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A small town in Iowa is trying to figure out where their time capsule is buried, though they’re apparently fairly certain it’s under a layer of concrete.

Today in healthcare, the Food and Drug Administration has authorized updated booster shots, but how many people will be motivated to get them?

Welcome to night health care, where we follow the latest developments in policies and news concerning your health. For The Hill, we are Peter Sullivan and Joseph Choi. Subscribe here.

FDA clears updated vaccines ahead of fall campaign

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday authorized updated COVID-19 booster shots specifically targeting a subvariant of omicron.

  • The move comes ahead of a fall campaign to give Americans reminders, which is expected to launch in the coming days.
  • This milestone marks the first time vaccines have been updated since the first vaccines were phased out in late 2020, and updated vaccines are designed to catch up with developments in the virus.
  • The Pfizer and Moderna shots target the omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, as well as the original virus.

Next step tomorrow: The shots can start going into the guns once the final step in the process, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention committee, clears them, which is expected to happen Thursday.

The big question: How many people will actually want the new vaccines, given that uptake of existing booster vaccines has lagged?

  • Only about half of people who received the first two vaccines received the initial booster dose.

Seeking to keep up with the ever-evolving virus, the FDA did not wait for the long process of going through full clinical trials on this modified vaccine.

But he noted that he is very confident that the vaccines are safe and effective. The agency highlighted the millions of doses of the original vaccines that have been administered, as well as data from another version of the updated vaccine, as well as preliminary data on it.

Learn more here.

COVID is fueling a major drop in life expectancy in the United States

Life expectancy in the United States has fallen for the second consecutive year, fueled by COVID-19, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released on Wednesday.

The two-year decline has been steep, down 2.7 years between 2019 and 2021. Life expectancy was 76.1 years in 2021, down from 77 years in 2020 and 78.8 years in 2019.

It’s the biggest drop in decades: It’s the first two-year drop in life expectancy since 1961-63, the CDC said.

Life expectancy in the United States is now back to its 1996 level.

The most important factor: COVID-19 was about half of the change. Other factors included overdose deaths and heart disease.

“Overall, we have reversed 26 years of health progress in the United States, with average life expectancy now falling to levels not seen since 1996,” tweeted Tom Bollyky, director of the global health program. at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Racial disparities:

  • For Native Americans and Alaska Natives, in particular, the two-year decline was 6.6 years.
  • The decline was about four years for Hispanics and blacks, compared to 2.4 years for whites.

Learn more here.


A study published Wednesday found that expanded use of telehealth services during the coronavirus pandemic was associated with a reduced risk of opioid overdoses.

Researchers from several federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), looked at data from more than 170,000 Medicare beneficiaries.

The study divided the observed beneficiaries into two groups – one who initiated care for opioid use disorder (OUD) before the pandemic and the other who initiated care after the start of the pandemic. the epidemic.

The results:

  • Researchers found that recipients in the COVID-19 pandemic group were more likely to receive OUD-related telehealth care and were also more likely to receive corresponding medications.
  • Those who received OUD-related telehealth care were more likely to retain medical treatments for their conditions and had a lower risk of experiencing a medically treated overdose.

Despite these benefits, the study noted that there were some irregularities in who received telehealth care. Recipients who were black or lived in the South were less likely to receive telehealth services.

Learn more here.


A United Nations committee on Tuesday called on the United States to take action to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in sexual and reproductive health care following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.

The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination said in a statement that the Supreme Court’s June decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which struck down federal abortion protections, will have a disproportionate impact on racial and ethnic minorities.

  • The panel expressed concern that these groups have higher maternal mortality rates, higher risk of unintended pregnancies, and lack the means to overcome socio-economic barriers to accessing safe abortions.
  • The committee said the ruling could have a particularly big impact on low-income people.

Concerns have also been raised about excessive use of force by law enforcement officials against racial and ethnic minorities in the United States and “continued impunity for abuses” by US police and officials. customs and border protection. He said the United States should review federal and state use-of-force legislation to ensure it complies with international standards and law.

Learn more here.

California bill requires big tech to consider children’s mental health

The California legislature has passed a law that will require social media companies to consider the physical and mental health of minors who use their platforms.

Senate Bill AB 2273 passed the state Senate chamber in a 75-0 vote on Tuesday. The proposed legislation is headed to the office of California Governor Gavin Newsom (D), although it is unclear whether Newsom will sign the legislation, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The effects of the bill:

  • The California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act, which was first introduced by State Representatives Buffy Wicks (D), Jordan Cunningham (R), and Cottie Petrie-Norris (D), “will require a business provides a service, product or feature that may be accessible to children to comply with specified requirements.
  • These requirements include configuring any default privacy settings offered by the social media platform, unless the platform can demonstrate a reason why its setting is child-friendly and provide information about the information terms and conditions, policies and community standards, all using plain language appropriate to the age of children who may access their platform.
  • The proposed bill will also prohibit social media platforms from using child user information for purposes other than its intended purpose and will ban platforms that use information about children that could harm their health.

Industry Rejection: “We support the intent of this bill and protecting children online remains a priority. But it must be done responsibly and efficiently. While this bill has improved, we remain concerned about its unintended consequences in California and across the country,” said Dylan Hoffman, TechNet Business Group Executive Director for California and the Southwest, in a statement to The Hill.

Learn more here.


  • What happened to the new patent-free COVID vaccine touted as a global game changer? (NPR)
  • WHO: New COVID cases, deaths continue to drop almost everywhere (AP)
  • Pain, Fear, Stigma: What Monkeypox Survivors Want You to Know (The New York Times)


  • Illinois reports first West Nile virus death this year (Chicago Tribune)
  • Electoral board deadlocked on abortion rights ballot proposal, court battle expected (The Detroit News)
  • Lujan Grisham pledges $10 million for a reproductive health clinic in Doña Ana County (Santa Fe New Mexican)


That’s all for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s healthcare page for the latest news and coverage. Until tomorrow.