What We’re Reading: Regulators Find Moderna Vaccine Safe, Effective; 340 Drug Pricing Dispute; Food Insecurity Crisis Worsens

FDA regulators find Moderna's experimental coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine safe and effective; 27 states and the District of Columbia are asking HHS to step in regarding drug companies restricting access to 340B pharmaceuticals; pandemic worsens food insecurity in America.

FDA Regulators Endorse Moderna Vaccine as Deaths Pass 300,000

One day after the first coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines were administered in the United States, FDA regulators announced Moderna’s experimental vaccine is safe and 95% effective, BBC News reports. The move clears the way for the vaccine to receive emergency use authorization (EUA), following the same approval process as the Pfizer and BioNTech immunization. Notably, the Moderna vaccine can be stored in –4° F (equal to most home or medical freezer temperatures) for up to 6 months and remains stable at 36° to 46°F, the temperature of a standard home or medical refrigerator, for 30 days. Over 300,000 Americans have now died from COVID-19, while over 100,000 patients are currently hospitalized with the virus, according to Reuters.

States, Hospital Groups Upset With 340B Drug Pricing

Twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia are asking HHS to step in regarding drug companies restricting access to pharmaceuticals in the 340B Drug Pricing Program, Fierce Healthcare reported. On Friday, hospital groups and the Community Oncology Alliance sued HHS in an effort to force the department to enforce the requirements of the program.

Pandemic Exacerbates Food Insecurity

In 2019, more than 35 million Americans experienced food insecurity, but that number could rise to nearly 50 million this year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, NPR reports. Compounding the issue, multiple federal aid programs are set to run out soon, meaning many pantries may see their supplies dry up. According to Feeding America, since the pandemic’s onset an average of 60% more individuals have sought help from the organization’s network of 200 food banks. In some counties throughout the country 1 in 2 children face hunger, while former food bank volunteers and donors are now seeking charitable assistance.