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Welcome to Tuesday’s Overnight Health Care, where we’re following the latest moves on policy and...

Welcome to Tuesday’s Overnight Health Care, where we’re following the latest moves on policy and news affecting your health. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup. 
The Washington Post talked to couples and the dating app Bumble about COVID testing while dating, and who is “swab-worthy.”  
Canada’s vaccine protests are drawing attention far beyond its borders.  
For The Hill, we’re Peter Sullivan ([email protected]) and Nathaniel Weixel ([email protected]). Write to us with tips and feedback, and follow us on Twitter: @PeterSullivan4 and @NateWeixel 
Let’s get started. 
 

Canada’s ‘freedom’ protests resonate in US 
A Canadian protest that began with truck drivers protesting cross-border vaccination mandates has turned into an occupation of the capital city of Ottawa, as demonstrators have blocked traffic, disrupted businesses and threatened local residents for 12 days. 
The protests have also mushroomed into broader rallies against most public health measures like masks and vaccinations, as well as against the Canadian government. The demonstrations are attracting members of the far-right movement, along with former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump says Joe Rogan should ‘stop apologizing’ amid controversy over podcast Fox News host Brian Kilmeade hits Trump on Arizona election claim: ‘That’s an outright lie’ Nikki Haley: Pence ‘did what he thought was right’ on Jan. 6 MORE and other GOP politicians, who have warned that the Biden administration may face similar unrest. 
But much of the support is coming from our side of the border: polls show most Canadians don’t back the protests, and the country’s largest trucking industry group is distancing itself. 
GOP love: “The Canadian truckers are heroes, they are patriots. They are marching for your freedom and for my freedom,” Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzJuan Williams: GOP playing with racial fire over Supreme Court pick Why former NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine endorsed a congressional candidate Supreme Court should look more like America, or so Republicans once thought MORE (R-Texas) said Sunday on Fox News. 
“Those truck drivers are defending Canada, but they’re defending America as well,” he added. “The government doesn’t have the right to force you to comply to their arbitrary mandates.” 
On Friday, Trump released a statement slamming Canadian Prime Minister Justin TrudeauJustin Pierre James TrudeauEquilibrium/Sustainability — Pandemic brings new risk to airports US trucker convoy coming: Joe Biden will ignore protests at his peril The Hill’s Morning Report – Dems juggling priorities amid new challenge MORE as a “far left lunatic” who “destroyed Canada with insane Covid mandates,” and invited American and Canadian truckers to come to Washington “to protest Biden’s ridiculous Covid policies.” 
Read more here.

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Vaccine production suspended at J&J: report  
Johnson & Johnson temporarily halted production of its COVID-19 vaccine in the Netherlands, the only manufacturing hub making usable doses for the pharmaceutical company, according to a New York Times report on Tuesday. 
The company stopped production of the vaccine at its facility in the Dutch city of Leiden at the end of 2021 and has instead turned its attention to making another vaccine for an unrelated virus, the Times reported. The pause is temporary and is expected to last just a month — but it could reduce Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine supply by a few hundred million doses. 
While the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from Janssen Pharmaceuticals has been linked to rare blood clots and is considered less effective than Pfizer’s and Moderna’s shots by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is extremely important in Africa and low-income countries, which rely on the simpler one-dose shot. 
The vaccine also avoids the requirement of storage in ultra-cold temperatures, which makes shipment of Moderna and Pfizer doses more difficult. 
In October, Johnson & Johnson said it was committing about 50 million vaccines to 40 countries through COVAX, the vaccine-sharing initiative from the World Health Organization and the United Nations. 
But Ayoade Alakija, a co-head of the African Union’s vaccine-delivery program, told the Times that switching up production could endanger the vaccination effort. 
“This is not the time to be switching production lines of anything, when the lives of people across the developing world hang in the balance,” she said. 
Read more here.  
 

APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS BIDEN CHANGES TO FAMILY PLANNING PROGRAM
A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld the Biden administration’s changes to a federal family planning program that allowed clinics like Planned Parenthood to refer patients to abortion providers. 
A panel of judges on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals declined an injunction request by 11 GOP-controlled states seeking to restore a Trump-era ban on abortion referrals from federally funded clinics. 
A lower court had previously declined to issue an injunction, but the states appealed, and asked the Sixth Circuit to stop the rule’s implementation while the appeal is ongoing. 
The court denied the request, and ruled the states “have not demonstrated that they will be irreparably harmed without the injunction.”  
The states’ next step could be an appeal to the Supreme Court.  
The Biden administration’s Department of Health and Human Services last year reverted the Title X program to the way it was run for 19 years, until the Trump administration changed the rules in 2019. 
The Trump administration had changed the program’s rules to prohibit any clinics that received Title X funding from referring patients for abortions. The rules also required federally funded family-planning clinics to be physically and financially independent of abortion clinics.  
Read more here. 
 

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Overdose epidemic costs US $1T per year
The ongoing opioid epidemic is costing the U.S. $1 trillion every year, posing “a threat to our national security and global competitiveness,” according to a bipartisan congressional report released on Tuesday. 
Rep. David TroneDavid John TroneDemocratic rep tests positive for COVID-19 upon return from Ukraine trip Nebraska Republican tests positive for COVID-19 in latest congressional breakthrough case The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Voting rights week for Democrats (again) MORE (D-Md.) and Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonThis plan for US critical minerals works around supply chain woes Court fight represents golden opportunity for Cruz, Hawley, Cotton The Hill’s Morning Report – What’s Putin’s next move? MORE (R-Ark.), the chairs of the Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking, released a final report examining the cost of the opioid epidemic and the potential strategies to mitigate it as the crisis has worsened during the pandemic. 
A record-breaking number of overdose deaths were reported in the 12-month period ending in April, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The 100,306 overdose deaths reported during that period were increase of 28.5 percent from the 78,056 deaths the prior year. 
In a Tuesday press release, lawmakers said the epidemic is having a “devastating human impact” on American society. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates opioids have killed nearly 500,000 Americans from 1999 to 2019, but Trone pointed out there have been more than 1 million drug overdose deaths in the U.S. since 1999. 
“Since 1999, we’ve lost more than one million Americans to drug overdoses. That’s one million moms, dads, sons, and daughters lost because our country’s response to the opioid epidemic has failed,” he said in a statement. “It’s time to come together, from all levels of government and both sides of the aisle, to address this epidemic and put an end to it once and for all.” 
Read more here. 

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VERMONTERS TO VOTE ON STATE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO ABORTION
Vermont voters will weigh in on a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right to abortion after the state House overwhelmingly approved the measure. 
The state’s House of Representatives voted 107 to 41 on Tuesday in favor of the Reproductive Liberty Amendment, also known as Proposition 5, which would add a statute to the Vermont Constitution that assures access to abortion, contraceptives and other related care for all individuals in the Green Mountain State, according to VTDigger. 
Voters are reportedly set to vote on the measure in November. 
Supporters of the amendment have said adding to the Vermont Constitution is a critical move as state legislatures throughout the nation are considering bills that would hamper abortion access, according to VTDigger. 
It also comes as Americans wait for the Supreme Court to make a key ruling in a case involving a Mississippi law that bans virtually all abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Some fear that the decision, which The Washington Post said is expected to come this summer, may affect the 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade. 
Opponents of the amendment, however, are arguing that the matter at hand should be dealt with through legislation and not a permanent addition to the Vermont Constitution, the newspaper reported. 
Read more here.  

WHAT WE’RE READING

Pfizer expects $54 billion in 2022 sales on Covid vaccine and treatment pill (CNBC)  
‘Good, not great’: Some long Covid patients see their symptoms improve, but full recovery is elusive (Stat)  
Hospitals begin to limp out of the latest COVID-19 surge (AP) 
Americans are frustrated with the pandemic. These polls show how much. (New York Times)  

 

STATE BY STATE

Missouri Medicaid recipients face cutoff over faulty address checks, advocates say (Kansas City Star) 
Fla. Republicans ditch Texas-style abortion law for what they call a ‘generous’ 15-week ban, drawing criticism from all sides (Washington Post)
After nearly dying of COVID-19, a Texas mom encourages pregnant women to get vaccinated (Texas Tribune)  

 

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s health care page for the latest news and coverage. See you Wednesday.

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