress to establish guidance on cannabidiol (CBD) products and other hemp products, such as delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol, according to STAT. This decision came after nearly 4 years, as the FDA struggled to find a solution that would allow CBD to be legally sold in capsules, gummy form, and other foods, while also being considered a prescription drug. With the use of CBD products raising various health concerns, especially with long-term use, a new regulation on CBD may benefit consumers by providing risk management measures, such as clear labels, prevention of contaminants, CBD content limits, and a minimum purchase age.

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