Tuesday, March 28, 2023

N.J. Sent Out 675K Free COVID Tests, Only 113K Were Used. It Cost the State $75M; Moderna CEO Defends $130 COVID Vax Price After Bernie Sanders Jab, and other C-Virus related stories

N.J. sent out 675K free COVID tests, only 113K were used. It cost the state $75M:
Finding a COVID-19 test in December 2021, when New Jersey detected its first case of the omicron variant, was like hitting the jackpot.
The virus was then spreading quickly, just in time for the holidays. At the time, the state’s monthly average for new positive tests exploded by 196% over the month before and statewide hospitalizations soared by 140%.
Amid widespread demand, stores couldn’t keep rapid coronavirus tests on their shelves. Appointments for PCR tests were booked solid.
The shortage of tests was, in part, because testing wasn’t a priority through most of 2021 as the government focused on increasing vaccination and booster rates.
To answer the demand at a critical time, Gov. Phil Murphy announced a plan to provide free at-home PCR saliva tests for anyone who wanted one. The state expanded an already existing contract with Vault Health to fill a critical void at a time of dire need.
The program, which supplied tests that were distributed to both individual homes and clinics run by municipalities, delivered more than 1 million tests at a cost of nearly $110 million, paid from federal COVID funding, according to data provided to NJ Advance Media as part of an Open Public Records Act (OPRA). Nearly $75 million of those funds were for tests sent to residents’ homes, records show.
But of the more than 675,000 tests ordered by individual residents — at a cost of $111 a pop — only 113,000, or 16.8%, were taken and returned to the lab for results. That left more than $62 million spent on more than 557,000 tests that were never taken. --->READ MORE HERE
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Moderna CEO defends $130 COVID vax price after Bernie Sanders jab:
Moderna’s chief executive on Wednesday defended the company’s plan to quadruple the price of its COVID-19 vaccine, telling US lawmakers it will no longer have the economies of scale from government procurement when the shots move into the private market.
Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel was called to testify after the company flagged plans to raise the vaccine’s price to as much as $130 per dose drew the ire of Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders, who chairs the influential Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and has long demanded lower drug prices.
Sanders on Wednesday asked Bancel to reconsider the price hikes, saying they could make it unaffordable for millions of Americans and were unjustified given the government’s research contributions and $1.7 billion in assistance in developing the vaccine. His comments echoed his January letter to Bancel.
Bancel said Moderna’s next COVID-19 shots will be more expensive because they will be sold in single-dose vials or pre-filled syringes for the commercial market versus the 10-dose vials it has sold to the government up until now.
The government in May plans to end the COVID public health emergency, putting much of the vaccine purchasing in the hands of the private sector. --->READ MORE HERE
Follow links below to relevant/related stories and resources:

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USA TODAY: Coronavirus Updates

WSJ: Coronavirus Live Updates

YAHOO NEWS: Coronavirus Live Updates

NEW YORK POST: Coronavirus The Latest

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