What We're Reading: RWE Finds Pfizer, Moderna Vaccines Highly Effective; Signs of COVID-19 Surge; Lawsuit Threatens Free Preventive Care

AJMC Staff

The Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines were shown to be 90% effective in preventing infection in a real-world setting; Biden administration urges states to pause reopening plans amid signs of COVID-19 surge; a lawsuit seeks to end the requirement that preventive services be provided free of charge to Americans.

CDC Real World Study Finds Pfizer, Moderna Vaccines 90% Effective

According to a study published yesterday in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, mRNA COVID-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna were found to be 90% effective in preventing infection in a real-world setting. As reported by STAT, although the study did not specifically estimate effectiveness measures for each of the vaccines, results suggested that even the first dose of the vaccine was 80% effective at preventing infection after 2 weeks until the second dose was administered. Results come as COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy has been shown to be dropping nationwide, with the most positive change in the past month seen among Black Americans, whose polled rate of vaccination or intention to be vaccinated grew by 14 percentage points.

Biden Admin Urges Preventive Action Amid Signs of COVID-19 Surge

Yesterday, President Joe Biden and top health officials urged states to reinstate mask mandates and pause reopening plans amid surges of COVID-19 cases across the country. Reported by POLITICO, new cases of COVID-19 have grown by 11% over the past week, contributing to a 7-day average of about 60,000 cases, with rates of hospital admissions and currently hospitalized patients also growing by 4%. As the Biden administration pleads for patience, the president said that roughly 90% of all Americans will have access to vaccines within the next 3 weeks.

Lawsuit Seeks to Roll Back No-Charge Preventive Care for Millions

As the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues to be targeted with legal action by conservatives, a case by US District Judge Reed O’Connor would move to end the requirement that most Americans must receive preventive services such as mammograms free of charge, according to Kaiser Health News. Citing religious and free-market objections to the ACA requirement, the potential rollback could lead to more advanced and aggressive cases of breast cancer and other diseases. Notably, a 2017 Health Affairs study found that the ACA’s elimination of cost sharing for colorectal cancer screening led to a significant increase in the number of cases diagnosed at an early stage in Medicare beneficiaries.