Coverage of COVID-19 tests and treatment bills halted for uninsured; Moderna low-dose vaccine in children under 6 years of age shows promise in early clinical trial findings; Pfizer recalls blood pressure medications due to potential carcinogen.
With Biden administration’s request for an additional $22.5 billion in ongoing COVID-19 response remains at an impasse in Congress, the Associated Press is reporting that the Uninsured Program, which provides COVID-19 care to approximately 28 million uninsured Americans, is being halted. Reimbursement claims for COVID-19 tests and treatment bills are no longer being taken as of midnight, Tuesday, March 22, with the program announcing it will stop accepting claims for vaccination-related costs after April 5. This comes as the CDC confirmed data yesterday indicating that the highly infectious COVID-19 Omicron BA.2 subvariant has been increasing in prevalence nationwide.
Moderna announced today it will seek emergency use authorization of its 2-dose COVID-19 vaccine in children under 6 years of age after early clinical trial results showed the low-dose shots produced high levels of antibodies against the virus—although it was less effective against the Omicron variant. In addition to expanding vaccine access to the last age group of the population who are not yet eligible to be vaccinated against COVID-19 Moderna will also seek approval for a larger-dose shot in older US children and teenagers, Associated Press reported. A mass rollout plan had been tentatively planned for Pfizer/BioNTech’s low-dose COVID-19 vaccine in children aged 6 months to 5 years last month, but the FDA announced it is seeking more data that is expected to become available in early April.
NPR is reporting that Pfizer issued a recall of its blood pressure medication Accuretic and 2 other versions of the drug, quinapril and hydrochlorothiazide tablets, due to increased levels of a potential cancer causing carcinogen in several tainted lots. Prescribed for patients with hypertension to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, the presence of nitrosamine, a compound commonly found in water and food, was shown to be elevated above the acceptable daily intake level. Pfizer said no adverse events have been reported related to the drugs and that the recall is voluntary, with long-term exposure indicated to increase the risk of cancer.