Pfizer predicts that a fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine may be needed to quell the Omicron variant; CMS officials share figures on enrollment for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA); City of Hope announces acquisition of Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
Executives at Pfizer, the maker of the first FDA-approved vaccine against COVID-19, said that the presence of the new Omicron variant could increase the likelihood that people will need a fourth dose of a vaccine earlier than expected, according to a report from The Washington Post. Previously the company’s CEO, Albert Bourla, projected that a fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine may be needed 12 months after a person receives their third dose, but the spread of Omicron may require the timeline to be pushed up. As of December 9, over 40 people in the United States have tested positive for the new variant, all of whom have shown mild symptoms, and the variant is present in 57 countries.
CMS and HHS announced that almost 4.6 million people signed up for health care coverage during the open enrollment period on HealthCare.gov, the website used to register for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and state-based marketplaces. Additionally, the assistance from the American Rescue Plan continued to drive down health care costs, with 95% of consumers receiving premium tax credits to lower monthly premium costs, and the number of consumers receiving coverage for $10 or less per month after tax credits nearly doubling compared with 2020. Plan selections in the 33 HealthCare.gov states are up 5% since 2020 and nearly 2.8 million people newly gained access to affordable health care coverage during the 2021 Special Enrollment Period, officials said.
City of Hope, a comprehensive cancer research and treatment organization, announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Cancer Treatment Centers of America, a network of oncology hospitals and outpatient care centers. The acquisition expands and accelerates City of Hope’s ability to rapidly translate research and science into cancer care and expands the organization’s portfolio, reach, and impact of cancer services and capabilities, including research and development, into more communities nationwide. Combined, the organizations will include approximately 11,000 team members, including 575 physicians across California, Arizona, Illinois, and Georgia.