Here's the scoop on what's happening this week in Congress
NCSD Policy Staff
August 20, 2021
The House is currently out on recess until next week.
The COVID-19 Delta variant now accounts for 99 percent of all coronavirus cases in the U.S.
Booster Shots: On Wednesday, in response to the surging Delta COVID-19 variant, the administration announced that fully vaccinated Americans who have received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines will be able to get a third shot. The booster shot – which will be the same vaccine respectfully administered, will be administered eight months after an individual’s second dose and will be free in the approximately 80,000 vaccination centers beginning September 20 when showing their vaccine cards.
The booster shots were cleared by FDA officials last week for people with compromised immune systems – including for people age 65 and older and people in chronic-care facilities. FDA officials are currently determining whether a booster is needed for people who have received the J&J vaccination.
Nursing Home Staff: On Wednesday, the Biden Administration announced that all staff in nursing homes that receive federal funding will be required to be vaccinated or risk losing Medicaid and Medicare funding. While over 82 percent of nursing home residents are vaccinated, CMS reports that only 60 percent of 1,300 nursing home employees in hospitals funded by the federal government have received both doses of a COVID-19 vaccination.
Schools: The Biden Administration announced measures to prevent states from banning mask-wearing policies in schools. On Wednesday, the President directed the education secretary to “use all of his authority, and legal action, if appropriate” to prevent states – like Florida and certain others led by Republican governors – from banning universal masking mandates in schools.
Maternal Health Bills
In response to the over 30 maternal health-related bills introduced this Congress, the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) published a new maternal health bill tracker. Access it here