Cali. gov signs bill to expand workers comp due to covid; a widespread vaccination could be available in 2024

By September 30, 2020 No Comments

CA governor signs bill to expand workers’ comp for those affected by covid-19

The law creates a presumption of infection whenever there is a workplace outbreak over a two-week span of time.

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill that will expand access to workers’ compensation for front-line workers affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic, according to the Bay City News Foundation.

Senate Bill 1159 creates a rebuttable presumption of infection for people like grocery store employees, health care workers, firefighters and law enforcement officers who believe they contracted the coronavirus at work.

The law creates a presumption of infection whenever there is a workplace outbreak over a two-week span of time.

SB 1159 will take effect immediately as an urgency statute and will remain in effect through Jan. 1, 2023.

Newsom also signed a bill that will require employers to report coronavirus outbreaks to their local public health department within 48 hours and to employees who may have been exposed within one business day.

Assembly Bill 685 also gives Cal/OSHA the authority to close a worksite or place of employment that is actively exposing workers to the risk of contracting the virus.

AB 685 will also remain in effect through Jan. 1, 2023.

Widespread distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine could take as long as 2024

Experts warn widespread distribution faces a long timeline

It is increasingly likely that one of the COVID-19 vaccines currently being tested will be approved or receive Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) before the end of the year. But experts are increasingly warning that widespread distribution may take a much longer time. Recently, Adar Poonawalla, chief executive officer of the Serum Institute of India, told the Financial Times that drug companies were not scaling up manufacturing capacity fast enough to vaccinate the entire global population.

In the U.S. and Europe, the leading vaccine programs are Moderna, Pfizer and BioNTech, and the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca. 

The Pfizer and BioNTech partnership suggests they may have key data from its Phase III trial for their vaccine by the end of October and if approved, would be prepared to distribute “hundreds of thousands of doses.” 

That is a long way from 15 billion doses, let alone the needed 600 million-plus doses needed for the U.S. population alone, although there are estimates that up to half of the U.S. will refuse to get the vaccine, at least right away.

Moderna’s program is on track for completion sometime this year, but the company has announced it was slowing enrollment slightly to ensure sufficient minority representation. As of August 28, it had enrolled 17,458 volunteers, with 24% from communities of color.

An unprecedented pledge by nine pharmaceutical companies, AstraZeneca, BioNTech, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Novavax, Pfizer, Merck and Sanofi emphasizes upholding the integrity of the scientific process for the COVID-19 and not let political pressure create any dangerous shortcuts. 

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has proposed a draft plan for distribution of a vaccine in the U.S. at the request of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The plan calls for the vaccine to be distributed in four phases. The first phase would include health care workers, the elderly and individuals with underlying health conditions to be vaccinated first. The next group would be essential workers, teachers and individuals in homeless shelters and prisons. The next group includes children and young adults.

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