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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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On Wednesday, May 19, Axios co-founder Mike Allen and health care reporter Caitlin Owens unpacked the unprecedented COVID-19 vaccine development process as well as the road ahead, featuring NIAID Director Anthony Fauci and Pfizer chairman & CEO Albert Bourla.

Anthony Fauci discussed the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and equity, covering everything from the CDC advisory on masks, to airline policies, to the importance of vaccinations across age groups.

  • On when people can expect to fly without a mask: "I hope that we get enough people vaccinated that at least on domestic flights, it would be a matter of months. The issue globally is a different story because we can do a very good job of getting the overwhelming majority of our population vaccinated in the United States. Yet you can have a raging infection in other parts of the world."
  • On media coverage of COVID-19: "I think in general, the mainstream media has served our audiences really quite well. I believe it's done a pretty accurate accounting of the facts. We have some fringe media that get involved in conspiracy theories and denials and false alternative facts and denials of reality that's sitting right in front of you. So I think that you don't have to divide the media into the standard classical media and then some of the fringe media."

Albert Bourla unpacked the vaccine manufacturing process, his view on patents, and when the public should expect to need a vaccine booster shot.

  • On the need for a COVID-19 booster shot: “The data that I see coming, they are supporting the notion that likely there will be a need for a booster somewhere between 8 and 12 months.”
  • On making a vaccine that can be stored in higher temperatures: "We are right now working on a new version of this vaccine that will be a ready-to-use vaccine, so you don't need to reconstitute it, you don't need to dilute it...This vaccine can be stored up to six months in normal refrigeration."

Axios co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei hosted a View from the Top Segment with PhRMA president and CEO Stephen J. Ubl discussed the feat of testing and approving the COVID-19 vaccine on such an accelerated timeline.

  • "It took over two years during the SARS epidemic to get the first candidate vaccine into human trials. So it really is a remarkable feat for the industry to have developed essentially a new class of medicine and vaccines and therapeutics and to do it inside a calendar year."

Thank you PhRMA for sponsoring this conversation.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Mix-and-matching gains momentum — Boosters overtake first doses in U.S. — Pfizer to vaccinate Brazilian cityPanel endorses J&J booster.
  2. Health: Age is still a huge coronavirus risk factor — Unvaccinated 11x more likely to die from COVID — 5x more police officers died from COVID than guns.
  3. Politics: Over 30 states limited public health powers — Pope Francis calls on companies to release vaccine patents — Melbourne, "world's most locked-down city," to lift stay-at-home orders.
  4. Education: Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Aug 27, 2021 - Health

U.S. opens COVID-19 vaccination site for arriving Afghans

Refugees board buses that will take them to a processing center after they arrive at Dulles International Airport after being evacuated from Kabul. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The U.S. has set up a coronavirus vaccination site for Afghans arriving at the Dulles International Airport in Virginia, a White House official told Axios.

State of play: Upon arrival, all Afghan evacuees are first tested for the virus and vaccines are then offered to those who test negative. The Federal Emergency Management Agency set up the vaccination site at the Dulles Expo center, and the vaccines are being administered by the Department of Health and Human Services, the White House official said.

Aug 27, 2021 - Health

Liberty University announces temporary COVID-19 "mitigation period"

Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images

Liberty University announced a campus-wide temporary "mitigation period" on Thursday due to a recent surge in COVID-19 cases at the school.

Why it matters: The move illustrates the challenges ahead for universities returning to full, in-person classes without vaccine mandates or other virus-related precautions in place.