The CDC weighs in on updated COVID-19 vaccines, the FDA says phenylephrine is ineffective, and heath care workers in California get a pay raise.
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices met Tuesday to discuss the new updated COVID-19 vaccines, NPR reported. The committee, which develops recommendations on how to use vaccines, weighed safety and efficacy data to determine timing and eligibility. The panel, made up of medical and public health experts, voted 13-1 to recommend the vaccines for people ages 6 months and older. The panel agreed that the greatest benefit would be for the oldest and youngest people. The updated vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna were approved Monday by the FDA and target variants of the virus that are currently circulating across the United States. The vaccines may be ready to be administered by Wednesday.
"We have more tools than ever to prevent the worst outcomes from COVID-19," CDC Director Mandy Cohen said in a release. "CDC is now recommending updated COVID-19 vaccination for everyone 6 months and older to better protect you and your loved ones."
The FDA’s Nonprescription Drugs Advisory Committee met Tuesday and voted unanimously to declare that oral phenylephrine is ineffective as a decongestant, NBC News reported. The drug is common in many over-the-counter medicines, including Sudafed PE, Vicks Nyquil, and Benadryl Allergy Plus Congestion. It is the most common oral decongestant in the country, but data from the FDA has shown that very little of the drug actually reaches the nose through blood vessels when taken by mouth. The FDA will now consider whether to revoke the drug’s OTC designation, which means it may be removed from store shelves.
"This drug and this oral dose should have been removed from the market a long time ago," Jennifer Schwartzott, a patient representative from New York, said at the meeting. "The patient community requires and deserves medications that treat their symptoms safely and effectively and I don’t believe that this medication does."
Labor and industry groups in California reached a deal that will raise the pay of health care workers to $25-an-hour by 2025, the Wall Street Journal reported. The raise will impact nearly 500,000 workers in the state and represents an average pay increase of 31%. The deal comes amidst a health care worker shortage in the state due to a high cost of living and lingering burnout from the COVID-19 pandemic.