In January 2021 the Bipartisan Commission on Biodefense released its latest report: The Apollo Program for Biodefense. Issued in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the report draws upon earlier findings of the Commission to call for a “moon shot”-style investment to prepare the US (and the world) for the ongoing reality of large-scale biological threats.
There is a global race for the development of a vaccine for the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Finding a vaccine that works and receives approval is only part of the process. There are a series of other steps that need to be taken so that the vaccine can be delivered. These include the mass production of the vaccine, shipment, administration and record-keeping. This may be even more complex as there may be several vaccines.
In this article we review some of these issues with a particular focus on the United States.
On August 10-11, 2020 the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) held its summer Tech Forum (see full agenda). This was a change in focus and format from their annual Interoperability Forum that has been held for the past several years. This year the forum was held virtually for the first time. The purpose of the forum was to convene industry experts and Federal partners to discuss technical innovations in health information technology and their potential impacts on the healthcare ecosystem. Senior ONC staff moderated the sessions, and I saw many of the “usual suspects” as well as some new faces presenting.
On March 9, 2020 the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released its final rule on the 21st Century Cures Act: Interoperability, Information Blocking, and the ONC Health IT Certification Program. Referred to by some people as the “Information Blocking Rule,” since this is the primary topic, the document actually covers a host of other issues related to interoperability driven primarily by requirements of the 21st Century Cures Act. In addition to the final rule itself you can read the ONC press release, a comparison between the proposed and final rules, and lots of other resources. The final rule was officially be published in the Federal Register on May 1, 2020.