Jun 26, 2019

CDC walks back pneumonia vaccine recommendation for seniors

A European box of Pfizer's pneumococcal vaccine. Photo: Fred Tanneau/AFP via Getty Images

In a narrow 8-6 vote today, a federal vaccine advisory panel shot down its 2014 recommendation that all adults 65 and older get a pneumococcal vaccine called Prevnar 13. Instead, the panel said seniors should get the vaccine based on conversations with their clinicians.

Why it matters: Seniors can still get the shot, but the vaccine won't be universally recommended — to the dismay of the vaccine makers. Pfizer sells Prevnar 13, and the drug company's stock shot down 2% once investors learned of the vote.

Details: Several members of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said this vote was one of the most difficult they've encountered.

  • The current evidence, presented during today's meeting, shows the vaccine only had marginal benefits for adults 65 and older.
  • However, Prevnar 13 is still universally recommended for children younger than 2.

What they're saying: Because more children are taking the vaccine and fewer are getting sick with pneumococcus, fewer older adults are getting exposed and sick, the experts said.

  • Supplying Prevnar 13 for adults "is not where the public health bang for the buck is," and "we're diluting the message that vaccinating the children is important," said Paul Hunter, a committee member and public health official in Milwaukee who voted against the 2014 recommendation.

1 money thing: Prevnar 13 is Pfizer's best-selling drug. U.S. sales exploded in 2015 after the CDC's recommendation, and although insurance will still cover the pricey vaccine, sales would drop if fewer adults feel like they need to get it.

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,014,673 — Total deaths: 52,973 — Total recoveries: 210,335Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 244,678 — Total deaths: 5,911 — Total recoveries: 9,058Map.
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  4. Jobs latest: Coronavirus unemployment numbers are like a natural disaster hitting every state.
  5. Public health latest: Anthony Fauci called for all states across the U.S. to issue stay-at-home orders. The FDA will allow blood donations from gay men after 3-month waiting period, citing "urgent need."
  6. Business latest: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said oil companies are eligible for aid from new lending programs the Federal Reserve is setting up, but not direct loans from his department.
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  9. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Mark Meadows considers new White House press secretary

Photos: Alyssa Farah, Defense Department; Stephanie Grisham, Alex Wong/Getty Images; Kayleigh McEnany, Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has privately discussed bringing on Pentagon spokesperson Alyssa Farah or Trump campaign spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany as a new White House press secretary, two sources familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: Meadows' start on Tuesday as Trump's new chief presents a chance to overhaul a press shop that's kept a low profile since President Trump ended the tradition of daily press secretary briefings.

CNN: Fauci advises all states issue stay-at-home orders

Dr. Anthony Fauci listens to President Trump speak during a briefing on April 1. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci recommended on Thursday that all states across the U.S. implement stay-at-home orders, at a CNN town hall.

Why it matters: The recommendation stands in contrast to President Trump's calls for "flexibility." Nearly 4o states have issued stay-at-home orders to promote social distancing as a way to combat the novel coronavirus — but the orders vary in strictness and duration.

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