Health Care — CDC suggests monkeypox vaccine reduces infection

Last night, Lizzo played a crystal flute that once belonged to former President James Madison, becoming the first person to use the instrument in more than 200 years.

Very early data from the CDC appears to show the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine reduces the risk of infection.

Welcome to Overnight Health Care, where we’re following the latest moves on policy and news affecting your health. For The Hill, we’re Nathaniel Weixel and Joseph Choi. Subscribe here.

CDC: Unvaccinated at higher risk for monkeypox

People who were eligible for a monkeypox vaccine but did not receive one were about 14 times more likely to become infected than those who were vaccinated, according to preliminary data released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

While extremely limited, the figures offer an initial look at the effectiveness of the Jynneos vaccine in the real world. But there are also lots of caveats, so the results should be taken with a grain of salt.

  • The numbers are based on data collected from just 32 states, and there’s no way to distinguish how much of a reduction in cases is due to the vaccine alone and how much is due to behavioral changes among the most at-risk populations.

  • The data is also based on people who received just a single dose of the vaccine. According to the CDC, relatively few individuals in the current outbreak have completed the recommended two-dose series.

“What we have right now is data on how well our vaccine is working after a single dose. What we don’t yet have is what happens after a second dose and how durable that protection is,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said.

Messaging: But Walensky said officials want to make sure people get both doses. Lab studies have shown immune protection is highest two weeks after the second dose.

“That’s why we continue, even in light of these promising data, to strongly recommend people received two doses of Jynneos vaccine spaced out 28 days apart to ensure durable, lasting immune protection against monkeypox,” Walensky said.

Read more here.

White House hosts first hunger summit in decades

The Biden administration on Wednesday hosted a conference on hunger, nutrition and health, the first such conference the White House has hosted in more than 50 years.

Speaking at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, President Biden called for the U.S. to build on the measures passed under his administration meant to improve financial security for families, such as the expanded child tax credit and the Inflation Reduction Act.

Biden also proclaimed his aim of ending hunger in the U.S. by 2030.

  • “This goal’s within our reach. Let’s look at how far we’ve come on child poverty. Thirty years ago, as was referenced, 1 in 4 children lived below the poverty line. Today, 1 in 20 live below the poverty line. So I know we can tackle hunger as well,” said Biden.

He also noted the efforts made during his term so far to improve the economy, such as the more than $1 trillion COVID-19 recovery package, which he said have helped to address food insecurity issues.

“Soon after I came to office, I signed what’s called the American Rescue Plan into law. It helped put food on the table and keep a roof over the heads of millions of American families. It helped our economy create nearly 10 million new jobs. Most jobs created in that time frame in American history,” Biden said.

The White House’s anti-hunger strategy released on Tuesday laid out numerous goals, including expanding free school meals for children by 9 million by the year 2032. The administration also announced the creation of a pilot program to test medically tailored meals for Medicare.

Read more here.


Abortion rights group NARAL Pro Choice America is unveiling its final push to mobilize voters in the home stretch of the midterm elections.

The group is focusing on candidates and ballot initiatives in battleground states like Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona and Nevada, as well as California and Michigan, where voters will decide whether to enshrine abortion rights into their state constitutions.

The campaign will invest in phone banking, door knocking, youth organizing and canvassing, including a pilot program in Michigan with 14 organizers working on seven college campuses to enroll 14,000 voters, make 21,000 voter contacts and recruit more than 400 volunteers.

“Our message is simple: When you come for our rights, we’ll come for your seats,” said NARAL Pro-Choice America President Mini Timmaraju.

Abortion rights activists are seeking to harness Democratic anger over the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and turn it into an outpouring of support for candidates and pro-abortion rights ballot measures in states that will allow them.

Read more here.


A review by a federal oversight agency found that a quarter of Head Start grant recipients, federally funded programs that provide child care for low-income families, had incidents of child abuse, lack of supervision or unauthorized releases to adults.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a report on Wednesday of its findings based on incidents recorded from October 2015 to May 2020. The agency found more than 1,000 instances of abuse, neglect or unauthorized release over the nearly five-year period.

  • The most cited adverse finding was a lack of supervision among the programs, with nearly one 1 of 5 recipients found to have such incidents.

  • Twelve percent of grant recipients had incidents of child abuse.

  • Two percent of grant recipients had reported incidents of unauthorized release, where children were released to unauthorized adults.

In a statement provided to The Hill, an HHS spokesperson said, “The Administration for Children and Families takes every child safety incident seriously. Staff swiftly respond to any allegations to ensure children involved receive the support they need. Programs take corrective action to prevent future incidents and ensure every child has the opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential in a safe and healthy environment.”

Read more here.

McConnell downplays impact of abortion in Senate races

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Wednesday downplayed the impact of abortion politics on the battle for the Senate majority, predicting that the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade will play differently in different states.

McConnell has sought to make the 2022 midterm election a referendum on President Biden by focusing on inflation, the influx of migrants across the southern border and rising crime rates in big cities.

  • Asked Wednesday if he had been overly dismissive of the impact of abortion politics on the battle for the Senate, McConnell said: “I think that issue is playing out in different ways in different states.” 

Energized voters: Political handicappers now say that Democrats are favored to keep their Senate majority, in large part because Democrats are more eager to vote in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which struck down the right to abortion.

But the GOP leader argued that other issues are doing more to move voters nationwide.

“The three big national issues that we’re going to be addressing here that people are most concerned about, nationally, are the ones that I mentioned: Inflation, crime and open borders. That’s clearly where we’re going to be putting the focus,” he said.

Some Senate Republican strategists now concede the issue has revved up Democratic voters more than they expected. 

A Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted Sept. 18-19 showed that Republicans’ generic advantage over Democrats has slipped since February. 

Read more here.


  • New guidance released on diagnosing, treating long COVID symptoms (ABC News)

  • Patients face barriers to routine care as doctors warn of ripple effects from broad abortion bans (Politico)

  • Monkeypox outbreak slows in US, shifting focus to prevention (Bloomberg)


  • On the Texas-Mexico border, a bold plan to diversify Alzheimer’s research takes shape (Stat)

  • Montana health officials aim to boost oversight of nonprofit hospitals’ giving (Kaiser Health News)

  • Judge blocks Indiana abortion law requiring burial, cremation of fetal tissue (Indianapolis Star)


That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Health Care page for the latest news and coverage. See you tomorrow.


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