David Zalubowski / AP

Coronavirus Roundup: Injunction on Health Care Workers Vaccine Mandate Amended 

There's a lot to keep track of. Here’s today’s list of news updates and stories you may have missed.

On Wednesday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion that partially reinstated the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services vaccine mandate for certain health care workers. 

“Although the CMS Rule is still halted in the 14 states that brought the lawsuit in Louisiana, and in the 10 states that are part of the Missouri lawsuit, for everywhere else, the injunction is lifted,” associates at the law firm Foley & Lardner LLP wrote in The National Law Review. “Now that the vaccination mandate is back 'on' in 26 states, we are all awaiting guidance from CMS on when enforcement in the non-enjoined states will start back up—if at all.” Here are some of the other recent headlines you might have missed. 

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee is meeting on Thursday to discuss the possible limited use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because of the continued rare blood clot issue, The Washington Post reported. “The FDA, in an update to its fact sheet on the vaccine this week, said the highest reporting rate of clot issues — about one case per 100,000 doses administered — has been in women 30 to 49 years old,” said the report. 

Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s trip to Southeast Asia was cut short because a member of the traveling press corps tested positive for the COVID-19, The Associated Press reported. “Neither Blinken, any of his senior staff nor other members of the press corps have tested positive so far, according to [Ned] Price,” State Department spokesman, said the report. 

A defense contracting group applauded the Senate’s passage of the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act on Wednesday and praised many of the provisions included that will impact its members, but expressed disappointment that certain pandemic-related language was dropped. “The expedited nature of the legislation meant the Just In Case Act was left out of the final text,” said a press release. “Building on lessons learned during the COVID crisis, that act would have authorized the secretary of Defense to ensure the essential [defense industrial base] workforce [is ready] in the case of future national emergencies.” This is similar to the special reimbursement authority from the CARES Act. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a briefing on Wednesday, “At this point, there is no need for a variant-specific booster” for COVID-19 because “our booster vaccine regimens work against Omicron.” 

Fauci and other National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases scientists published a commentary in The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday calling for an international effort to develop universal coronavirus vaccines. They argued that “to counter future coronavirus outbreaks, the global scientific and medical research community should focus a major effort now on three goals: characterize the range of coronavirus genetic diversity in multiple animal species; better understand coronavirus disease pathogenesis in laboratory animal models and people; and apply this knowledge to the development of long-lasting, broadly protective coronavirus vaccines,” said a press release from NIAD. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s vaccine rule for private businesses will “get [the] standard three-judge review,” Bloomberg Law reported on Wednesday. “The three-judge panel will be drawn from the Sixth Circuit’s roster of 28 active- and senior-status judges, which includes 20 jurists nominated by GOP presidents,” said the report. 

House Republicans sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., earlier this week urging her to schedule a vote on the Congressional Review Act resolution to undo the OSHA rule. The Senate passed its version last week. 

Upcoming: White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and Deputy National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi will give a briefing at 3:15 p.m. 

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