Updated Covid Boosters Ready Within ‘Weeks,’ Says White House

Covid coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said the updated shots, which target the BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants as well as the original virus, will be available to everyone eligible over age 12. Separately, Novavax is now seeking Food and Drug Administration approval for its booster .

NBC News: New Covid Boosters Expected Soon For Everyone Over Age 12

White House Covid coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said on Wednesday that the newly updated Covid boosters will be available to teens and adults “in a few short weeks.” “I believe it’s going to be available and every American over the age of 12 will be eligible for it,” Jha told NBC News’ Lester Holt. (Lovelace Jr., 8/17)

More on covid vaccines and treatments —

ABC News: Novavax Seeks FDA Approval For COVID Booster

“It’s important for people to have a choice as they evaluate how to stay protected against COVID-19, and boosters are an invaluable tool to build upon immunity obtained from previous vaccinations,” Stanley C. Erck, President and Chief Executive Officer of Novavax, said in a statement on Monday. (Mitropoulos, 8/17)

The Wall Street Journal: Moderna Names New CFO After Hasty Departure Of Predecessor

Moderna Inc. named a new finance chief roughly three months after the Covid-19 vaccine maker’s previous hire for the role departed abruptly due to an internal investigation under way at a prior employer. The Cambridge, Mass.-based biotechnology company on Wednesday said James Mock will start as its chief financial officer, effective Sept. 6, and David Meline, who has been filling in as CFO, will retire on the same day. (Williams Alvarez, 8/17)

San Francisco Chronicle: Ivermectin Among Drugs That Failed To Help COVID-19 Patients, Large Study Finds

Three generic drugs failed to prevent severe COVID-19 outcomes, according to a study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. They include the antimalarial ivermectin; fluvoxamine, which is used to treat depression; and metformin, which is used in diabetes patients. (Beamish and Vaziri, 8/17)

More on the spread of covid —

CIDRAP: Study: 56% Of Omicron-Infected Adults Didn’t Know They Were Contagious

An observational study of 210 adults in California with detectable SARS-CoV-2 antibodies during an Omicron variant wave shows that 56% didn’t know they had been infected, fueling concerns about asymptomatic transmission, according to a report today in JAMA Network Open. Researchers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center led the study of adult employees and patients of the hospital in Los Angeles County who had at least two SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests 1 month or more apart. (Van Beusekom, 8/17)

Los Angeles Times: California Officials Warn Of Misleading COVID Test Results

The risk of inaccurate results seems to be higher among symptomatic people infected with the latest dominant Omicron subvariant, BA.5, compared with earlier versions. This, experts say, further illustrates the importance of follow-up testing. “If your first home antigen test is negative, we recommend repeating it in 24 to 48 hours,” Dr. Ralph Gonzales, a UC San Francisco associate dean, said during a recent campus town hall. (Lin II and Money, 8/17)

Houston Chronicle: Free COVID-19 Testing In Houston Available At 2 Dozen Pharmacies

More than two dozen Houston pharmacies are now offering free COVID-19 testing as part of a nationwide program to improve access in underserved communities. The pharmacies are offering the free testing through the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Increasing Community Access to Testing (ICATT) program, which has provided more than 41 million tests since April 2021. (MacDonald, 8/17)

Las Vegas Review-Journal: Nevada Only State In US With All Counties At ‘Low’ COVID Levels

COVID-19 in Clark County and the entire state has plummeted to low levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as hospitalizations and reported new cases declined for the sixth straight week. Last week, Clark County’s levels were designated as medium, and the week before that as high. When levels are high, the CDC recommends that everyone wear a mask in public indoor spaces. (Hynes, 8/17)

In related news —

CIDRAP: Universal Healthcare Coverage Tied To COVID-19 Childhood Vaccine Uptake

Countries with more progress toward universal healthcare coverage (UHC) saw smaller decreases in childhood vaccination amid the health service delivery disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, suggests preliminary research published yesterday in PLOS Medicine. Using a difference-in-difference design, New York University researchers quantified the relationship between UHC and childhood vaccination rates among 195 countries and their ability to provide 12 of 14 vaccines from 2010 to 2020. (8/17)

Modern Healthcare: COVID-19 Pandemic Dents Medical Tourism Revenue

Tens of thousands of patients travel to the US every year for medical care, often paying for expensive procedures out of their own pockets. Revenue from international patients seeking heart transplants, oncology treatment and other services grew more than 4% a year from 2015 to 2019, according to the US International Trade Commission. In 2019 alone, the US health system generated more than $1.2 billion from medical tourism. (Kacik, 8/17)

NBC News: For Some Students, Back To School Will Mean Better-Ventilated Classrooms

When students at the Gallipolis City School District in southeast Ohio return from summer break, they’ll be sitting in classrooms with air cleaned and freshened by almost $4 million in refurbishments. The district retrofitted once-inefficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems at five of its schools, adding new equipment with higher rated filters, automation and ultraviolet irradiation. (Bush, Gosk and Martin, 8/17)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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