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What We’re Reading: Pfizer/BioNTech Seek Booster EUA; Harm Reduction Bill Vetoed; Life Expectancy Drops


The FDA is considering Pfizer/BioNTech’s request for its updated COVID-19 booster; California Governor Gavin Newsom rejects bill allowing supervised injection sites; a new report from the CDC shows 2019-2020 life expectancy fell in all states.

Pfizer/BioNTech Ask FDA for EUA

An updated booster that targets the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants of SARS-CoV-2 is under consideration by the FDA for use in patients 12 years and older, reports Stat News. Pfizer and BioNTech applied for emergency use authorization (EUA) of their newest booster, despite not including new clinical trial data—one is expected to start this month—with this most recent application. According to a statement from Pfizer, a conditional marketing authorization application has also been submitted to the European Medicines Agency for the booster, which contains mRNA encoding both the original SARS-CoV-2 and Omicron BA.4/BA.5 spike proteins.

Supervised Drug Injection Site Bill Rejected

Driven in large part by the ongoing opioid crisis and presented as a harm reduction measure, a bill has been rejected by California Governor Gavin Newsom that would have permitted injection drug use under supervised watch, reports The New York Times. The proposed pilot program included providing clean needles and connections to treatment services. Proponents say this program had potential to save taxpayer money and thousands of lives, while detractors claim illicit drug use would be encouraged and treatment discouraged.

2020 Saw Drop in Life Expectancy

According to a new report from the CDC on life expectancy in all states and Washington, DC, life expectancy dropped by 1.8 years to 77.0 years overall from 2019 to 2020. This is the last year for which complete data are available, according to ABC News, with principal reasons for the decline being COVID-19 and drug overdoses. Women had an overall life expectancy more than 5 years longer than that of men, at 79.9 vs 74.2 years, and among the states, Hawaii had the highest overall life expectancy at 80.7 years and Mississippi the lowest, at 71.9 years.

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