AZ’s Vax Issues; Teachers Doubt 3-Foot Guidance; Tourists Flout Mask Rules
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The AstraZeneca COVID vaccine’s efficacy is likely more in the range of 69-74%, not 79% as the company originally suggested, an NIH review panel said. (Washington Post)

Experts say that AstraZeneca’s U.S. misstep plus the blood clot scare in Europe could hurt the long-term credibility of its vaccine. (AP)

Why aren’t Johnson & Johnson’s vaccines reaching more people? (Politico)

But things may soon be easing for J&J now that one of its vaccine manufacturing plants has been cleared by regulators. (Reuters)

As of 8:00 a.m. ET Wednesday, the unofficial COVID-19 toll in the U.S. included 29,922,911 cases and 543,849 deaths, up 52,990 and 858, respectively, since this time a day ago.

The European Union is finalizing emergency rules giving it the power to slow exports of COVID-19 vaccines for 6 weeks. (New York Times)

National Guardsmen transporting coronavirus vaccines were stopped at gunpoint by a man claiming to be a detective; he told police he believed that a woman and child were being kidnapped. (NBC News)

Hong Kong suspended use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine following a report of defective lids on the bottles in one batch. (AP)

Professional athletes and team officials are trying to figure out exactly where in line the athletes should be for vaccinations. (USA Today)

Meanwhile, NBA’s Miami Heat will reserve a section of its arena during games exclusively for vaccinated fans starting April 1. (ESPN)

Speakers of languages other than English face multiple barriers trying to secure a COVID-19 vaccine. (Kaiser Health News)

Chicago officials cut off the vaccine supply to a clinic on the city’s North Side, claiming the clinic misallocated more than 6,000 doses meant to be given to Chicago Public Schools employees. (WGN9)

The American Federation of Teachers — the country’s second largest teachers’ union — says it’s not convinced by the CDC’s recommendation to drop the physical distancing requirements for preventing COVID-19 spread in classrooms from 6 feet to 3 feet. (The Hill)

Is it OK to return to the gym for group programs even as the pandemic continues? (New York Times)

Tourists are beginning to flock back to Hawaii, although many of them are not wearing masks as the Aloha State’s mandate requires. (AP)

In other news:

  • The FDA has approved Merck’s pembrolizumab (Keytruda) in combination with chemotherapy for certain patients with locally advanced or metastatic esophageal or gastroesophageal junction carcinoma, the company announced.
  • Boston Scientific reached a nearly $189 million settlement with 47 states plus the District of Columbia over allegedly deceptive marketing of its surgical mesh product. (Reuters)
  • Prince Harry has a new gig: he’ll be an executive at BetterUp, a Silicon Valley mental health and coaching firm. (Wall Street Journal)
  • This Cheyenne River Sioux police officer is trying to bring a culture of healing to those on the reservation who have suffered trauma. (USA Today)
  • The Biden administration announced that it is extending until August 15 the special enrollment period to sign up for plans on the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces.
  • Joyce Frieden oversees MedPage Today’s Washington coverage, including stories about Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court, healthcare trade associations, and federal agencies. She has 35 years of experience covering health policy. Follow

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