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Expert Panel Addresses COVID-19 After the Public Health Emergency Ends

“The public health emergency has ended, but COVID-19 remains with us,” concluded an expert panel convened on May 19 by the Annals of Internal Medicine and the American College of Physicians to discuss COVID-19 now that the public health emergency has ended. “Nearly all COVID-19–related hospitalizations and deaths currently occur in people who are not fully vaccinated and have not received early treatment. Reducing hospitalizations and deaths will require ongoing action by front-line clinicians to increase rates of vaccination and prescription of therapy when indicated. Clinicians and the public must adjust to the current situation and be prepared to shift should this crafty virus evolve yet again.”

Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPH, the White House Coordinator of the COVID-19 Response, detailed the impact at the federal level of the May 11 end of the public health emergency declaration: “COVID-19 vaccines and therapies will remain free to persons who need them until depletion of the U.S. stockpile, which Dr. Jha predicted will happen in fall 2023. Dr. Jha expressed confidence that when people need to turn to public and commercial insurers to cover COVID-19 vaccines and therapies, they will be covered completely or with low out-of-pocket costs. He was confident that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) programs will provide access to persons without health insurance and that Project NextGen will yield preventive and therapeutic advances. Based at HHS with a $5 billion investment, Project NextGen is coordinating the federal government and the private sector to develop new vaccines and therapeutics.”

Video of program available at annals.org.

Source: Annals of Internal Medicine