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COVID-19: No-Cost, At-Home Tests to End, CDC Fall Vaccination Plan

The Biden administration announced that, starting Sept. 2, Americans no longer will be able to order no-cost, at-home COVID-19 tests through the United States Postal Service, citing a lack of additional congressional funding to replenish the nation’s stockpile of tests.

No-cost, at-home tests became available Jan. 18. In May, the administration stated that approximately 350 million tests had been delivered to 70 million households.

FDA Authorizes Novavax COVID-19 Vaccine For Teens

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Aug. 22 that the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine can be offered to adolescents ages 12 through 17, widening the primary series vaccine options for teens. The recommendation comes after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized emergency use of the vaccine, which is offered as a two-dose primary series given three weeks apart.

CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) on July 19 recommended the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine for people ages 18 and older.

ACIP Prepares for Bivalent Vaccine Authorizations

CDC released Aug. 16 a fall vaccination operational planning guide, providing Americans with an updated timeline in anticipation of bivalent COVID-19 boosters.

FDA previously recommended that vaccine developers include an omicron BA.4 and BA.5 component for COVID-19 vaccine booster doses beginning in the fall as subvariants continue to spread.

ACIP will meet Sept. 1–2 to discuss potential use recommendations upon the expected FDA authorizations for new bivalent COVID-19 boosters developed by Pfizer and Moderna.

Pfizer applied Aug. 22 for FDA emergency use authorization (EUA) of an omicron BA.4/BA.5–adapted bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine for individuals ages 12 and older, while Moderna applied Aug. 23 for EUA of its own bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine for individuals 18 years of age and older.

FDA Warns of Paxlovid Drug Interactions

FDA on Aug. 26 updated its Patient Eligibility Screening Checklist to provide greater guidance to those prescribing patients Paxlovid therapy to treat COVID-19, warning health care providers to review each patient’s full list of medications and use other resources to evaluate potential drug interactions.

The agency noted that the guide was intended only as an aid to support clinical decision making for prescribers, and completion of the checklist is not required to prescribe Paxlovid under the EUA. Furthermore, FDA urged prescribers to consider medications taken by patients that are not currently included on the fact sheet or checklist.

Visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the pandemic.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Andrea Lugo is a communications associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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