What We're Reading: COVID-19 Vaccine Results Promising; Hawaii Extends No-Visitors Policy; Reinstating Medicaid Work Requirements

July 15, 2020

Early trial results on a possible coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine seem promising; out-of-state visitors cannot enter Hawaii until September because of COVID-19; could Arkansas soon see Medicaid work requirements again?

Moderna May Have an Effective Vaccine Candidate for COVID-19

Phase 1/2 trial results of mRNA-1273 from Moderna Inc are an encouraging development in the race to produce a vaccine that is effective against coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), reports Reuters. Doses of 25, 100, and 250 mcg were tested among 3 groups of 15 volunteers, each of whom received 2 shots 28 days apart, producing immune responses in all. Adverse effects that included injection-site pain and chills were mild to moderate and more likely to occur at the highest dose. Moderna has received close to $500 million from the government to develop the vaccine, which is the first to enter large-scale human trials. A phase 3 trial with 30,000 participants could start by July 27, with results possible by year-end, says The Wall Street Journal.

Hawaii Lengthens Visitor Quarantine Policy to September

Much like the mainland United States, Hawaii is seeing a rise in cases of COVID-19, says USA Today, although to a lesser degree, with its highest single-day record of 42 new cases occurring this past Saturday. Governor David Ige’s original plan had the state’s quarantine requirements lasting until August 1, but his office has extended the rules to September 1, requiring visitors to quarantine for 2 weeks upon arrival or present negative COVID-19 test results by 72 hours after they boarded their incoming flight. Returning college students, however, are exempt from the 2-week quarantine. California announced similar plans over the weekend, with Governor Gavin Newsom reversing course and shutting down many of the state’s reopening plans.

Supreme Court Weighing Medicaid Work Requirements for Arkansas

Hoping to reverse an earlier decision from the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, the Trump administration and the Department of Justice want Medicaid work requirements reinstated in Arkansas, according to The Hill. Their argument focuses on preserving Medicaid funds for children, those who are pregnant, disabled citizens, and very-low-income residents. Despite previous research showing the requirements are not effective in encouraging work, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is also hoping the mandates make a return in the only state they were in effect, before being blocked in March 2019.