Early indications point to positive impacts from vaccines, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may lift some restrictions once you've had the shot.

Los Angeles Times:
CDC To OK Small, Maskless Gatherings With 2 COVID Vaccines

People who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 may soon be cleared to gather in small groups without masks, according to federal officials. The expected update to public health guidance, announced during a White House COVID-19 task force meeting, would mark the first sign of a return to normalcy since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading expert on infectious diseases, said that a small reunion of fully-vaccinated people presents a low risk of spreading COVID-19. (Shalby, 3/2)

CDC's Draft Guidelines For Vaccinated Americans Call For Small Steps Toward Normal Life 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is set to release guidance this week on safe activities for people who have received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine amid growing questions about when, and how, shots will enable a return to normal life. The recommendations will mark the first time the federal government has signaled to Americans that they can start taking steps back to the old rhythms of work, school and play, according to two senior administration officials involved in the drafting of the guidelines. (Banco, 3/2)

In other news about the federal government and the development of vaccines —

ABC News:
4 Former Surgeons General Join Call For 'National Vaccine Day' 

Four former surgeons general are joining a campaign calling for a National Vaccine Day to "focus our nation's attention on the importance of vaccination." In a letter exclusively obtained by ABC News, the doctors call on President Joe Biden to consider enacting the one-time federal holiday, which they say could feature telethons, radio messages and social media posts about the COVID-19 vaccines as well as widely available "opportunities for vaccination." (Magee, 3/2)

Economists See First Signs In Data That Vaccine Is Working

Economists following the high-frequency data on virus infections are seeing initial signs that the vaccine is having positive effects on deaths and infection rates. While they caution that the signs are tentative, they point to two areas: the decline in the percentage of Covid-related deaths from nursing home residents and infection numbers running below their model forecasts. (Liesman, 3/2)

Pentagon Research Arm Looks To Fund Next Generation Of MRNA Vaccines 

A new initiative — funded by DARPA, the Pentagon's high-tech research arm — is aiming to make it much easier to scale up the next generation of RNA- and DNA-based vaccines. A consortium including GE Research, the Broad Institute and the University of Washington is announcing today that it's secured a $41 million grant from DARPA. (Baker, 3/2)

The U.S. Coronavirus Vaccines Aren't All The Same 

The U.S. now has three COVID-19 vaccines, and public health officials are quick — and careful — to say there’s no bad option. But their effectiveness, manufacturing and distribution vary. Any of the authorized vaccines are much better than no vaccine, especially for people at high risk of severe coronavirus infections. But their differences may fuel perceptions of inequity, and raise legitimate questions about the best way to use each one. (Owens and Snyder, 3/3)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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