Category Archives: Health Care

Biden Launches Aggressive Plan, Including Vaccine Mandates, More Testing, Treatments to Combat COVID-19

President Joe Biden, declaring that America has lost patience with the 25 percent of Americans – 80 million – who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in face of a surging Delta variant, put away the carrot and took out the stick, issuing new executive orders that will mandate vaccinations for all federal workers and workers for federal contractors, personnel in hospitals and medical facilities that take Medicare or Medicaid, and requiring corporations with over 100 workers to mandate vaccinations or weekly testing – orders that will cover about two-thirds of all American workers. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

President Joe Biden, declaring that America has lost patience with the 25 percent of Americans – 80 million – who refuse to get vaccinated against COVID-19 in face of a surging Delta variant, put away the carrot and took out the stick, issuing new executive orders that will mandate vaccinations for all federal workers and workers for federal contractors, personnel in hospitals and medical facilities that take Medicare or Medicaid, and requiring corporations with over 100 workers to mandate vaccinations or weekly testing – orders that will cover about two-thirds of all American workers.

“What makes it incredibly more frustrating is that we have the tools to combat COVID-19, and a distinct minority of Americans –supported by a distinct minority of elected officials — are keeping us from turning the corner.  These pandemic politics, as I refer to, are making people sick, causing unvaccinated people to die.

“We cannot allow these actions to stand in the way of protecting the large majority of Americans who have done their part and want to get back to life as normal…

“My plan also increases testing, protects our economy, and will make our kids safer in schools.  It consists of six broad areas of action and many specific measures in each that — and each of those actions that you can read more about at WhiteHouse.gov.”

Key to the plan is the mandate vaccinations in various instances

“This is not about freedom or personal choice.  It’s about protecting yourself and those around you — the people you work with, the people you care about, the people you love.
 
“My job as President is to protect all Americans.” 

To the unvaccinated, the President said, “We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin.  And your refusal has cost all of us.  So, please, do the right thing.  But just don’t take it from me; listen to the voices of unvaccinated Americans who are lying in hospital beds, taking their final breaths, saying, “If only I had gotten vaccinated.”  “If only.”

Here’s a highlighted transcript of his speech on September 9, 2021:

THE PRESIDENT:  Good evening, my fellow Americans.  I want to talk to you about where we are in the battle against COVID-19, the progress we’ve made, and the work we have left to do.
 
And it starts with understanding this: Even as the Delta variant COVID-19 has been hitting this country hard, we have the tools to combat the virus, if we can come together as a country and use those tools.
 
If we raise our vaccination rate, protect ourselves and others with masking and expanded testing, and identify people who are infected, we can and we will turn the tide on COVID-19.
 
It will take a lot of hard work, and it’s going to take some time.  Many of us are frustrated with the nearly 80 million Americans who are still not vaccinated, even though the vaccine is safe, effective, and free.
 
You might be confused about what is true and what is false about COVID-19.  So before I outline the new steps to fight COVID-19 that I’m going to be announcing tonight, let me give you some clear information about where we stand.
 
First, we have made considerable progress in battling COVID-19.  When I became President, about 2 million Americans were fully vaccinated.  Today, over 175 million Americans have that protection
 
Before I took office, we hadn’t ordered enough vaccine for every American.  Just weeks in office, we did.  The week before I took office, on January 20th of this year, over 25,000 Americans died that week from COVID-19.  Last week, that grim weekly toll was down 70 percent.
 
And in the three months before I took office, our economy was faltering, creating just 50,000 jobs a month.  We’re now averaging 700,000 new jobs a month in the past three months.
 
This progress is real.  But while America is in much better shape than it was seven months ago when I took office, I need to tell you a second fact.
 
We’re in a tough stretch, and it could last for a while.
  The highly contagious Delta variant that I began to warn America about back in July spread in late summer like it did in other countries before us.
 
While the vaccines provide strong protections for the vaccinated, we read about, we hear about, and we see the stories of hospitalized people, people on their death beds, among the unvaccinated over these past few weeks. 
 
This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated.  And it’s caused by the fact that despite America having an unprecedented and successful vaccination program, despite the fact that for almost five months free vaccines have been available in 80,000 different locations, we still have nearly 80 million Americans who have failed to get the shot. 
 
And to make matters worse, there are elected officials actively working to undermine the fight against COVID-19.  Instead of encouraging people to get vaccinated and mask up, they’re ordering mobile morgues for the unvaccinated dying from COVID in their communities.  This is totally unacceptable.
 
Third, if you wonder how all this adds up, here’s the math:  The vast majority of Americans are doing the right thing.  Nearly three quarters of the eligible have gotten at least one shot, but one quarter has not gotten any.  That’s nearly 80 million Americans not vaccinated.  And in a country as large as ours, that’s 25 percent minority.  That 25 percent can cause a lot of damage — and they are.
 
The unvaccinated overcrowd our hospitals, are overrunning the emergency rooms and intensive care units, leaving no room for someone with a heart attack, or [pancreatitis], or cancer.
 
And fourth, I want to emphasize that the vaccines provide very strong protection from severe illness from COVID-19.  I know there’s a lot of confusion and misinformation.  But the world’s leading scientists confirm that if you are fully vaccinated, your risk of severe illness from COVID-19 is very low. 
 
In fact, based on available data from the summer, only one of out of every 160,000 fully vaccinated Americans was hospitalized for COVID per day.
 
These are the facts. 
 
So here’s where we stand: The path ahead, even with the Delta variant, is not nearly as bad as last winter.  But what makes it incredibly more frustrating is that we have the tools to combat COVID-19, and a distinct minority of Americans –supported by a distinct minority of elected officials — are keeping us from turning the corner.  These pandemic politics, as I refer to, are making people sick, causing unvaccinated people to die. 
 
We cannot allow these actions to stand in the way of protecting the large majority of Americans who have done their part and want to get back to life as normal. 
 
As your President, I’m announcing tonight a new plan to require more Americans to be vaccinated, to combat those blocking public health. 
 
My plan also increases testing, protects our economy, and will make our kids safer in schools.  It consists of six broad areas of action and many specific measures in each that — and each of those actions that you can read more about at WhiteHouse.gov.  WhiteHouse.gov.
 
The measures — these are going to take time to have full impact.  But if we implement them, I believe and the scientists indicate, that in the months ahead we can reduce the number of unvaccinated Americans, decrease hospitalizations and deaths, and allow our children to go to school safely and keep our economy strong by keeping businesses open.
 
First, we must increase vaccinations among the unvaccinated with new vaccination requirements.  Of the nearly 80 million eligible Americans who have not gotten vaccinated, many said they were waiting for approval from the Food and Drug Administration — the FDA.  Well, last month, the FDA granted that approval.
 
So, the time for waiting is over.  This summer, we made progress through the combination of vaccine requirements and incentives, as well as the FDA approval.  Four million more people got their first shot in August than they did in July. 
 
But we need to do more.  This is not about freedom or personal choice.  It’s about protecting yourself and those around you — the people you work with, the people you care about, the people you love.
 
My job as President is to protect all Americans. 
 
So, tonight, I’m announcing that the Department of Labor is developing an emergency rule to require all employers with 100 or more employees, that together employ over 80 million workers, to ensure their workforces are fully vaccinated or show a negative test at least once a week.
 
Some of the biggest companies are already requiring this: United Airlines, Disney, Tysons Food, and even Fox News.
 
The bottom line: We’re going to protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated co-workers.  We’re going to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by increasing the share of the workforce that is vaccinated in businesses all across America.
 
My plan will extend the vaccination requirements that I previously issued in the healthcare field.  Already, I’ve announced, we’ll be requiring vaccinations that all nursing home workers who treat patients on Medicare and Medicaid, because I have that federal authority.
 
Tonight, I’m using that same authority to expand that to cover those who work in hospitals, home healthcare facilities, or other medical facilities –- a total of 17 million healthcare workers.
 
If you’re seeking care at a health facility, you should be able to know that the people treating you are vaccinated.  Simple.  Straightforward.  Period.
 
Next, I will sign an executive order that will now require all executive branch federal employees to be vaccinated — all.  And I’ve signed another executive order that will require federal contractors to do the same.
 
If you want to work with the federal government and do business with us, get vaccinated.  If you want to do business with the federal government, vaccinate your workforce. 
 
And tonight, I’m removing one of the last remaining obstacles that make it difficult for you to get vaccinated.
 
The Department of Labor will require employers with 100 or more workers to give those workers paid time off to get vaccinated.  No one should lose pay in order to get vaccinated or take a loved one to get vaccinated.
 
Today, in total, the vaccine requirements in my plan will affect about 100 million Americans –- two thirds of all workers. 
 
And for other sectors, I issue this appeal: To those of you running large entertainment venues — from sports arenas to concert venues to movie theaters — please require folks to get vaccinated or show a negative test as a condition of entry.
 
And to the nation’s family physicians, pediatricians, GPs — general practitioners –- you’re the most trusted medical voice to your patients.  You may be the one person who can get someone to change their mind about being vaccinated. 
 
Tonight, I’m asking each of you to reach out to your unvaccinated patients over the next two weeks and make a personal appeal to them to get the shot.  America needs your personal involvement in this critical effort.
 
And my message to unvaccinated Americans is this: What more is there to wait for?  What more do you need to see?  We’ve made vaccinations free, safe, and convenient.
 
The vaccine has FDA approval.  Over 200 million Americans have gotten at least one shot. 
 
We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin.  And your refusal has cost all of us.  So, please, do the right thing.  But just don’t take it from me; listen to the voices of unvaccinated Americans who are lying in hospital beds, taking their final breaths, saying, “If only I had gotten vaccinated.”  “If only.”
 
It’s a tragedy.  Please don’t let it become yours.
 
The second piece of my plan is continuing to protect the vaccinated.
 
For the vast majority of you who have gotten vaccinated, I understand your anger at those who haven’t gotten vaccinated.  I understand the anxiety about getting a “breakthrough” case.
 
But as the science makes clear, if you’re fully vaccinated, you’re highly protected from severe illness, even if you get COVID-19.  
 
In fact, recent data indicates there is only one confirmed positive case per 5,000 fully vaccinated Americans per day.
 
You’re as safe as possible, and we’re doing everything we can to keep it that way — keep it that way, keep you safe.
 
That’s where boosters come in — the shots that give you even more protection than after your second shot.
 
Now, I know there’s been some confusion about boosters.  So, let me be clear: Last month, our top government doctors announced an initial plan for booster shots for vaccinated Americans.  They believe that a booster is likely to provide the highest level of protection yet.
 
Of course, the decision of which booster shots to give, when to start them, and who will give them, will be left completely to the scientists at the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control.
 
But while we wait, we’ve done our part.  We’ve bought enough boosters — enough booster shots — and the distribution system is ready to administer them.
 
As soon as they are authorized, those eligible will be able to get a booster right away in tens of thousands of sites across the country for most Americans, at your nearby drug store, and for free
 
The third piece of my plan is keeping — and maybe the most important — is keeping our children safe and our schools open.  For any parent, it doesn’t matter how low the risk of any illness or accident is when it comes to your child or grandchild.  Trust me, I know. 
 
So, let me speak to you directly.  Let me speak to you directly to help ease some of your worries.
 
It comes down to two separate categories: children ages 12 and older who are eligible for a vaccine now, and children ages 11 and under who are not are yet eligible.
 
The safest thing for your child 12 and older is to get them vaccinated.  They get vaccinated for a lot of things.  That’s it.  Get them vaccinated.
 
As with adults, almost all the serious COVID-19 cases we’re seeing among adolescents are in unvaccinated 12- to 17-year-olds — an age group that lags behind in vaccination rates.
 
So, parents, please get your teenager vaccinated.
 
What about children under the age of 12 who can’t get vaccinated yet?  Well, the best way for a parent to protect their child under the age of 12 starts at home.  Every parent, every teen sibling, every caregiver around them should be vaccinated.  
 
Children have four times higher chance of getting hospitalized if they live in a state with low vaccination rates rather than the states with high vaccination rates. 
 
Now, if you’re a parent of a young child, you’re wondering when will the vaccine be available for them.  I strongly support an independent scientific review for vaccine uses for children under 12.  We can’t take shortcuts with that scientific work. 
 
But I’ve made it clear I will do everything within my power to support the FDA with any resource it needs to continue to do this as safely and as quickly as possible, and our nation’s top doctors are committed to keeping the public at large updated on the process so parents can plan.
 
Now to the schools.  We know that if schools follow the science and implement the safety measures — like testing, masking, adequate ventilation systems that we provided the money for, social distancing, and vaccinations — then children can be safe from COVID-19 in schools.
 
Today, about 90 percent of school staff and teachers are vaccinated.  We should get that to 100 percent.  My administration has already required teachers at the schools run by the Defense Department — because I have the authority as President in the federal system — the Defense Department and the Interior Department — to get vaccinated.  That’s authority I possess. 
 
Tonight, I’m announcing that we’ll require all of nearly 300,000 educators in the federal paid program, Head Start program, must be vaccinated as well to protect your youngest –– our youngest — most precious Americans and give parents the comfort.
 
And tonight, I’m calling on all governors to require vaccination for all teachers and staff.  Some already have done so, but we need more to step up. 
 
Vaccination requirements in schools are nothing new.  They work.  They’re overwhelmingly supported by educators and their unions.  And to all school officials trying to do the right thing by our children: I’ll always be on your side. 
 
Let me be blunt.  My plan also takes on elected officials and states that are undermining you and these lifesaving actions.  Right now, local school officials are trying to keep children safe in a pandemic while their governor picks a fight with them and even threatens their salaries or their jobs.  Talk about bullying in schools.  If they’ll not help — if these governors won’t help us beat the pandemic, I’ll use my power as President to get them out of the way. 
 
The Department of Education has already begun to take legal action against states undermining protection that local school officials have ordered.  Any teacher or school official whose pay is withheld for doing the right thing, we will have that pay restored by the federal government 100 percent.  I promise you I will have your back. 
 
The fourth piece of my plan is increasing testing and masking.  From the start, America has failed to do enough COVID-19 testing.  In order to better detect and control the Delta variant, I’m taking steps tonight to make testing more available, more affordable, and more convenient.  I’ll use the Defense Production Act to increase production of rapid tests, including those that you can use at home. 
 
While that production is ramping up, my administration has worked with top retailers, like Walmart, Amazon, and Kroger’s, and tonight we’re announcing that, no later than next week, each of these outlets will start to sell at-home rapid test kits at cost for the next three months.  This is an immediate price reduction for at-home test kits for up to 35 percent reduction.
 
We’ll also expand free testing at 10,000 pharmacies around the country.  And we’ll commit — we’re committing $2 billion to purchase nearly 300 million rapid tests for distribution to community health centers, food banks, schools, so that every American, no matter their income, can access free and convenient tests.  This is important to everyone, particularly for a parent or a child — with a child not old enough to be vaccinated.  You’ll be able to test them at home and test those around them.
 
In addition to testing, we know masking helps stop the spread of COVID-19.  That’s why when I came into office, I required masks for all federal buildings and on federal lands, on airlines, and other modes of transportation.  
 
Today — tonight, I’m announcing that the Transportation Safety Administration — the TSA — will double the fines on travelers that refuse to mask.  If you break the rules, be prepared to pay. 
 
And, by the way, show some respect.  The anger you see on television toward flight attendants and others doing their job is wrong; it’s ugly. 
 
The fifth piece of my plan is protecting our economic recovery.  Because of our vaccination program and the American Rescue Plan, which we passed early in my administration, we’ve had record job creation for a new administration, economic growth unmatched in 40 years.  We cannot let unvaccinated do this progress — undo it, turn it back. 
 
So tonight, I’m announcing additional steps to strengthen our economic recovery.  We’ll be expanding COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan programs.  That’s a program that’s going to allow small businesses to borrow up to $2 million from the current $500,000 to keep going if COVID-19 impacts on their sales. 
 
These low-interest, long-term loans require no repayment for two years and be can used to hire and retain workers, purchase inventory, or even pay down higher cost debt racked up since the pandemic began.  I’ll also be taking additional steps to help small businesses stay afloat during the pandemic. 
 
Sixth, we’re going to continue to improve the care of those who do get COVID-19.  In early July, I announced the deployment of surge response teams.  These are teams comprised of experts from the Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC, the Defense Department, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency — FEMA — to areas in the country that need help to stem the spread of COVID-19. 
 
Since then, the federal government has deployed nearly 1,000 staff, including doctors, nurses, paramedics, into 18 states.  Today, I’m announcing that the Defense Department will double the number of military health teams that they’ll deploy to help their fellow Americans in hospitals around the country. 
 
Additionally, we’re increasing the availability of new medicines recommended by real doctors, not conspiracy theorists.  The monoclonal antibody treatments have been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalization by up to 70 percent for unvaccinated people at risk of developing sefe- — severe disease. 
 
We’ve already distributed 1.4 million courses of these treatments to save lives and reduce the strain on hospitals.  Tonight, I’m announcing we will increase the average pace of shipment across the country of free monoclonal antibody treatments by another 50 percent.
 
Before I close, let me say this: Communities of color are disproportionately impacted by this virus.  And as we continue to battle COVID-19, we will ensure that equity continues to be at the center of our response.  We’ll ensure that everyone is reached.  My first responsibility as President is to protect the American people and make sure we have enough vaccine for every American, including enough boosters for every American who’s approved to get one. 
 
We also know this virus transcends borders.  That’s why, even as we execute this plan at home, we need to continue fighting the virus overseas, continue to be the arsenal of vaccines. 
 
We’re proud to have donated nearly 140 million vaccines over 90 countries, more than all other countries combined, including Europe, China, and Russia combined.  That’s American leadership on a global stage, and that’s just the beginning.
 
We’ve also now started to ship another 500 million COVID vaccines — Pfizer vaccines — purchased to donate to 100 lower-income countries in need of vaccines.  And I’ll be announcing additional steps to help the rest of the world later this month.
 
As I recently released the key parts of my pandemic preparedness plan so that America isn’t caught flat-footed when a new pandemic comes again — and it will — next month, I’m also going to release the plan in greater detail.
 
So let me close with this: We have made so much progress during the past seven months of this pandemic.  The recent increases in vaccinations in August already are having an impact in some states where case counts are dropping in recent days.  Even so, we remain at a critical moment, a critical time.  We have the tools.  Now we just have to finish the job with truth, with science, with confidence, and together as one nation.
 
Look, we’re the United States of America.  There’s nothing — not a single thing — we’re unable to do if we do it together.  So let’s stay together.
 
God bless you all and all those who continue to serve on the frontlines of this pandemic.  And may God protect our troops.
 
Get vaccinated.

Biden Administration Details Plans for Ongoing Pandemic Preparedness

A medical volunteer administers the COVID-19 vaccine at a mass vaccination site in Nassau County, Long Island, New York. The Biden Administration has developed plans and strategy to end the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for inevitable future pandemics © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

In a White House press call, September 3, 2021, Biden Administration officials laid out plans and strategy for pandemic preparedness to counter the COVID-19 pandemic still impacting the nation and the world, and to prepare for inevitable future pandemics.

The administration is seeking$65.3 billion over 7 to 10 years to institute the full set of capabilities needed to transform our ability to be prepared for any family of virus.  

“President Biden is committed to combatting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and Building Back Better for the next biological threat.  As part of this responsibility, the United States must lean forward and catalyze the advances in science, technology, and core capabilities required to protect the Nation against future and potentially catastrophic biological threats, whether naturally-occurring, accidental, or deliberate. “

Here are the remarks, and a fact sheet detailing the Biden Administration’s plan:

Office of Science and Technology Policy Director Dr. Eric Lander stated:

     The COVID-19 pandemic arrived at a time when science and technology capabilities were changing very rapidly.  Recent scientific advances made it possible to respond much more rapidly than ever before.  Had COVID-19 emerged five years ago, we would have had far fewer tools to do this.

     But, five years from now, we need to have much better capabilities.  We need to have better capabilities because, well, even with the knowledge and the tools that dramatically improved our ability to respond, COVID-19 has still been devastating for the nation and the world.

     As of today, COVID-19 has killed at least 642,000 Americans and many, many millions of people around the world, and many recovered patients are living with long-term effects of the disease.
 
It’s also caused economic damage to the United States that’s been estimated in the range of $16 trillion in lost economic output, direct spending, mortality, and morbidity.  And the societal impact has been borne disproportionately by frontline and vulnerable populations, especially people of color.

     We need better capabilities also because there is a reasonable likelihood that another serious pandemic that could be worse than COVID-19 will occur soon, possibly even within the next decade.  And the next pandemic will very likely be substantially different than COVID-19.  So, we must be prepared to deal with any type of viral threat.

     Now, because of ongoing progress in science and technology and innovation, we can have better capabilities for medicine, for situational awareness, for public health, and for lots more.  For the first time in the nation’s history, we have the opportunity, due to these kinds of advances in science and technology, not just to refill stockpiles, but transform our capabilities.  But we really need to start preparing now.

    We’ve got to seize the unique opportunity to transform our scientific capabilities so we’re prepared for the increasing frequency of biological threats on the horizon.  Investing to avert or mitigate the huge toll of future pandemics or other biological threats is both an economic and moral imperative.

     So, five years from now, we need to be in a far stronger position to stop infectious diseases before they become global pandemics like COVID-19.

     Now, there’s a lot we can do to transform our scientific capabilities for vaccine, therapeutic, diagnostic development; for early warning; for public health systems.
 
Importantly, these kinds of advances will not only strengthen our systems for dealing with future biological threats, they will be valuable for everyday public health and medical care for all Americans and for the world.  This will help everyday public health for everyone.

     Now, all these efforts, I’ve got to say, must, from the very outset, include a strong emphasis on reducing inequities and increasing access for all Americans to the resulting advances, because as we’ve seen from this pandemic, having the burden largely borne by vulnerable populations is unacceptable.

     The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed fundamental issues with America’s public heath that go far beyond pandemic preparedness.

     The issues include the need to increase overall public health funding, strengthen the public health workforce, eliminate barriers to access, improve data systems, address disparities, improve communications, and improve coordination across federal, state, local, and Tribal authorities. 

     The plan that’s being released today addresses needs directly related to pandemic preparedness, but I just want to emphasize there are broader public health issues that’ll need to be addressed separately and in a coordinated fashion.

     So, today, the White House is releasing a document entitled “American Pandemic Preparedness: Transforming our Capabilities,” and the document describes goals under five pillars to protect the U.S. against biological threats.

     Pillar number one is: transforming our medical defenses, including improving vaccine, therapeutics, and diagnostics.

     Pillar number two: ensuring situational awareness about infectious disease threats, for both early warning and real-time monitoring.

     Pillar three: strengthening public health systems, both in the U.S. and internationally, to be able to respond to emergencies, with a particular focus on protecting the most vulnerable communities.

     Pillar four: building core capabilities, including personal protective equipment, stockpiles and supply chains, biosafety and biosecurity, and regulatory improvement.

     And pillar five: managing the mission, with the seriousness of purpose, commitment, and accountability of an Apollo Program.

     So, while the government — the U.S. government has made and must continue to make investments in basic science research, this plan includes the full set of capabilities needed to transform our ability to be prepared for any family of virus.  The cost is $65.3 billion over 7 to 10 years.  

     And it’s vital that we start with an initial outlay of $15- to $20 billion to jumpstart these efforts.  And, accordingly, we’re proposing that the current budget reconciliation provides at least $15 billion towards this goal.

     The administration will work through other appropriations to support the remainder of that $65.3 billion budget, above baseline, needed to execute the plan in full.

     And over the coming months, the White House will be developing the President’s budget, which will provide resources to ensure that the United States is prepared for the next pandemic.

     So, let me just say, these critical investments will build on and complement the broader U.S. government biomedical and health research portfolio. 

     We strongly believe that this mission is so important that it needs to be managed with the seriousness of purpose, commitment, and accountability of, well, President Kennedy’s Apollo Program, overseen by a dedicated program office.

     So we’re proposing there be a centralized “Mission Control” acting as a single, unified program management unit that draws on expertise from multiple agencies at HHS, including NIH, CDC, BARDA, FDA, and CMS, as well as other agencies and departments such as DOD, DOE, VA.  You know, for example, the Countermeasures Acceleration Group — formerly “Operation Warp Speed” — is led by a single joint program management unit.

     And Mission Control should have the responsibility and the authority to develop and update plans with objective and transparent milestones; regularly assess and publicly report on mission progress; shift funding to ensure that goals are achieved; coordinate linkages across performers in government — academia, philanthropy, and industry; and conduct periodic exercises to evaluate our actual national pandemic preparedness by deploying these capabilities, including through testing rapid product development.  And it should seek input of outside experts and have working groups that allow it to get the best possible advice.

     So, like any ambitious endeavor — whether it’s going to the Moon with the Apollo mission or cracking the human DNA with the Human Genome Project — an effort like this will take serious, sustained commitment and accountability.

     And like those kinds of efforts, it is likely to yield benefits far beyond the initial mission — in this case, advances in human health and providing tools that can help overcome health inequities and ensure equitable access to innovative products for all Americans. 

     So, we at the Office of Science and Technology have been working hard on the plan in very close partnership with the National Security Council, and particularly the National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan. 

NSC Director for Global Health Security and Biodefense Dr. Beth Cameron on American Pandemic Preparedness stated:

The President has been committed from day one to pandemic readiness, including ending this pandemic which threatens the world and continues to create dangerous variants.  

     In parallel, he and the administration remain committed to advancing, repairing, and strengthening health security and pandemic preparedness for the future, including obviously here in the United States but also around the world.  

     And that’s why the President took swift action early to lay out a vision and plans for this work, including signing his first National Security Memorandum, which focused on the COVID-19 health and humanitarian response; advancing health security; and building better biological preparedness.  And this plan is really one central piece of that effort. 

     We’re also actively implementing many of the actions called for in NSM-1, including, obviously, releasing a COVID-19 response strategy, both domestically and globally.  We’ve established a new domestic Center for Epidemic Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics.  We’ve reengaged with the WHO on day one.  We’re working across the government to raise the global and domestic research and development ambition to decrease the timing between detection of the new biological threat and safe delivery of targeted countermeasures and therapeutics.  And you obviously heard a lot more about that from Dr. Lander. 
 
We’re reviewing the existing state of our biodefense enterprise — and I’ll come back to that in a second — and we continue to prioritize helping other countries in need to build their capacities to prevent, detect, and respond, and to advance our programs that support the global health security agenda and establish catalytic health security financing for the future.
 
The President signed, on his first day in office, Executive Order 13987, and that focused on the organization here in the United States for COVID-19, but also on emerging biological threats.  And it included reestablishing my office — the Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense on the NSC staff.   

     And we’re really here to provide a high-level “belly button,” if you will, to elevate these important issues to the President and the NSC.  
 
Our team has a “no-fail” mission to rapidly mobilize the policy machinery to elevate high-consequence infectious disease outbreaks quickly across the White House and to the National Security Advisor, and really to empower agencies to adopt a no-regrets response.

     And we’re working very closely with OSTP and across the White House with all relevant departments and agencies as well to do a whole-of-government review and update of national bio-preparedness policies, which is directed by that executive order and by National Security Memorandum-1.  

     And so the document that we’re releasing today that Eric outlined in detail lays out a set of urgent needs and opportunities that are necessary to protect the United States against biological and pandemic threats.

     We believe that transforming our capabilities will require a systematic effort and a shared vision for biological preparedness that, as you heard from Eric, is really akin to an Apollo mission.  

     And that’s why we envision that this will be a core element of our strategy going forward on biodefense and pandemic readiness, informed by lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic.

     Importantly, though, we continue to take stock of our full range of biodefense, pandemic readiness, and global health security needs, including capabilities, policies, and practices that we need to update and refresh, building on our lessons from COVID-19 and other outbreaks.

     While this plan does lay out a clear vision for bio-preparedness, it doesn’t cover everything.  As Dr. Lander said, it’s really focused on our capabilities at home to prepare for pandemic. 

     COVID-19 has enumerated a number of challenges in our preparedness for a moderate pandemic, but we do need additional capabilities to be fully prepared for any biological event that comes our way, and that includes countering bioterrorism; countering the development and use of biological weapons; strengthening the Biological Weapons Convention; improving food security and food defense, zoonotic spillover events, and others.

     And we really focused this document on specific capabilities to stop a pandemic sooner, including a strong emphasis on science and technology, and early countermeasure development.  And we felt it was urgent to get started on this issue immediately.  
 
Simultaneously, we remain focused on reviewing and updating our other policies and practices, including across the broader healthcare system, workforce, and other areas.  And of course, we remain laser focused on the domestic and global COVID-19 response and our full programs of — a full suite of programs in support of those efforts.  These are vital, and the President has also placed a major priority on them, including in his FY22 Budget Request.

     So, just in closing, as we finalize our broader whole-of-government bio-preparedness effort, as directed by the President, this an important and crucial element, and we have to start now.

FACT SHEET:
Biden Administration to Transform Capabilities for Pandemic Preparedness

President Biden is committed to combatting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and Building Back Better for the next biological threat.  As part of this responsibility, the United States must lean forward and catalyze the advances in science, technology, and core capabilities required to protect the Nation against future and potentially catastrophic biological threats, whether naturally-occurring, accidental, or deliberate.
 
We must seize the opportunity to ready ourselves for the biological threats on the horizon. Investing to avert or mitigate the huge toll of future pandemics and other biological threats is an economic and moral imperative. The cost of pandemic prevention pales in comparison to the enormous cost – in lives and in economic cost – of a pandemic. It’s hard to imagine a higher return on national investment.
 
On January 20, the President directed a whole-of-government review of U.S. national biopreparedness policies and re-established the National Security Council Directorate on Global Health Security and Biodefense. Today, we are releasing a plan for transforming U.S. capabilities to prepare for and respond rapidly and effectively to future pandemics and other high consequence biological threats. This plan is a core element of the larger strategy to bolster and resource pandemic readiness and biodefense.
 
This plan, laid out in American Pandemic Preparedness: Transforming our Capabilities, lays out a set of urgent needs and opportunities in five key areas necessary to protect the United States against biological threats:

I. Transforming our Medical Defenses, including dramatically improving and expanding our arsenal of vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.

II. Ensuring Situational Awareness about infectious-disease threats, for both early warning and real-time monitoring.

III. Strengthening Public Health Systems, both in the U.S. and internationally to be able to respond to emergencies, with a particular focus on reducing inequities and protecting the most vulnerable communities.  

IV. Building Core Capabilities, including personal protective equipment, stockpiles and supply chains, biosafety and biosecurity, and regulatory improvement.  

V. Managing the Mission, with seriousness of purpose, commitment, and accountability akin to the Apollo mission, which brought our astronauts to the moon decades ago.  

This work will include, from the outset, a strong focus on ensuring equity and access by all Americans to the resulting advances.
 
Because transforming our capabilities will take time, it is imperative that we start now.
 
Achieving these capabilities will require a systematic effort and shared vision for biological preparedness across our government.  Like any ambitious endeavor – whether the Apollo mission or the Human Genome Project that cracked the code of human genetics – transforming our nation’s pandemic preparedness will take serious, sustained commitment and ambitious accountability. And like those efforts, it is likely to yield benefits beyond the original mission – in this case advances in human health and providing tools that could overcome health inequities and ensure equitable access to innovative products.
 
In addition to this plan’s efforts to strengthen public health in the context of pandemic preparedness, we also must address the broader need to strengthen the U.S. public health system and reinvigorate our public health workforce. The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to efforts to support our public health workforce and to prevent the types of public health inequities revealed by COVID-19.
 
Over the next several weeks, we will be building on this vision as we finalize our whole-of-government biopreparedness review, continue to learn from COVID-19, and commit ourselves to a biodefense and pandemic readiness strategy that builds back better in the United States and around the world for this pandemic and the next.

Biden Announces National Month of Action to Mobilize All-of-America Sprint to Get 70% Americans Vaccinated by July4th

National Month of Action will mobilize national organizations, local government leaders, community-based and faith-based partners, businesses, employers, social media influencers, celebrities, athletes, colleges, young people, and thousands of volunteers

President Biden highlights additional efforts by businesses and organizations across the country to advance equity and make it even easier to get vaccinated

Vice President Kamala Harris will lead a National Vaccination Tour to encourage vaccinations in key communities across the country

 

President Biden has mobilized the greatest peacetime effort in order to get 70 percent of Americans vaccinated against COVID-19 by July 4th, which he said would be a true Independence Day against the debilitating, lethal coronavirus that has so crippled the economy and society, He has made it as easy as possible and the vaccine available everywhere – organizing free lifts, employer paid leave, child care, while state governments and companies have come up with incentives, ranging from free beer or baseball tickets to a million dollar lottery prize © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

President Biden announced June would be a National Month of Action to mobilize an all-of-America sprint to get 70% of U.S. adults at least one shot by July 4th, so that more people can get the protection they need to be safe from a pandemic that has taken the lives of nearly 600,000 Americans.  July 4th, he said, would be a true Day of Independence against this debilitating, lethal virus.

Throughout the month, national organizations, local government leaders, community-based and faith-based partners, businesses, employers, social media influencers, celebrities, athletes, colleges, young people, and thousands of volunteers across the nation will work together to get their communities vaccinated. 

The President announced a slew of actions that will make it even easier to get vaccinated, mobilize the country around vaccine outreach and education efforts,and incentivize vaccination. Additionally, organizations and businesses from across the country continue to step up and respond to the President’s call to action.

Thanks to the President’s whole-of-government response, the U.S. has made significant progress in its fight against the pandemic since the President took office less than 5 months ago. Already, 63% of adult Americans have gotten vaccinated, including 73% of Americans age 40 and over, and COVID-19 cases and deaths have plummeted as a result – cases are down over 90% and deaths are down over 85% since January 20th. 

Twelve states have already given at least one shot to 70% of adults and more than 28 states and D.C. have fully vaccinated 50% or more of their adult populations, but millions of Americans still need protection against the virus.
 
Organizations and business from across the country have stepped up and responded to the President’s call to action. 

The National Month of Action will include the following initiatives:
 
MAKING IT EASIER TO GET VACCINATED AND ADVANCING EQUITY
 

  • Free child care for individuals getting vaccinated: Four of the nation’s largest child care providers will offer free child care to all parents and caregivers getting vaccinated or recovering from vaccination from now until July 4th. KinderCare and Learning Care Group locations across the country will offer free, drop-in appointments to any parent or caregiver who needs support to get vaccinated or recover from vaccination, and more than 500 YMCAs in nearly every state will offer drop-in care during vaccination appointments. Bright Horizons will also provide free child care to support the vaccination of over 10 million workers employed at participating organizations. The vaccine is free for everyone, however, many unvaccinated Americans report concern about the potential ripple expenses of getting vaccinated, such as having to pay for child care.

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is also issuing new guidance that encourages states to use child care funding from the American Rescue Plan to provide financial incentives to neighborhood- and home-based child care providers who join the President’s call to action and support their communities in getting vaccinated. Visit Vaccines.gov/incentives.html to learn more.
     
  • Extended hours at pharmacies across the country in June to offer more flexible appointment availability: Starting next week, thousands of pharmacies nationwide will stay open late every Friday in June, and offer services throughout the night to make sure Americans can get their shot. These extended hours will ensure that those with less flexible work hours have the opportunity to get vaccinated at times convenient to them. Participating pharmacy chains include Albertsons, CVS, Rite-Aid, and Walgreens.

 
MOBILIZING THE COUNTRY TO DO MORE VACCINATION EDUCATION AND OUTREACH:

  • Community Canvassing, Phone Banking, Text Banking, and Vaccination Events: The Administration’s organizing efforts will focus on what we know works best to ensure everyone has equitable vaccine access: person-to-person action that connects people with key resources and information like Vaccines.gov, text 4-3-8-8-2-9, the National COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline (1-800-232-0233), and more. The Month of Action will include calls and texts to people in areas with low vaccination rates and canvasses in neighborhoods close to walk-in clinics where people can get vaccinated on the spot. More than 100 organizations have already committed to host over 1,000 events the first weekend alone, with thousands of additional events to take place over the course of the month. The President will call on Americans to take at least five actions to help their communities during the Month of Action, and some volunteers may be invited to visit the White House in July. Americans can visit WeCanDoThis.hhs.gov to learn more and sign up to help their communities get vaccinated.
     
  • “We Can Do This” National Vaccination Tour: The President will announce the Vice President will lead a nation-wide tour to reach millions of Americans who still need protection against the virus, to highlight the ease of getting vaccinated, encourage vaccinations, and energize and mobilize grassroots vaccine education and outreach efforts. The Vice President’s travel will be anchored in the South, and the First Lady, the Second Gentleman, and members of the Cabinet will also join the Administration’s tour to communities across the country.
     
  • Mayors Challenge to Increase Vaccination Rates in Cities Across America: Mayors across the country are stepping up to help in this effort by launching the “Mayors Challenge,” a competition to see which city can grow its vaccination rate the most by July 4th. Participating mayors commit to taking actions throughout the month to boost vaccinations, such as coordinated canvassing efforts, partnerships with local businesses, and incentives for local residents. The Administration has created a toolkit for mayors and local leaders, and will help recognize the winning cities later this year. More than 50 mayors of cities in Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin, and, as well as D.C., have already signed up the challenge, which is being run in collaboration with the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
     
  • Shots at the Shop – A New Initiative to Engage Black-Owned Barbershops and Beauty Salons: The President will announce the Administration is teaming up with the Black Coalition Against COVID, the University of Maryland Center for Health Equity, and SheaMoisture to launch “Shots at the Shop,” an initiative that will engage Black-owned barbershops and beauty salons across the country to support local vaccine education and outreach efforts. Throughout the month of June, each participating shop will engage customers with information about the vaccines, display educational materials, and host on-site vaccination events in partnership with local providers. The “Shots at the Shop” initiative will invite participation from across the country, with a particular focus on supporting shops in some of the hardest-hit localities still experiencing significant gaps in vaccination rates.
     
  • Blanketing Local TV and Radio and Social Media to Get Americans the Facts and Answer Their Questions: The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), representing more than 7,000 TV and radio stations across the country, will have local station members participate in the National Month of Action. NAB members will be airing vaccine education segments in their programming featuring trusted voices from the community, as well as medical professionals from leading medical associations across the country, including the American Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, American Hospital Association, American Association of Nurse Practitioners, and Primary Care Collaborative. Medical experts will have the opportunity to share information on benefits of vaccination, address questions and concerns, and publicize where individuals in the community can get vaccinated. And, the Administration will continue deploying medical experts, public health leaders, and Cabinet officials through a whole-of-government approach to communicate directly with Americans, including by working with social media platforms and engaging celebrities and influencers to reach people where they are.
     
  • COVID-19 College Challenge: The Administration is launching the COVID-19 College Challenge, where colleges and universities can take a pledge and commit to taking action to get their students and communities vaccinated by going to WhiteHouse.gov/COVIDCollegeChallenge and signing up. As part of the challenge, the Administration will provide resources like training sessions, toolkits, and educational material to assist colleges and universities in vaccination efforts; facilitate on-site vaccinations at schools; and launch a student corps within the COVID-19 Community Corps to recognize and activate students across the country who are taking extraordinary efforts to draw young people out to get vaccinated and engage the youth community. More than 200 colleges in 43 states have already taken the pledge and committed to the COVID-19 College Challenge. This challenge builds on the Administration’s work to facilitate partnerships between more than 60 community colleges and pharmacies in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program to provide pop-up vaccination clinics at high-enrollment community colleges between now and July 4th.

 
INCENTIVIZING VACCINATION
 
Business Incentives for Vaccinated Americans: Thousands of employers and businesses have already stepped up to support vaccination efforts, including by offering incentives for vaccinations and providing their workers paid-leave for vaccinations. During the Month of Action, the Administration will continue working with employers to make it even easier to set up workplace vaccination clinics, and call on more businesses to encourage and incentivize vaccinations.
 
Starting today, Americans will be able to find a list of these and other incentives on Vaccines.gov/incentives.html. Examples of new private sector actions and incentives that recently launched include:

  • Anheuser-Busch will give away free beer to all adults over the age of 21 in America on July 4th to celebrate the country’s progress against COVID.
     
  • CVS launched a sweepstakes for vaccinated people to win free cruises, tickets to Super Bowl LVI, and cash prizes.
     
  • Door Dash will give $2 million in gift cards to the National Association of Community Health Centers to incentivize vaccinations.
     
  • Major League Baseball teams will offer on-site vaccinations at games and give free tickets to those who get vaccinated.
     
  • Microsoft will give away thousands of Xboxes to Boys and Girls Clubs in hard-hit areas who will run promotions and educational seminars about the importance of vaccinations in hard-hit and hard-to-reach communities.
     
  • Kroger launched a “Community Immunity” program to give $1 million to a vaccinated person every week in June and give dozens of vaccinated Americans free groceries for a year.
     

United Airlines launched the “Your Shot to Fly” Sweepstakes for Mileage Plus members to win a year of free flights or a roundtrip for two in any class of service.

Dating Apps Answer White House Call to Action, Launch New Efforts to Encourage COVID Vaccinations

Okay to date again! In support of President Biden’s goal of getting 70 percent of adults at least one shot by July 4, the largest dating apps in America – Tinder, Hinge, Match, OkCupid, BLK, Chispa, Plenty of Fish, Bumble, and Badoo – are launching new features and incentives to encourage Americans to get vaccinated. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Tinder, Hinge, Match, OkCupid, BLK, Chispa, Plenty of Fish, Bumble, and Badoo to create badges displaying vaccination status and offer vaccinated Americans free premium benefits

In support of President Biden’s goal of getting 70 percent of adults at least one shot by July 4, the largest dating apps in America will launch new features to encourage Americans to get vaccinated. These companies join organizations across the country that have answered the President’s call by stepping up and offering incentives and information to help Americans get vaccinated. 

Today, dating apps are announcing that they will offer a variety of features such as:

  • Badges showing vaccination status
  • Access to free premium content like boosts, super likes, and super swipes for vaccinated people
  • In-app promotions and links to vaccines.gov or the text code for users
  • Filters so individuals can see individuals who have been vaccinated

According to research from OKCupid, people who are vaccinated or plan to get vaccinated receive 14% more Matches than people who don’t plan to get vaccinated. Specific actions by dating apps will launch over the next several weeks, including:

  • Tinder: Members will be able to add stickers to their profile including “I’m Vaccinated” or “Vaccines Save Lives.” And vaccinated users will have access to free premium content like a “Super Like” to help them stand out among potential matches. Tinder will also launch a “Vaccine Center” with a suite of resources to education and connect users with their nearest vaccination site. Tinder is the world’s biggest non-gaming app.
  • OkCupid: Daters will be able toadd an “I’m Vaccinated” profile badge and be featured within OkCupid’s “Vaccinated Stacks,” a new matching system that lets users search by vaccination status. Vaccinated people will also receive a free “Boost” to move their profile to the front of a daters’ stack. The campaign will begin on May 24 and will continue to help daters “Match on What Matters.”
  • Bumble and Badoo will enable all U.S. customers to add a “vaccinated” badge to their profiles. In addition, Bumble and Badoo will give vaccinated users complimentary credits for premium features such as Spotlight and Superswipes across both apps. The apps will also leverage their network of influencers to amplify the need to get vaccinated as part of a push this summer.
  • BLK will add a new “Vaxified” profile badge for singles to show their support in ending the COVID-19 pandemic. When vaccinated individuals add the badge to their profile, they will receive a free “Boost” on the app to be one of the first profiles seen by potential matches. The features will launch on June 1. BLK is the largest dating app made for Black singles.
  • Chispa will add a new “Vacunado” profile badge for Latinx singles to show their support for ending the pandemic. Vaccinated individuals who add the badge will get a free “Boost,” making them one of the first profiles to be seen by their matches. The feature will be available starting June 1. Chispa is the largest dating app for Latino singles in English and Spanish.
  • Hinge: Hinge will encourage users to share their vaccination status on their profile and give vaccinated users a free “Rose,” which is premium content that indicates to other users that they’re especially excited to get to know them. As the dating app “designed to be deleted,” Hinge is focused on helping its community get back out on dates and in safe relationships.
  • Match: Members will have the option to add a new “Vaccinated” badge to their profile to display their vaccine status, with vaccinated Americans getting access to a free “Boost” to help them stand out on the app.
  • Plenty of Fish: Members will be able to add an “I Got My Shot” badge to their profiles in early June. Those who participate will receive 20 Live! credits to use on the Plenty of Fish Live! streaming feature. In the spirit of Plenty of Fish’s mission to create low pressure dating experiences, this campaign will provide members with one less question to ask so they can start building meaningful connections.

More than 60% of U.S. adults have gotten at least one vaccine shot. It’s easier than ever to get vaccinated, with more than 80,000 locations with vaccines and 90% of Americans live within 5 miles of a vaccine. Find out more about where to get vaccinated by visiting Vaccines.gov or texting their zip code 438829.

Biden Administration to Invest $7 Billion to Hire Public Health Workers, Rebuild Public Health Departments

Funding Will Create Tens of Thousands of Jobs to Respond to COVID-19, Prepare U.S. for Future Outbreaks, and Support Local Public Health Officials
 
As Vaccine for Adolescents Comes Online, Administration Sets Aside Dedicated Funding for School Nurses, Who Can Help Provide Information about Vaccinations

 

The Biden-Harris Administration will invest $7.4 billion from the American Rescue Plan to recruit and hire public health workers to respond to the pandemic and prepare for future public health challenges. The funding will allow the United States to expand its public health workforce, creating tens of thousands of jobs to support vaccinations, testing, contact tracing, and community outreach, and strengthen America’s future public health infrastructure. © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Even as the CDC is lifting mask and social-distancing requirements for fully vaccinated people, the Biden Administration is looking to the long-term health of the nation, our ability to get through COVID-19, but also be well positioned for the next pandemic or public health crisis. The Biden-Harris Administration announced it would invest $7.4 billion from the American Rescue Plan to recruit and hire public health workers and also redress the fact that over the past several decades, public health departments have been hollowed out. The White House provided this fact sheet:

As part of its ongoing COVID-19 response efforts, the Biden-Harris Administration will invest $7.4 billion from the American Rescue Plan to recruit and hire public health workers to respond to the pandemic and prepare for future public health challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced that public health workers are essential, providing critical services to keep Americans safe and healthy. The funding announced today will allow the United States to expand its public health workforce, creating tens of thousands of jobs to support vaccinations, testing, contact tracing, and community outreach, and strengthen America’s future public health infrastructure.
 
The Biden-Harris Administration will invest $4.4 billion to allow states and localities to expand their over-stretched public health departments with additional staff to support COVID-19 response efforts. This funding will support a range of public health roles, including funding for Disease Intervention Specialists to do contact tracing, case management, and support outbreak investigations, and dedicated funding to hire school nurses to help schools safely reopen and remain open for in-person instruction. Additionally, funds will support the development of the next generation of public health leaders by creating a Public Health AmeriCorps and expanding CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service – the renowned program that equips workers to identify and contain public health outbreaks.
 
Finally, CDC will use $3 billion from the American Rescue Plan to create a new grant program that will facilitate federal investment in the people and expertise needed at the state and local levels to expand, train, and modernize the public health workforce for the future. In the months ahead, CDC will work with leaders from across the public health community to design this new grant program.
 
All awardees of this American Rescue Plan funding will be asked to prioritize recruiting individuals from the communities they will serve and from backgrounds underrepresented in critical public health professions.
 
Today’s funding builds on the President’s announcement last week of $250 million to help community -based organizations hire and mobilize community outreach workers and social support specialists to increase access to vaccinations in the hardest-hit and highest risk communities. 
 
The Biden-Harris Administration will:
 
Invest $4.4 Billion to Surge Public Health Staffing for COVID-19 Response
 
Help States and Localities Increase their Public Health Staffing and Expertise:  State and local public health heroes have led the fight against COVID-19 for more than a year. Often understaffed and lacking resources, local public health departments have provided critical services during the pandemic, including setting up testing sites, leading local vaccination efforts, and delivering personal protective equipment, therapeutics, and care to those in need. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, CDC will fund $3.4 billion in new hiring for state and local public health departments to quickly add staff to support critical COVID-19 response efforts – including vaccination outreach and administration efforts, testing and contact tracing, epidemiologists, data scientists, and other vital public health functions. This funding includes at least $500 million for the hiring of school nurses, who can offer medical expertise to support parents and teens as vaccination options for younger people expand. This builds on resources in the American Rescue Plan’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund which can also be used to hire school nurses.
 
Launch Public Health AmeriCorps: At a time of unprecedented interest in public health, CDC and AmeriCorps (the Corporation for National and Community Service) will launch the Public Health AmeriCorps – a $400 million investment from the American Rescue Plan to recruit and build a new workforce ready to respond to the public health needs of the nation. The program will focus on building a diverse pipeline for the public health workforce and providing direct service to communities across the country. The partnership will leverage the expertise of both agencies, capitalizing on AmeriCorps’ experience managing some of the most prominent public service and workforce development programs in the nation while benefitting from CDC’s technical expertise as the country’s leading public health agency.
 
Recruit and Train Public Health Leaders: CDC will expand its current workforce programs, including the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS). EIS is a national, deployable, cutting-edge public health workforce that responds to local outbreaks. Over the past seven decades, EIS officers have served as boots-on-the-ground epidemiologists during some of the most severe outbreaks and public health emergencies, including the Ebola outbreak, H1N1, the Flint water crisis, Zika, and the COVID-19 pandemic. With $245 million from the American Rescue Plan, CDC will increase support for programs including EIS, the Undergraduate Public Health Scholars Program, and the Dr. James A. Ferguson Emerging Infectious Diseases RISE Fellowship, which offers students from underrepresented background the opportunity to study infectious diseases and health disparities. Expanding these programs will support workforce diversity in public health to help reduce longstanding health disparities and inequities. In addition, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology will invest $80 million to train public health professionals to help modernize the public health data infrastructure, with a focus on recruiting from minority serving institutions and universities.
 
Building the Laboratory Workforce and Building Capacity for Future Outbreaks: With $337 million from the American Rescue Plan, CDC will strengthen the public health laboratory workforce pipeline. CDC will expand the current public health laboratory fellowship programs for laboratory science graduates and implement a new public health internship program for undergraduate students to gain experiences in public health laboratory settings. Funds will improve the capacity of the nation’s public-private clinical laboratory infrastructure to support rapid, large-scale responses to public health emergencies.
 
Invest $3 Billion to Prepare for Future Pandemics
 
Create a New Program to Modernize the Public Health Workforce: CDC will create a new grant program to provide under-resourced health departments with the support they need to hire staff and build a strong public health workforce. This grant program will offer community health workers and others hired for the COVID-19 response an opportunity to continue their careers beyond the pandemic as public health professionals. CDC will convene federal, state, local, and territorial public health experts to inform the design and focus of this new grant program. Ultimately, the program will allow the United States to continue to support the nation’s public health infrastructure, particularly in lower-income and underserved communities.

Biden, CDC Warn of ‘Impending Doom’ if Americans Let Up on COVID-19 Precautions Before Vaccinations Widespread

President Biden unveiled new actions to get more people vaccinated quickly and announce that by April 19, 90% of adults in the U.S. will be eligible for vaccination and 90% will have a vaccination site within 5 miles of where they live, but warned that this is no time for Americans to lift the precautions of mask-wearing and social distancing © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

“Impending doom,” is how Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expressed her fear in an emotional appeal to Americans to stay the course in order to finally get the coronavirus pandemic under control, that despite the pace of vaccinations, it is still too early to abandon mask-wearing and social distancing to prevent what she feared would be a fourth wave.

She related “the recurring feeling I have of impending doom.  We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are, and so much reason for hope, but right now I’m scared.  I know what it’s like as a physician to stand in that patient room — gowned, gloved, masked, shielded — and to be the last person to touch someone else’s loved one because their loved one couldn’t be there.
 
“I know what it’s like when you’re the physician, when you’re the healthcare provider and you’re worried that you don’t have the resources to take care of the patients in front of you.  I know that feeling of nausea when you read the crisis standards of care and you wonder whether there are going to be enough ventilators to go around and who’s going to make that choice.  And I know what it’s like to pull up to your hospital every day and see the extra morgue sitting outside.
 
“I didn’t know at the time when it was — when it would stop; we didn’t have the science to tell us.  We were just scared.  We have come such a long way.  Three historic scientific breakthrough vaccines, and we are rolling them out so very fast. 
 
“So I’m speaking today not necessarily as your CDC director — not only as your CDC director but as a wife, as a mother, as a daughter to ask you to just please hold on a little while longer.  I so badly want to be done.  I know you all so badly want to be done.  We are just almost there but not quite yet.  And so I’m asking you to just hold on a little longer, to get vaccinated when you can so that all of those people that we all love will still be here when this pandemic ends.
 
“The trajectory of the pandemic in the United States looks similar to many other countries in Europe, including Germany, Italy, and France looked like just a few weeks ago.  And since that time, those countries have experienced a consistent and worrying spike in cases.  We are not powerless; we can change this trajectory of the pandemic.  But it will take all of us, recommitting to following the public health prevention strategies consistently, while we work to get the American public vaccinated. 
 
“I’m calling on our elected officials, our faith-based communities, our civic leaders, and our other influencers in communities across the nation, and I’m calling on every single one of you to sound the alarm to carry these messages into your community and your spheres of influence.  We do not have the luxury of inaction.  For the health of our country, we must work together now to prevent a fourth surge. 
 
“And after that honest plea, I want to reflect on so many reasons we have to be hopeful and why your actions today can get us out of this soon.  As I shared last week, we continue to get more and more real-world evidence on the protection of COVID-19 vaccines provide.  And CDC scientists have been working since these vaccines were first authorized to expand the evidence supporting their effectiveness,” she said.

Biden: ‘This is Deadly Serious’

President Joe Biden in remarks later on expanding access to COVID-19 vaccinations, said, “Our progress on vaccination is a stunning example that there is nothing — nothing this country cannot do if we put our minds to it and we do it together. 
 
“But as I’ve also said, I will always give you it straight — straight from the shoulder.  Our work is far from over.  The war against COVID-19 is far from won.  This is deadly serious…

“This is not the time to lessen our efforts.  That’s what [CDC Director Rochelle Walensky] said.  We could still see a setback in the vaccination program.  And most importantly, if we let our guard down now, we could see a virus getting worse, not better. 
 
“You know, as many people as we have vaccinated, we still have more Americans left to go.  You know, we will administer more shots in March than any country on Earth.  But even so, we have to give more shots in April than we did in March.  Because we’re in the life and death race for the virus that is spreading quickly with cases rising again.  New variants are spreading.  And sadly, some of the reckless behavior we’ve seen on television over the past few weeks means that more new cases are to come in the weeks ahead.
 
“With vaccines, there’s hope, which is a — which is a very good thing, to state the obvious.  But people are let — are letting up on precautions, which is a very bad thing.  Look, to this point, cases have fallen two thirds since I took office.  Deaths have also fallen two thirds.  But now cases are going back up and, in some states, deaths are as well.  You know, we’re giving up hard-fought, hard-won gains.  And as much as we are doing, America, it is time to do even more.  All of us have to do our part, every one of us….”

 FACT SHEET:

President Biden Announces 90% of the Adult U.S. Population will be Eligible for Vaccination and 90% will have a Vaccination Site Within 5 Miles of Home by April 19

New Actions to Accomplish Goal: Expanding Pharmacy Program and Launching a New Program to Transport the Most Vulnerable Seniors and People with Disabilities to Vaccination Sites

President Biden unveiled new actions to get more people vaccinated quickly and announce that by April 19, 90% of adults in the U.S. will be eligible for vaccination and 90% will have a vaccination site within 5 miles of where they live. The President announced that the Administration is increasing the number of pharmacies in the federal pharmacy vaccination program from 17,000 to nearly 40,000 across the country and will stand up a dozen more mass vaccination sites by April 19.  He also announced a new effort to fund community organizations to provide transportation and assistance for the nation’s most at-risk seniors and people with disabilities to access vaccines. This builds on last week’s historic $10 billion investment to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines in the hardest-hit and highest-risk communities.

President Biden called for all states, Tribes, and territories to make all U.S. adults eligible for vaccination no later than May 1 and is working closely with state and local leaders to make this happen as quickly as possible. To date, 31 states have said they will open up eligibility to all adults by April 19. With today’s actions to expand access, that means in just three weeks, 90% of all U.S. adults will be eligible for vaccination and 90% will have a vaccination site within 5 miles of where they live.

The President reminded Americans about the importance of taking preventative measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, as variants continue to spread and cases are on the rise. He called for continued masking and social distancing as we work to get more people vaccinated as quickly as possible.

Actions include:

Expanding Vaccines to 20,000 More Local Pharmacies, Bringing the Total to Nearly 40,000 Pharmacies Across the Country by April 19: The President will announce that the Administration is expanding the Federal Retail Pharmacy program from 17,000 to nearly 40,000 stores within the next three weeks. This means that by April 19, there will be a vaccine site within 5 miles of 90% of all Americans. The participating pharmacies in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program are located in communities across the country – including 45% currently in the highest-need neighborhoods.

Launching New Effort to Get the Nation’s Most Vulnerable and At-Risk Seniors and People with Disabilities Vaccinated: The President will announce nearly $100 million in funding to help vaccinate vulnerable and at-risk older adults and people with disabilities. This new effort will expand the senior and disability services funded by the Department of Health and Human Services to provide the high-intensity assistance needed to get these individuals scheduled for and transported to vaccinations. It will also fund community organizations to transport them to appointments, which can involve extra time, assistance with mobility, and supporting people during wait times. Funding will be available starting within two weeks. The Administration has made tremendous progress on vaccinating seniors, with over 70% of people over 65 years old receiving at least one shot, and this new program will help vaccinate our most vulnerable and at-risk seniors and people with disabilities who have yet to be vaccinated, including those who need assistance leaving their home or are socially isolated. 

Expanding the Number of Mass Vaccination Centers Across the Country: The President will announce that the Administration will stand up a dozen more federally-run mass vaccination sites across the country, including two new sites in Gary, Indiana and St. Louis, Missouri announced earlier today. Equity and access are prioritized in the design of the federal community vaccination centers, with some featuring weekend and extended daytime hours, reserved slots for registration through faith-based and community-based organizations, and deployment of mobile vaccination units to help vaccinate surrounding communities. This is in addition to the over $4 billion federal funding obligated to date and thousands of federal personnel deployed to support state- and locally-run community vaccination centers. In partnership with states, FEMA has launched 21 sites in communities across the country. Together, these sites have the ability to administer a total of 79,000 shots per day at full capacity.

2021 Special Enrollment Period Access Extended to August 15 on HealthCare.gov for Obamacare

President Biden announced that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is extending access to the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace until August 15 © Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

Today, President Biden announced that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is extending access to the Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act marketplace until August 15 – giving consumers additional time to take advantage of new savings through the American Rescue Plan. This action provides new and current enrollees an additional three months to enroll or re-evaluate their coverage needs with increased tax credits available to reduce premiums.

“Every American deserves access to quality, affordable health care – especially as we fight back against the COVID-19 pandemic,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Through this Special Enrollment Period, the Biden Administration is giving the American people the chance they need to find an affordable health care plan that works for them. The American Rescue Plan will bring costs down for millions of Americans, and I encourage consumers to visit HealthCare.gov and sign up for a plan before August 15.”

As a result of the American Rescue Plan, additional savings will be available for consumers through HealthCare.gov starting April 1. These savings will decrease premiums for many, on average, by $50 per person per month and $85 per policy per month. On average, one out of four enrollees on HeathCare.gov will be able to upgrade to a higher plan category that offers better out of pocket costs at the same or lower premium compared to what they’re paying today. 

Consumers who want to access the SEP to enroll in coverage and see if they qualify for financial help to reduce the cost of monthly premiums, can visit HealthCare.gov or CuidadoDeSalud.gov to view 2021 plans and prices and enroll in a plan that best meets their needs. Additionally, consumers can call the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596, which provides assistance in over 150 languages. TTY users should call 1-855-889-4325.  Consumers can also find a local assister or agent/broker in their area: https://localhelp.healthcare.gov

Consumers who are eligible and enroll under the SEP will be able to select a plan with coverage that could start as soon as the first month after plan selection. Current enrollees will be able to change to any plan available to them in their area. To take advantage of the SEP, current enrollees should review their application and make changes, if needed, to their current information and submit their application in order to receive an updated eligibility result.

Additionally, beginning in early July on HealthCare.gov, consumers who have received or have been determined eligible to receive unemployment compensation for any week during 2021 may be able to get another increase in savings when enrolling in new Marketplace coverage or updating their existing Marketplace application and enrollment. These savings to be made available starting in early July for eligible consumers are in addition to the increased savings available to consumers on HealthCare.gov starting April 1.

The SEP is currently available to consumers in the 36 states that use the HealthCare.gov platform. Consumers served by State-based Marketplaces that use their own platform can check their state’s website to find out more information on Special Enrollment Periods in their state.

To see how the American Rescue Plan will bring down health care costs and expand on the Affordable Care Act, visit: https://www.hhs.gov/about/news/2021/03/12/fact-sheet-american-rescue-plan-reduces-health-care-costs-expands-access-insurance-coverage.html.

Biden Announces All Americans to be Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccinations by May 1; Puts Nation on Path to Normalcy by July 4th

President Joe Biden announced a national strategy for COVID19 vaccination so that every American will be eligible by May 1, new website to make it easier to find, efforts to combat variants, and goal of July 4th “independence” (c) Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

In his first prime time public address to the nation, coming exactly one year after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus pandemic, one year since the nation shut down, and just hours after signing what is being hailed as the “historic,” “transformative” $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, President Biden announced the next phase of a war-time effort to vaccinate the U.S. population, with the goal of getting the nation closer to normal by July 4th, Independence Day.
 
“The President launched a new, comprehensive strategy to beat this pandemic on January 21, 2021.  In the subsequent 7 weeks, we’ve delivered over 81 million vaccinations to Americans — today, more people are once again able to visit their loved ones. There is more work to do and today, the President is outlining the next phase of his whole of government strategy to put the pandemic behind us,” the White House stated.

It is fitting to declare a war-time effort to combat COVID since in just one year, more Americans have died of COVID than in decades of fighting wars on foreign soil. “As of now, the total deaths in America: 527,726. That’s more deaths than in World War One, World War Two, the Vietnam War, and 9/11 combined,” as Biden noted in his address, pulling a paper with the running total count written on it. Biden has had to pick up slack after months and months of the prior administration dismissing, lying, even sabotaging efforts to contain the virus which has infected 30 million – far exceeding any other nation in the world as a percentage of population – holding massive rallies and discouraging mask-wearing, social distancing, and even pursuing legal action to prevent localities from using public health measures like lockdowns.

This is from the White House:

 The President announced that in the coming weeks, the Administration will:

Make every adult in the U.S. eligible for vaccination no later than May 1. Today, in the next phase of our vaccination effort, the President will announce that he will direct states, Tribes, and territories to make all adults eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine no later than May 1st.  The White House COVID-19 Response Team has concluded that our accelerated vaccination efforts will enable prioritized vaccinations to be far enough along by end of April that all eligibility restrictions for vaccinations can be lifted by May 1st.

Once all Americans are eligible to be vaccinated, the Administration will ensure that every adult is actually able to get the vaccine by:

Increasing the number of places Americans can get vaccinated. With the resources available through President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, the Administration will ramp up efforts to create more places for people to get vaccinated, reaching the hardest-hit and hardest to reach populations.  

Community Health Centers: Today, the Administration announced that over the next six weeks the Administration will deliver vaccines directly to up to an additional 700 community health centers that reach underserved communities, increasing the total number of participating community health centers across the country to 950. These health centers serve low income and minority patients, provide services to rural communities and Tribal communities, and many will utilize mobile vans to deliver services.

Pharmacies: The Administration will double the number of pharmacies participating in the federal pharmacy program, making the vaccine available at more than 20,000 pharmacies in locations convenient to all Americans.  The Administration is directing pharmacies to expand mobile operations into the hardest hit communities to reach more people.

Community Vaccination Centers:  The Administration will more than double the number of federally-run mass vaccination centers, run by FEMA, the U.S. military, and other federal agencies in partnership with states, to ensure that we reach the hardest-hit communities in this historic effort. Many of these sites will be the home base for mobile units that will travel into local communities to provide vaccines directly in underserved populations. With these mobile clinics, we’ll work with states to make up to one-third of each site’s daily vaccinations available directly in the hardest-hit neighborhoods. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, the Administration will also increase support for state and local-run community vaccination centers. As a result of these added investments community vaccination centers will be capable of administering hundreds of thousands of shots a day, building on the nearly 600 centers across the country already operating with federal support.

Increasing the number of people providing and supporting vaccinations. Today, President Biden will announce the deployment of more than 4,000 active duty troops to support vaccination efforts, bringing the total to over 6,000 in all. Tomorrow, the Administration will expand the pool of qualified professionals able to administer shots to include:  Dentists, advanced and intermediate Emergency Medical Technicians, Midwives, Optometrists, Paramedics, Physician Assistants, Podiatrists, Respiratory Therapists, and Veterinarians, as well as medical students, nursing students, and other healthcare students in the previously listed professions under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services will launch a new website to help individuals determine whether they are eligible to sign up to volunteer to administer shots.

Providing tools to make it easier for individuals to find a vaccine. The President will announce steps to make it easier for individuals to find a vaccine near them and address some of the barriers to getting vaccinated.

Find a Vaccination Website: By May 1st, as vaccines are available in more places, the Administration will launch a federally-supported website that will show the locations near them that have vaccines.

1-800 Number: To offer a tool for those who may lack Internet access, we will launch a call center by May 1st to provide guidance and assistance with finding a vaccine.

Technical Support to Improve Existing State Websites:  Since many Americans use their state websites to schedule appointments, the Administration will also deploy technology teams to states who need assistance to improve their websites.

Our COVID-19 efforts will always be guided by science and the step-by-step approaches to get Americans back to the important people and activities in their lives that they have been missing. Today, the President announced that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will continue to issue clear guidance for individuals on what they can do after being fully vaccinated.

Additional CDC Guidance on Activities for the Vaccinated:  As we approach July 4th, based on the best available science and the pace of vaccinations, the CDC will provide public health guidance for people as they travel, participate in small gatherings, and go to work and houses of worship.

Benefits of Vaccination:  CDC guidance and other CDC messaging will make the benefits of vaccination clear to encourage more Americans to get vaccinated.  

Take New Steps to Reopen the Nation’s Schools. Reopening schools safely is critical to getting closer to normal. Tonight, President Biden laid out new steps in the school reopening effort. 

Ensure schools have the resources they need: Now that the American Rescue Plan has passed, the nearly $130 billion to safely reopen schools for in-person instruction will begin to be distributed this month by the Department of Education. These dollars will help schools pay for the critical supplies to implement the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommended mitigation strategies, hire more staff – and avoid laying off current staff – to accommodate the need for smaller class sizes due to physical distancing, and support children’s academic, social and emotional needs after a challenging year. 

Expand screening testing in schools:  We will immediately take steps to help schools implement regular screening testing to assist them in safely reopening classrooms, including through tests and test supplies as well as implementation assistance to make it easier for schools to adopt a testing program.  This month, HHS will award $650 million in an initial investment in expanding K-8 school testing and testing in underserved congregate settings through new regional coordinating centers that will identify existing testing capacity, match it up to an area of need and support testing. This effort will begin to bring more testing to teachers, staff, and students and serve as a bridge to the comprehensive testing investment in the American Rescue Plan that is critical to get the pandemic under control.

Provide guidance and support:  The Department of Education (ED) will host a national Safe School Reopening Summit this month that will bring together students, teachers, families, community organizations, and state, local, or school leadership to provide assistance in implementing the CDC K-12 operational strategy for in-person instruction and supporting the academic, social, and emotional well-being of students.  ED also is launching the “Safer Schools and Campuses Best Practices Clearinghouse” called for in President Biden’s Executive Order.  The Clearinghouse will highlight lessons learned and best practices that can help schools and districts identify opportunities to best utilize American Rescue Plan funds to meet their individual needs. Next month, ED will release Volume 2 of its K-12 COVID-19 Handbook for districts, schools, and educators with strategies to address the impact of COVID-19 on students, educators, and staff, especially for historically underserved students and communities that have been hit hardest by the pandemic.

Help educators get vaccinated:  Throughout March, the Administration will advance our efforts to support educators, school staff and childcare workers getting vaccinated.  Last week, the President announced that he is using the Administration’s authority to direct states to make Pre-K-12 school staff and child care workers eligible for vaccinations and that the Administration will prioritize educators in the federal pharmacy program.  The President challenged all 50 states to get Pre-K-12 school staff and child care workers their first shot by the end of this month. To help meet that goal, the Administration is working with education leaders, advocates, child care providers, community leaders, states and others to help reach educators and to disseminate toolkits and other resources to help amplify the importance of getting vaccinated.

Continue Effort to Combat Variants and Spread of COVID-19: As we work to get more people vaccinated, we will continue to take steps to combat the spread of variants including expanding testing and genomic sequencing.

Expand testing to help stop the spread of COVID-19.  While testing to date has been primarily focused on individuals with symptoms and potential exposures – and this testing remains critical – we will expand testing to ensure that we are identifying asymptomatic infection early to stop the spread.  With the nearly $50 billion in testing funding in the American Rescue Plan, the Administration will invest in screening testing to help schools reopen safely, expand testing in congregate settings like shelters for individuals experiencing homelessness, prisons, and other settings where individuals live in close quarters.  This funding also will help to close supply gaps and address critical raw material shortages that have plagued the testing supply chain.  And, with new investments in our manufacturing base, we will be able to increase easier to use and more affordable point-of-care and at-home testing.

Identify variants by expanding genomic sequencing.  Thanks to the American Rescue Plan’s $1.75 billion investment, we will dramatically expand our ability to sequence samples to identify, track, and mitigate emerging variants.  This will build on the nearly $200 million that the Administration announced last month to grow the number of samples sequenced from 7,000 to approximately 25,000.  Growing sample sizes will improve our ability to detect emerging variants and work to mitigate their spread.

Biden Administration Launches Whole-of-Government Effort to Get More People Vaccinated Against COVID

The Biden Administration’s Retail Pharmacy Program launched a few weeks ago and this week, will see an increase in allocation to neighborhood pharmacies to 2.1 million doses. The administration is well on its way to fulfilling the goal of 100 million vaccinations in the first 100 days.

The Biden-Harris Administration has launched a comprehensive, whole-of-government effort to get more people vaccinated—by increasing vaccine supply, increasing vaccinators, and increasing the number of places to get vaccinated. As part of this strategy, the Administration is supporting and launching federally-supported community vaccination centers nationwide in places people know and trust: community centers, schools, and stadiums. These community vaccination centers help achieve the President’s goal of administering 100 million shots in 100 days and getting vaccines to Americans more rapidly and more equitably.
On his first day in office, the President set a goal of launching or supporting 100 community vaccination centers in his first month. President Biden announced that since January 20, the federal government has provided critical support in the form of personnel, funding, and/or equipment to help establish or expand 441 community vaccination centers nationwide.

The government has reported that 50 million vaccinations have been administered in the first 38 days since Biden entered office, suggesting he will reach his goal of 100 million vaccinations in the first 100 days much earlier.

This includes:

60% of people over 75 received at least one shot

50% over 65 have received one shot

75% of people in long term care facilities received at least one shot.

Meanwhile, a third vaccine, Johnson & Johnson, is about to be authorized for use. This is a one-shot dose that does not need special handling, and will supplement the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

On February 24, Jeff Zients, COVID-19 Response Coordinator, announced the fifth consecutive week of supply increases to states, tribes, and territories, from 8.6 million doses when Biden took office to 14.5 million doses this week.  That’s an increase in vaccine allocations to states of nearly 70 percent during the Biden-Harris administration.
 
The Retail Pharmacy Program launched a few weeks ago and this week, will see an increase in allocation to pharmacies to 2.1 million doses. 
 
So, with 14.5 million doses allocated to states, tribes, and territories and 2.1 million through the federal Retail Pharmacy Program, the weekly supply of doses has been nearly doubled in just five weeks.
 
Second, the Biden Administration is mobilizing teams to get shots in arms, deploying over 800 federal personnel as vaccinators, funding 1,200 National Guard members to serve as vaccinators, and deploying 1,000 federal personnel to support community vaccination sites in operational and support roles.
 
Third, the Biden Administration continues to create more places where Americans can get vaccinated, expanding financial support to bolster community vaccination centers nationwide, with over $3.6 billion in FEMA funding to 44 states, tribes, and territories for vaccination efforts. “We’re bringing vaccinations to places communities know and trust: community centers, high school gyms, churches, and stadiums nationwide.”
 
The administration continues to work with states to set up innovative, high-volume, federally run sites that can each give over 30,000 shots a week.  These sites are up and running in California and are ramping up in Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania.
 
Federal programs have been launched to get vaccines to pharmacies and local community health centers. 

“As we’ve always said, we’re committed to providing clarity on our progress, and that includes when we hit bumps in the road. Last week, we got hit with the very severe weather, which impacted the vaccination supply chain — from manufacturing, to shipping, to the ability to get shots in arms.  The manufacturers, the shipping firms, the states, the tribes, the territories, and pharmacies worked to overcome these challenges.
 
“And despite all the temporary weather-related delays, our seven-day average daily doses administered is at 1.4 million.  And we’ve already caught up on the weather-related shipping backlog.
 
Teams worked throughout last weekend to pack and ship doses.  On Monday, yesterday, 7 million doses — two days ago — 7 million doses were delivered.  That, coupled with the 14.5 million doses allocated this week, results in record supply going to the states.  We’ve encouraged states to get needles into arms by extending vaccine clinic hours, offering services 24 hours a day where possible, adding weekend appointments, and having more staff on hand.
 
“On this point, I want to stress that if states do not have the staff to work around the clock and on the weekends, the federal government stands ready to help.”
 
As soon as an Emergency Use Authorization is issued for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, Zients said the government anticipates allocating 3 to 4 million doses next week.  Johnson & Johnson has announced it aims to deliver a total of 20 million doses by the end of March.  “We’re working with the company to accelerate the pace and timeframe by which they deliver the full 100 million doses, which is required by contract by the end of June….We will waste no time getting this lifesaving vaccine into the arms of Americans.”

FACT SHEET:
441 Federally-Supported Community Vaccination Centers in First Month of Biden-Harris Administration

Since January 20, the Biden-Harris Administration has supported the establishment or expansion of 441 community vaccination centers across 37 states, territories, and the District of Columbia.
 

As of this week:

  • 171 sites are being supported by federal personnel: The Biden-Harris Administration has deployed 2,225 personnel nationwide to support vaccination operations, including expert logisticians, vaccinators and non-medical operational staff serving as greeters, clerks and other critical support roles. Personnel are assigned from agencies across the federal government, including the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); U.S. Department of the Interior (DoI); U.S. Department of Defense (DoD); U.S. Coast Guard (USCG); U.S. Forest Service (USFS); Veterans Affairs (VA); U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS); and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
  • 312 sites are being supported by federally-funded National Guard members under Title 32 orders: This means more people to deliver vaccinations, handle logistics, and coordinate the pandemic response. In total, the Administration is supporting 1,200 National Guard vaccinators across 43 states and territories.
  • 177 sites have received federal funding: At the President’s direction, FEMA is reimbursing 100% of costs for vaccination operations. This funding covers critical supplies, staffing, training, and transportation needs that support increased vaccination distribution and administration. The funding flows to states, localities, Tribes, territories, and eligible non-profits.  
  • 62 sites have received federal equipment: From folding chairs to sharps containers to dry ice, the federal government has provided a range of equipment to meet state, local, Tribal, and territorial needs and help establish or expand sites.

Federal Pilot Community Vaccination Centers
Additionally, the Biden-Harris Administration has announced 18 federally-established community vaccination centers, with the ability to administer a total of 61,000 shots per day at full capacity. For these sites, the federal government is directly working with state and local partners from start to finish, to help select the location for, staff, and operate these sites.

The Biden-Harris Administration is placing equity at the core of the federal government’s strategy to defeat the pandemic. FEMA has partnered with CDC and state and local partners to locate vaccination centers in places that aim to reach hard-hit, high-risk communities, deploying CDC’s Social Vulnerability Index and similar state and local measures. Ensuring access is a priority in the design of the Federal Pilot community vaccination centers, with some featuring weekend and extended daytime hours, reserved slots for registration through faith-based and community-based organizations, and deployment alongside mobile vaccination units to help vaccinate surrounding communities.
Two sites opened in California on February 16, administering over 90,000 shots since opening, with additional vaccinations from the four mobile clinics based out of these locations and bringing vaccines directly to surrounding communities. Five other Federal Pilot sites opened this week, with three in Texas and two in New York. Additional sites announced in Florida, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and North Carolina are launching in the coming weeks, with more to be announced.

Launched Federal Pilot Community Vaccination Centers:

  • Oakland Coliseum – Oakland, CA: FEMA partnered with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) to open the site on February 16, with the capacity to vaccinate 6,000 individuals a day. At the time of launch, 231 federal personnel were deployed to support site vaccinations and operations, including 125 from FEMA, 85 from USFS, and 21 from NDMS. The Coliseum is adjacent to the communities of Eastmont and Elmhurst, which have some of the lowest health scores in the state. The site operates 7 days a week with drive-through and pedestrian options. Appointments were reserved for faith and community-based organizations to register their communities.
  • California State University, Los Angeles – Los Angeles, CA: FEMA partnered with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) to open the site on February 16, with the capacity to vaccinate 6,000 individuals a day. At the time of launch, 256 personnel were deployed to support site vaccinations and operations, including 222 from DoD, 30 from FEMA, and four from USFS. The institution is one of the most diverse public universities in the country, serving a large Latinx community. The site operates 7 days a week with drive-through and pedestrian options. Appointments were reserved for faith and community-based organizations to register their communities.
  • NRG Stadium – Houston, TX: FEMA and the Texas Division of Emergency Management opened this site on February 24, with the capacity to vaccinate 6,000 individuals a day. The 11-lane drive-through site operates 7 days a week, and the state is conducting targeted outreach to provide registration support. Harris County is highly diverse, home to the nation’s second-largest Hispanic and Latinx population of any U.S. county.
  • Fair Park – Dallas, TX: FEMA and the Texas Division of Emergency Management opened the site on February 24, with the capacity to vaccinate 3,000 individuals a day. The 12-lane drive-through site operates 7 days a week, and the state is conducting targeted outreach to provide registration support. Dallas County is highly diverse, with nearly two-thirds of its population Hispanic and/or Black.
  • Globe Life Field – Arlington, TX: FEMA and the Texas Division of Emergency Management will open the site on February 26, with the capacity to vaccinate 3,000 individuals a day. The site operates 7 days a week with drive-through and pedestrian options, and the state is conducting targeted outreach to provide registration support.
  • Medgar Evers College – Brooklyn, NY: FEMA and New York State opened the site on February 24, with the capacity to vaccinate 3,000 individuals a day. The site is located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. For the first week of scheduling, appointments were reserved specifically for eligible residents living in areas with low vaccination rates, before opening to all eligible borough residents. The state is additionally partnering with faith leaders to encourage sign-up, and the MTA is launching a pilot program to enhance bus service to connect New Yorkers to the vaccination site.
  • York College – Queens, NY: New York State and FEMA opened the site on February 23, with the capacity to vaccinate 3,000 individuals a day. The site is located in Jamaica, Queens. For the first week of scheduling, appointments were initially reserved for eligible residents living in areas with low vaccination rates, before opening to all eligible borough residents. The state is additionally partnering with faith leaders to encourage sign-up, and the MTA is launching a pilot program to enhance bus service to connect New Yorkers to the vaccination site.

Announced Federal Pilot Community Vaccination Centers, opening soon:

  • Miami-Dade Community College (North Campus) – Miami, FL: With state partners, FEMA will open the site on March 3. The site is expected to vaccinate 3,000 individuals a day.
  • Tampa Greyhound Track – Tampa, FL: With state partners, FEMA will open the site on March 3. The site is expected to vaccinate 3,000 individuals a day.
  • Valencia College West Campus – Orlando, FL: With state partners, FEMA will open the site on March 3. The site is expected to vaccinate 3,000 individuals a day.
  • Gateway Mall – Jacksonville, FL: With state partners, FEMA will open the site on March 3. The site is expected to vaccinate 3,000 individuals a day.
  • New York National Guard Armory – Yonkers, NY: FEMA and the State of New York will open the site on March 3. The site is expected to vaccinate 1,000 individuals a day and will operate with extended hours to better reach local residents.
  • Former Kodak Hawkeye Lot – Rochester, NY: FEMA and the State of New York will open the site on March 3. The site is expected to vaccinate 1,000 individuals a day and will operate with extended hours to better reach local residents.
  • Delavan Grider Community Center – Buffalo, NY: FEMA and the State of New York will open the site on March 3. The site is expected to vaccinate 1,000 individuals a day and will operate with extended hours to better reach local residents.
  • Washington Avenue Armory – Albany, NY: FEMA and the State of New York will open the site on March 3. The site is expected to vaccinate 1,000 individuals a day and will operate with extended hours to better reach local residents.
  • Pennsylvania Convention Center – Philadelphia, PA: With state partners, FEMA will open this site as early as March 3. The site is expected to vaccinate 6,000 individuals a day.
  • United Center – Chicago, IL: With state partners, FEMA will open this site on March 10. The site is expected to vaccinated 6,000 individuals a day.
  • Four Seasons Center – Greensboro, NC: With state partners, FEMA will open this site on March 10. The site is expected to vaccinated 3,000 individuals a day.

Experts Predict Most Significant Wellness Trends for 2021

Between the coronavirus pandemic and the specter of future pandemics, climate-change borne insects and illness, coupled with the advances in medicine and medical technology and the demand for universal health care and equity, there is new focus and demand for prevention and wellness and more focus on self-care. © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

The coronavirus pandemic and the specter of future pandemics. Climate-change borne insects and illness. Advances in medicine and medical technology. The demand for universal health care and equity. With all of these developments are producing new focus and demand for prevention, wellness and self-care.

In other words, don’t get sick and place more stresses on an overwhelmed and unaffordable health care system.

Indeed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 69 percent of all deaths globally each year are the result of preventable diseases and that the global cost of largely preventable chronic diseases (cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, diabetes and more) could reach $47 trillion by 2030 (World Economic Forum, 2017).

In light of this, the Global Wellness Institute has launched a fundraising challenge for The Wellness Moonshot: A World Free of Preventable Disease,  a global fight to eradicate preventable, chronic diseases. GWI is a nonprofit organization with a mission to empower wellness worldwide by educating the public and private sectors about preventative health and wellness.

At its recent Global Wellness Summit (GWS), the organization unveiled the top nine wellness trends for 2021, the new directions that will have the most meaningful impact on the $4.5 trillion global wellness industry:

Global Wellness Summit Trends Report: “The Future of Wellness 2021”

In this report, wellness industry analysts and experts identify the nine wellness trends that will have the most meaningful–not fleeting–impact in 2021 and beyond.

  1. Hollywood and the Entertainment Industries Jump into Wellness
  2. The Future of Immune Health: Stop Boosting, Start Balancing
  3. Spiritual and Numinous Moments in Architecture
  4. Just Breathe!
  5. The Self-Care Renaissance: Where Wellness and Healthcare Converge
  6. Adding Color to Wellness
  7. Resetting Events with Wellness: You may never sit on a banquet chair again
  8. Money Out Loud: Financial Wellness is Finding Its Voice
  9. 2021: The Year of the Travel Reset (The year when all travel may become wellness travel)

Forecasting trends in the fast-evolving wellness space is daunting every year. In 2020, we experienced a global pandemic, economic meltdown, racial injustice, polarizing politics, and a mental wellness crisis that changed every aspect of human life­­. The pandemic made wellness radically more important to people overnight, while the coronavirus exposed the terrible human cost for not controlling chronic, underlying conditions, radically strengthening the case for preventative wellness. At the same time, there was accelerated fatigue with a wellness industry overly focused on elitist, hyper-trendy, evidence-free wellness solutions—which suddenly feel “so 2019.”

Wellness today is at a watershed moment. The trends report reflects how wellness is poised to take a bigger seat at the healthcare table (see “The Self-Care Revolution” trend). It predicts a future industry that will be more inclusive, accessible and affordable (see the “Adding Color to Wellness,” “The Entertainment Industry Jumps into Wellness,” and “Just Breathe!” trends). How it will basically “get real” and more evidence-based (see “The Future of Immune Health: Stop Boosting, Start Balancing”)—and tackle tougher, more crucial human pain-points (see “Money Out Loud: Financial Wellness Is Finding Its Voice”). And the report also predicts how wellness will continue to rewrite vast industries, from travel, to architecture and design, to the meetings industry.

This wellness forecast is based on the insights of hundreds of top executives of wellness companies, economists, doctors, investors, academics and technologists­ (from dozens of nations) that gathered in person and virtually at the recent Summit to debate where wellness was headed—making for a particularly informed, global set of predictions.

1. Hollywood and the Entertainment Industries Jump into Wellness

By Beth McGroarty, VP, Research & Forecasting, Global Wellness Summit

Wellness will become a bigger, more meaningful programming focus on TV and in the music industry. Big Media is digesting the huge cultural force wellness has become.

For wellness purists, any trend about Goliath TV, music and tech companies moving into wellness programming can cause eye rolls; It must be…inauthentic. But for anyone serious about “wellness for all,” more wellness experiences at Big Media platforms are a story of unprecedented reach, access and affordability.

A New Wellness TV

If wellness programming on TV (whether Oprah or the Goop Lab) has been about wellness as a topic you passively consume, the future is TV content and platforms that involve and impact you.

Smart TVs are baking wellness “channels” onto their home screens. Samsung TVs launched Samsung Health, letting people binge 5,000 hours of free fitness/meditation classes from the buzziest brands. The future: smart TVs (like Apple’s) that connect to your health wearable (like Apple Fitness+) to serve up personalized wellness/fitness experiences right on your TV.Samsung’s 2021 TVs’ “Smart Trainer” does just that: offering real-time coaching as you work out.

Wellness companies are becoming full-blown TV studios. Mega-meditation-apps, Calm and Headspace, recently scored TV shows (HBO Max and Netflix), translating their meditative experiences into immersive television. Meditation apps with TV series? Unthinkable just two years ago.

China is perfecting the marriage of wellness TV programming and e-commerce, and Waterbear Network is a new “Netflix” for climate activism.

Wellness Music Exploding

The ways that music is being created forstress, sleep, focus, a better workout, or just trippy, ambient bliss…has kicked into high gear. It’s a paradigm shift: If music has always been consumed around artist, song and genre, now it’s “serve me music-as-therapy (with a specific emotional vibe), exactly when I need it.”

The big music sites (Spotify, Amazon, Apple) are really ramping up their music-for-wellbeing content, making “wellness” a new listening channel. Think: rock, jazz, hip-hop… “chill”… “sleep.”

Meditation apps are becoming big wellness musicrecord labels.” Calm’s music division keeps partnering with more big artists for adult lullabies or chill-out tracks. Headspace just named its first Chief Music Officer and came out swinging by hiring John Legend to create its original wellness music.

More apps are launching, specifically focused on music-for-wellbeing: the new Myndstream app and label produce music to help people chill out, sleep or focus; Muru Music Health, the first streaming platform aimed at people over 60, uses AI to deliver tailor-made music to prevent brain aging. The Soul Medicine app serves up music all composed around a 432 MHz frequency, which studies have shown works to synch sides of your brain and decrease heart rate.

Generative music technology—where your biometrics meet neuroscientist-designed sound—will take sound-as-precision-medicine to radical places, moving out of start-up labs and onto bigger media platforms. Endel pulls your heart rate, movement and circadian data to create a constantly changing “sound blanket” to help you de-stress, focus and sleep. They have big plans, including creating “smart house” tech that constantly adapts sound, light and temperature based on your physical/mental state.

Celebrities are now all over wellness, not just as spokespeople but as company founders, execs, and major investors. They are a rising, not-to-be-ignored force in the global wellness investment space.

Sure, many dream of creating the next money-minting GOOP empire, but it’s more than that: Wellness is becoming a powerful way for celebrities to positively rebrand during a health, racial inequity and environmental crisis. More celebs will keep investing in wellness brands that tackle serious social issues—from women’s sexual wellness to bringing wellness to Black and brown communities. Selena Gomez’s new brand Rare Beauty underwrites her Rare Impact Fund, pledging $100 million for mental health services in underserved communities.

The future: more collaborations between Big Media (who know a few things about high-quality, immersive content) and the wellness world (who has done a far better job than doctors in getting people obsessed with health).We need binge-able wellness programming—of all kinds. A trend that could impact billions of lives and feels awfully overdue.

2. The Future of Immune Health: Stop Boosting, Start Balancing

By Beth McGroarty, VP, Research & Forecasting, Global Wellness Summit

People were blitzed with “immune-boosting” supplements, foods and therapies in 2020. The future: more evidence-backed approaches to immune health, with metabolic health, the microbiome, and personalized nutrition becoming crucial—along with more experimentation with everything from “positive stress” experiences to intermittent fasting for immune resilience.

We join many forecasters in naming immune health a 2021 trend, not only because we agree that it will remain a consumer obsession post-vaccine but because the main ways the wellness industry has been addressing it are…flat-out wrong.

First, the idea that you can “boost” your immunity is unscientific nonsense, and “more boosting” is precisely the wrong approach: A supercharged immune system leads to the body attacking itself, the pathway to autoimmune diseases, and the cytokine storm that killed COVID-19 patients.

Second, the wellness market has led with pop-it, guzzle-it, IV-drip-it, “immune-boosting” superfoods and supplements, none of which can change the complex immune system much. So many sexy products like elderberry-adaptogen gummies in prescription-like bottles. How did wellness become such a Big-Pharma-simulating world?

The future: approaches that lead to immuno-stabilization, immuno-balance. Most are the untrendy pillars of wellness: exercise, sleep and stress-reduction.

But with new research and lessons from COVID-19, some things become far more important:

Metabolic health: COVID-19 brutally exposed the connection between metabolic ill-health and immune dysfunction, as people with metabolic issues (far more widespread than obesity and diabetes) were more likely to get sick and die. The #1 thing to strengthen our immunity: refocus on diets that drive metabolic health (and stop the profusion of trendy ones that don’t). This means embracing some version of the Mediterranean Diet.

The microbiome: An incredible 70% of our immune system is headquartered in our “gut.” And new research from PREDICT (the world’s largest research project on how individuals respond to food) on the gut-immune health connection is profound, finding diet is the # 1 determinant of our microbiome (trumping genetics). Other new studies have found that the gut microorganisms of COVID-19 patients look radically different than those of uninfected people.

More people will embrace the generic gut-health weapons: fiber-rich, whole, unprocessed foods; prebiotics; fermented probiotics; and now even postbiotics are coming. New research shows that the same foods impact individuals’ microbiomes (and metabolic health) very differently, so labs are working overtime to crack the insanely complex, 100-trillion-cell microbiome to create better testing models for personalized nutrition. Two scientist-founded microbiome testing companies to watch: Israel’s Day Two and Zoe Global, founded by the doctors behind PREDICT.

Personalized nutrition: All of this means far greater urgency for personalized nutrition in general. The gold standard: advanced, integrated genetic, bloodmarker, and microbiome testing (and UCSF is working on). So many companies are putting together the pieces in the meantime, such as MYX Health, using one-prick bloodspot tech to test everything from average blood sugar levels to inflammation markers for tailored nutrition plans.

We’ll see more experimentation with:

Intermittent fasting: Research mounts that intermittent fasting can dramatically “flip the switch” on immune system regeneration. Studies also indicate that daily fasting windows and special “fast-mimicking” diets show significant, positive immune impact, but multi-day, water-only fasts hurt immune response.

“Positive stress” experiences: Human immune systems evolved around constant, short stresses (how we survived), but now we sit at desks with temperatures always tuned to 72 degrees. Voluntary “positive stress” experiences—hot and cold; fasting; types of breathwork; high-intensity, short bursts of exercise—are proven to have a short-term, positive immune effect. All will rise in wellness, from the Wim Hof Method to wild swimming to home infrared saunas. The first human clinical trial testing on whether regular positive stress experiences have a long-term impact on our cellular biology and the immune system is coming soon.

“Immunity travel”: Wellness resorts rushed to immunity programs when the pandemic hit: so many add-on, “immune-boosting” menus and IV drips. Now destinations will go deeper, more medical, and revolve around interventions that matter more: from in-depth metabolic and immune profile testing to gut health and personalized nutrition—such as Germany’s Buchinger Wilhelmi. Biohacking centers, such as BelleCell in London, are deploying futuristic tech, such as IV laser therapy and hyperbaric oxygen chambers, to target “cellular bioresilience” and the immune system.

After a long 2020, people are aware that their immune health is a holistic affair, that food and the microbiome are lynchpins, and that “slow” not “hyper” strategies are the difference-makers. People will keep gobbling trendy quick-fixes in trendy bottles, but they’re ready for more. A wellness industry newly focused on the hard—and fast-evolving—immune science could extend and save many lives. And help its own reputation along the way.

3. Spiritual and Numinous Moments in Architecture
By Veronica Schreibeis Smith, Founding Principal, Vera Iconica Architecture and Developments

In recent years, a storm of studies has demonstrated the powerful connection between the built environment and our physical health, and a new “wellness architecture” has taken off, heavily focused on functional design moves, whether circadian lighting or air purification.

What has been glossed over is design that can tap into and nurture our spirituality. In 2021, we will see new attention paid to creating everyday spaces that can incite sacred and numinous moments, that elevate our consciousness and potential, and ground us in gravitas in the midst of a mindless, consumerist society. Architecture and design will move up Maslow’s Pyramid, from our recent era of look-at-me, visually ostentatious fads (luxury McMansions that reside in the “Esteem” tier) to a new architecture reaching for the “Self-Actualization” tier—a built environment that can move our souls.

Thin places: We will see more experimentation with creating special “thin places” that dissolve the veil between ordinary, everyday places and the sacred realm. Architect Dr. Phillip Tabb has identified 16 shared traits, including transitioning into the space with a threshold, much light and luminosity, and the beneficial manifestations of nature. Thin places move us from the secular, overwhelming pace of our daily lives to a sacred, more empowered state, and neuroscience has shown that this non-ordinary architecture has the same impact on our brains as meditation.

Ancient revivals: Feng shui principles are well-known, but we will see interest in other ancient traditions such as Vastu architecture, which also uses techniques like orientation, proportions, astrology, placement of rooms/furnishings, and blessing ceremonies to improve human energy. There will be more interest in sacred geometry and BioGeometry to create spiritual spaces rooted in the math of nature. And we will see a revival of the temple in both faith-based and everyday architecture.

“Nudge architecture”: Nudge architecture is the concept ofdesigning cues into the environment that influence behavior while still allowing people to make their own choices. For example, placing meditation coves in workplace courtyards (baking spirituality into everyday life) or placing a beautiful stairway in building entries and tucking elevators into back corridors (baking movement into life). 

A Spiritual Home: We will rethink layouts in our homes that we take for granted, such as designing the “bath room” as an elevated space for bathing rituals rather than basic hygiene (i.e., the toilet must move).  Wellness kitchens[1] will be designed so that preparing whole foods becomes a joyful, relaxing ritual—and bedrooms will become sleep sanctuaries, thoughtfully arranged to reflect the sacredness of winding down in preparation for dreamtime.

The new spiritual architecture means we will no longer accept secular environments that disregard a need to uplift us emotionally, maximize our cognitive performance, bring us to the present moment, and allow us space to breathe and be mindful. Spiritual wellbeing is an inextricable part of a well life and rightfully deserves more design consideration and designated spaces in our homes, workplaces, communities and urban landscapes.

Just breathe. Taking a meditative break on a hike in Death Valley National Park (c) Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

4. Just Breathe! 

By Sandra Ballentine, Editor at Large, W Magazine

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to know where your chakras are or what a didgeridoo sounds like to do breathwork. An increasing number of clinical studies from major universities like Harvard, Stanford and Johns Hopkins are putting science and data behind something we’ve actually known for centuries—the way we breathe has profound effects on our mental and physical health and abilities. It might even help us strengthen our immune systems. Many of us have heard of top performers (think leading athletes, elite military personnel and major rock stars) using their breath to aid focus and reduce fear at critical moments, but the beauty of breath is that anyone can access its power, even children.

This trend explores the people, the techniques, the places, and the new technologies pushing the practical magic of breathwork into exciting—and important—new directions.

Practitioners are bringing breathwork to ever-larger audiences and pushing it into fascinating new territories, including rehabilitation, fitness and community building and relief from chronic stress, trauma and PTSD. Breath artist, Sage Rader, brings modern breathwork to the masses with a rock-star delivery, alchemizing science and spirituality into entertainment, while Jasmine Marie’s Black Girls Breathing delivers meditational breathwork as mental healthcare for Black women. This trend looks at techniques, whether nose breathing, the lengthened exhale, or the “sigh,” as specific brain and body medicine.

Cool, clubby breathwork parties and festivals are rising, such as Donovan McGrath’s (creator of Amplified Yoga, one of L.A.’s hottest live music-driven fitness classes) plans to introduce Amplified Ecstatic Breath, a breathwork social hour (complete with mood-shifting lights and a live DJ) as soon as people can meet again. Hospitality is taking a much bigger breath, with more—and more diverse—breathwork programming everywhere from Six Senses’ global resorts to Chablé Yucatan and Chablé Maroma in Mexico.

If breathwork apps have been around, gaining traction now are handheld devices that track air quality and fitness/health wearables that incorporate breathing-related metrics like breathing rate, pulse oximetry, heart-rate variability and habitual breathing patterns. There’s so much action in breath-tech, such as Israel-based start-up Anicca set to launch its Companion device, which regulates the wearer’s emotions by amplifying the sensation of their breathing as a calming vibration on their body.

Certain breathing techniques can help strengthen the lungs post-COVID-19, and there are even studies that point to breathwork as a possible therapeutic for one of the world’s deadliest diseases: hypertension. Perhaps the best part of all—this drug-free medicine costs absolutely nothing. And with so many accessible techniques and styles to choose from, there really is something for everyone and every situation. 

5. The Self-Care Renaissance: Where Wellness and Healthcare Converge

By Cecelia Girr & Skyler Hubler of Backslash, TBWA Worldwide

From 1400–1700, the Medical Renaissance marked a historic breakthrough in our approach to healthcare. Science began to dominate superstition. Anatomical discoveries paved the way for modern medicine. And yes, vaccines were in development.

Over three hundred years later, we’re undergoing a new kind of medical renaissance. One where two complementary yet often competing entities—healthcare and wellness—will converge. Wellness is learning to lean into science, establish standards, and hold itself accountable. At the same time, healthcare is beginning to borrow from the wellness playbook—transforming a once sterile and strictly curative industry into a more holistic, lifestyle-oriented, and even pleasurable one. In this new era, hospitals will take inspiration from five-star resorts, yoga studios might measure improved telomere length, and prescriptions may be coupled with hyper-personalized guides to optimal health.

Promising signs of governments, doctors and medicine giving wellness wings for widespread adoption are already emerging. Over in Singapore, for example, the government is teaming up with the world’s biggest tech giant to create a healthier society. Through the LumiHealth app and Apple Watch, Singaporeans can participate in country-wide wellness challenges and access personalized health programs until 2022. 

On the other end of the spectrum, we’re seeing healthcare take cues from the more pleasurable parts of wellness. Even the most dreaded semi-annual appointment—the dentist—is being rebranded as a self-care experience. Think seasonal toothpaste flavors, massage chairs in the lobby, and yes—your favorite Netflix show streaming on the ceiling.

As we look to a future where healthcare and wellness converge, there’s no better visual representation than Octave’s Sangha Retreat in Suzhou, China. On the property, there’s a corridor that runs from one side to the other. One end is home to conventional medicine, and the other hosts wellness practices ranging from acupuncture to more “out-there” devices that measure the age of your soul. Visitors are free to flow between the two sides based on their needs. 

The corridor at the Sangha Retreat presents what we believe is next for healthcare and wellness. A kind of yin yang approach where two seemingly opposing forces finally discover that they can—and must—work together. As Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier puts it, “Medicine is realizing that its roots have come from wellness traditions, and the wellness community is recognizing that not all doctors are evil.”

6. Adding Color to Wellness

A personal and professional reflection, as a Black woman living in the US, who researches the wellness industry

By Tonia Callender, Research Fellow, Global Wellness Institute

Graphic videos and the protests of last summer prompted many businesses to voice support for anti-racism. While diversity and inclusion have become a popular topic in the wellness industry, mainstream wellness companies ignore Black wellness consumers and rarely market to them.

Moreover, the industry disregards the value that talented Black wellness professionals can bring to wellness spaces, limiting them to entry-level or maintenance positions. This essay argues that to generate substantive change, the wellness industry must recognize and address the false narrative that wellness is for affluent white people. It discusses how the industry can add color to wellness by valuing Black consumers and wellness professionals and describes the different ways that Black people actually experience wellness offerings and spaces, highlighting racial inequalities.

Unequal wealth and the continued effects of residential segregation, racial bias and discrimination hinder Black wellness. Lack of access to good education, clean air, healthy food, potable water, and good health care hamper this ethnic group’s ability to protect and nurture its wellness. When compared to their fellow white citizens, Black Americans are more stressed and less healthy but have fewer choices. Racial bias and structural barriers continue to force unequal wellness options on Black people. Most importantly, for many people of color, even the least costly wellness practices can be difficult to pursue. This essay discusses some of the obstacles facing Black people who pursue wellness activities while providing a personal perspective on Black wellness experiences. Whether appreciating nature or engaging in physical activity, Black people face a different wellness landscape. For example, when it comes to mental wellbeing, they have more stress and fewer options. 

This piece also provides insights into the future, illustrating how companies are changing the wellness narrative and giving suggestions for how the wellness industry can add color to wellness. The industry can support Black wellness by allowing non-white groups to also shape the wellness narrative, incorporating Black wellness needs into services, spaces and products and valuing black wellness professionals. Companies such as Fenty Beauty in the beauty sector and the Shine app in the mental wellness space have found substantial success by incorporating Black wellness into their products and services, and both companies represent the vision of people of color who reject the current mainstream wellness narrative. They have not focused solely on Black wellness but have incorporated the needs of Black people into their wellness offerings. 

Global consumer markets are becoming more diverse, and Black and brown consumers are witnessing increased purchasing power. Companies that value wellness for all racial groups and income levels will thrive as they expand their consumer markets and increase business innovation and profitability. Wellness enterprises that value diversity, respect Black wellness needs, and work to support more equitable access, represent the future of wellness.   

7. Resetting Events with Wellness: You may never sit on a banquet chair again

By NancyDavis, Chief Creative Officer and Executive Director, GWI & GWS

In mid-March 2020, the pandemic brought in-person events to an abrupt halt. And no matter the power of technology and the gratitude we felt for Zoomed Wi-Fi connectivity, the world hungered for personal interactions.

But there was a silver lining: a new trend that will forever change meetings and events was born, with wellness at the core. The trend reinforces top-of-mind topics like health, safety and immunity and employs new protocols and technologies that mitigate risk in engaging ways. In 2021 and beyond, creativity is driving connection—and how we gather is taking on new—and healthier—meanings.

As the months passed, conflicting issues continued to converge in the world of meetings and events: a pent-up desire to travel, the still-spreading coronavirus, the uptick in virtual technologies, coupled with the unending human desire and need for connection.

The answer? New hybrid events (in-person and virtual gatherings) sprouted like mushrooms after a spring rain. Technology companies raced to be the platform for hosting hybrid meetings. Investors threw money at tech companies, and within months of the pandemic shutting down most in-person gatherings, new companies had taken hold, and a new world was emerging.

Moreover, the pandemic also generated the opportunity to reimagine not only how an event would take place but also how it could be healthier. The spark that ultimately combusted for the Global Wellness Summit (GWS) was an idea to “reset events with wellness” in an authentic and powerful way—ultimately creating a new trend for 2021.

The 14th annual Summit was to take place in November in Tel Aviv. However, when COVID-19 hit, the GWS quickly pivoted to a “Safe Summit.”  The now smaller event moved from Tel Aviv to The Breakers Palm Beach, and a virtual aspect was added, allowing more people to attend. A former US Surgeon General because the conference Medical Advisor, banquet seating became wellness stations, mandatory COVID-19 testing and temperature checks replaced handshakes and hugs, and buffet breaks were transformed to healthy snacks presented for carrying away. Mood lighting was turned into far-UVC and air purification, reducing viral load, and fun was reimaged with a “Mask-erade” with Distanced Disco Dancing.

Over 100 delegates attended the 2020 Global Wellness Summit in person at The Breakers, and over 500 attendees logged in virtually. It set a new standard for meetings and provided a road map for the future of healthy events.

8. Money Out Loud: Financial Wellness is Finding Its Voice

By Cecelia Girr & Skyler Hubler of Backslash, TBWA Worldwide

Money has topped the “do-not-discuss” list for decades—right alongside religion, sex and politics. But it’s 2021, and transparency is trending. A culture craving authenticity is breaking the money taboo—transforming finance from a hush-hush, one-size-fits-all, cut-and-dry industry to one that’s more human, empathetic, and, dare we say, fun. 

This growing openness is being driven by a much larger mental health awakening. We’re moving on from the vanities of look-good, feel-good wellness and lifting the lid off the heavier pressures that are contributing to an unhealthy society. And with research linking financial stress to anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, respiratory conditions, and more—it’s about time money is put under the microscope.

This growing financial wellness movement is moving money talk far beyond the bank. Financial therapists are tackling the intersection between money and mental health. Financial literacy courses are simplifying complicated finance bro jargon. And the three billion views of #personalfinance content on TikTok are proving that finance influencers are officially a thing. And the discussion is just getting started.

As the money conversation heats up, it’s being brought to the fore by those who have typically been excluded from dialogue altogether. We all engage with money daily, yet our experience with it vastly differs based on factors like race, socioeconomic status, age, personal values, and even sexual orientation. And though the majority of 2020 headlines felt hopeless, the year did bring promising signs of greater financial inclusivity. Jefa, a digital bank designed specifically for women in Latin America, and Majority, a banking service that sets immigrants up with the tools needed for financial success, are just two of the several hyper-personal neobanks that are emerging.

All positive progress starts with a conversation. In this case, the conversation is about money—how it makes us feel, how and why our experiences with it differ, and what ultimately needs to change. As the conversation becomes increasingly loud, inclusive and honest, the old voices will be shouted out by the new. We’ll begin to see the end of financial systems designed to profit from our failure and the start of financial wellness awakening. Money talks. It’s time we start using a language everyone can understand.

In 2021, all travel may have a measure of wellness travel. Seeking out restorative effects of being in nature, active travel,, travel sustainability with minimal impact like biking, hiking will continue to be popular (c) Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

9. 2021: The Year of the Travel Reset

The year when all travel may become wellness travel
By Elaine Glusac, columnist, New York Times

The coronavirus pandemic acted as a near-complete brake on travel in 2020. The pause gave everyone—consumers and suppliers—the opportunity to think about rebooting travel for the better by correcting overtourism, becoming more conscious of where the money goes, and how to use the enormous power of tourism to sustain cultures and environments and perhaps even leave them better off.

Looking ahead, the year 2021 may be the year that all travel becomes wellness travel. As home and work lives merged during the pandemic, work grew for many, prompting employers to emphasize self-care, beginning with vacations. Additionally, health assessments—including pre-arrival COVID-19 tests—are becoming vital precursors to travel. And vaccine passports are in development.

From the manic travel of 2019—which was the ninth year of record-setting growth in travel, outpacing global economic expansion—2021 will be the year of the travel reset, going slower, nearer and more mindfully. Fitfully too, mirroring the vaccination rollout, which has prompted optimism as well as tentativeness.

Some ways travel will be reset in 2021:

Making travel regenerative: or leaving a place better off than you found it. An example includes the Svart lodge in Norway, which plans to be energy positive, producing more solar power than it needs.

Challenging overtourism: finding ways to ensure that when travel rebounds, it doesn’t threaten to overrun attractions and communities.

Correcting undertourism: being mindful of the positive force travel can be by sustaining communities and ecosystems in encouraging conservation and local investment.

Tentative travel: taking cautious steps in travel to local and regional destinations before national and international ones as confidence in the health and safety of travel grows.

Embracing nature: discovering the healing power of nature, a movement unleashed during the pandemic, will continue as travelers continue to value isolation, slow travel and human-powered travel.

Putting purpose first: making travel more meaningful or purposeful, from planning family reunions to pursuing personal challenges like climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. 

Eventually, the widespread distribution of vaccines is expected to unleash a flood of travel, though the date the dam breaks is hard to foresee. For now, 2021 will be a year of resetting travel as a closer, slower, more careful, healthier pursuit as we emerge post-vaccine.

The full 97-page Global Wellness Summit Trends Report can be purchased  here.

The Global Wellness Summit is an invitation-only international gathering that brings together leaders and visionaries to positively shape the future of the $4.5 trillion global wellness economy. Held in a different location each year, Summits have taken place in the US, Switzerland, Turkey, Bali, India, Morocco, Mexico, Austria, Italy and Singapore. The 14th annual Summit took place at The Breakers Palm Beach, FL, from November 8–11, 2020. The 2021 GWS will be held in Tel Aviv, Israel, in November 2021. 

See also:
Pandemic Underscores Urgency for True Universal Healthcare with Added Emphasis on Wellness