On Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that the Biden Administration will purchase 1.7 million courses of Merck’s investigational antiviral treatment, molnupiravir, for COVID-19. The treatment is currently in Phase 3 of its clinical trial with final results expected in the fall of 2021. Once the results are public, the agreement will be finalized if the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) grants emergency use authorization (EUA) or approval. The Biden Administration also announced last week that they would purchase 500 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and donate them to the world’s poorest countries. The Administration is in similar talks with Moderna.
And in Massachusetts, House and Senate leaders named a conference committee on Monday to negotiate a final fiscal year 2022 budget bill. Members appointed to the committee were: Representatives Aaron Michlewitz of Boston, Ann-Margaret Ferrante of Gloucester and Todd Smola of Warren in the House, and Senators Michael Rodrigues of Westport, Cindy Friedman of Arlington and Patrick O’Connor of Weymouth in the Senate. Their hope is to get a report to the Governor by the beginning of the new fiscal year which begins on July 1.
On Thursday, the Senate passed Senate Bill 2467, an act relative to extending certain COVID-19 measures adopted during the state of emergency. This legislation, as drafted, proposes a months-long extension of numerous policies that expire on June 15. The bill was then sent to the House for consideration.
Legislation to extend certain COVID-19 measures adopted during the state of emergency was not finalized in advance of the Tuesday, June 15th deadline. The Massachusetts House is holding a formal session on Tuesday, where they will consider which pandemic-related policies they want to extend beyond the state of emergency expiration. The branches will need to iron out any differences in their bills, in advance of sending the proposal to the Governor.
Also in Massachusetts, Saturday marks the first observance of Juneteenth as a state holiday.