What We’re Reading: FDA Authorizes Pfizer Booster; House Advances Abortion Rights Bill; Gallup Poll Finds 18% Can’t Afford Medications

The FDA signs off on booster shots of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for older and at-risk adults; the House of Representatives voted to advance an abortion rights bill; a Gallup poll finds that 18 million US adults cannot afford at least 1 prescription for their household.

FDA Green Lights Pfizer Booster for COVID-19

The FDA signed off on the targeted use of booster doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in Americans 65 years and older, as well as younger adults with health conditions or jobs that put them at high risk for COVID-19, according to a report from AP News. The ruling represents a scaled back version of the plan that the Biden administration pushed for, which called for nearly all US adults to receive third doses of the vaccine to control the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant. Under the FDA authorization, Americans who have received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will be eligible for a third dose 6 months after receiving their second shot. US regulators will decide at a later time whether boosters for people who have received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines are necessary.

House Votes to Advance Abortion Rights Bill

The US House of Representatives voted to advance a bill that would protect the right to abortion and annul some restrictions that have been passed by Republican-controlled state governments. A report from Reuters said that the Women’s Health Protection Act is unlikely to succeed in the Senate, where Republican opponents can prevent the bill from reaching the 60-vote threshold to pass most legislation. Many Republicans argue that the bill would expand access to abortion beyond the intent of Roe v Wade, the Supreme Court case that established the right to abortion. The bill was sent to the House in response to the Texas abortion ban at 6 weeks of pregnancy, which is often before a person realizes that they are pregnant, that went into effect in early September.

Gallup Poll Finds 18 Million Americans Can’t Afford Medication

According to CBC News, a poll from Gallup and West Health has found that about 18 million US adults, or 7% of the population, were unable to pay for at least 1 prescription medication for their household. Additionally, 1 in 10 adults say they’ve skipped a pill in the past year as a means to save money. Low-income households face an even worse situation. Among households that with an annual income of less than $24,000, the proportion of people unable to pay for at least 1 prescription in the past 3 months jumps to 20%. The survey included 5000 adults and was conducted in June 2021. The results highlight how high health care costs and drug prices are affecting households across the country.