Weekend News Roundup: Top 3
1. Government shutdown averted
Congress had until 11:59 p.m. Friday night to avoid a government shutdown. Following votes in the House and Senate, President Trump signed the one-week government funding bill Friday night. The stopgap measure will keep the government funded through next Friday, Dec. 18, giving Congress time to further negotiate a $1 trillion appropriations bill and a COVID relief package.
2. Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine authorized by FDA for emergency use
The FDA announced Friday night that the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech has been authorized for emergency use. Before the vaccine can be distributed, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet today to provide recommendations for vaccine use, and Pfizer will develop a factsheet with dosing instructions, risks, and benefits. The FDA was careful to not refer to the action as a full approval, noting that Pfizer is required to continue safety monitoring in order to consider full authorization. The vaccine will only be distributed to adults ages 16 and older. In Alabama, critical infrastructure workers include frontline health professionals and first responders, and older individuals in long-term care are highest priority, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.
3. The defense spending bill remains unsigned
After passing in the House with a veto-proof majority, the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act passed the Senate 84-13. It is now sitting on President Trump’s desk awaiting signature. For several weeks, Trump has threatened to veto the NDAA for various measures included in the bill. Trump has until late December to sign the bill.