Last week, President Biden released his “American Jobs Plan,” which is positioned as “an investment in America that will create millions of good jobs, rebuild our country’s infrastructure, and position the United States to out-compete China.” Included in the plan and of particular interest to the life sciences industry are measures to “fund health and hospital infrastructure improvements; support home care workers; fund National Science Foundation research, including research on biotechnology; and increase funding for pandemic preparedness, including the development of medical countermeasures.” Also last week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the launch of a public education campaign to mobilize doctors, community leaders, businesses, and citizens and to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations. The announcement includes plans to launch a COVID-19 community corps, social media profile frames, and tv ads targeted towards key eligible groups.
In Massachusetts, Governor Baker signed, in part, House Bill 90, “An Act financing a program for improvements to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and providing relief to employers and workers in the Commonwealth.” As drafted, the bill authorizes “$7 billion in borrowing to stabilize the unemployment insurance system, establishing a paid sick leave program for COVID-19 emergencies, and reducing the size of premium increases employers face to fund the jobless benefits system.” Under the new law, employees will be eligible for up to five days of paid sick leave to ensure they and their families have the necessary protections in place to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Massachusetts is expected to receive more than 100,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week. Massachusetts will also be allocated some of its vaccine supply provided through FEMA to deploy mobile vaccination units in Chelsea, Revere, Boston, New Bedford, and Fall River.
As of Monday, residents between the age of 55-60 and those with one medical condition included on a U.S. Centers for Disease Control list are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The expanded eligibility comes as Massachusetts now has nearly 1.5 million residents fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and has administered nearly 3 million vaccines.
Today, Governor Charlie Baker will join Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont for a virtual press conference to discuss a joint effort to reduce the cost of prescription drugs for the residents of Massachusetts and Connecticut. A live stream will be available here. And, President Biden is expected to soon announce that every adult in the U.S. will be eligible by April 19 to be vaccinated.