News Bites – May 12, 2022
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has limited the authorized use of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to certain people after evaluating reported cases of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia (TTS). TTS is a syndrome of rare and potentially life-threatening blood clots in combination with low levels of blood platelets that may develop about one to two weeks following the administration of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine may only be given to people aged 18 and older for whom other COVID-19 vaccines are not accessible or clinically appropriate, and to people aged 18 years and older who choose to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and would otherwise remain unvaccinated against COVID-19.
As of May 5, 2022, Colorado providers have administered 317,087 doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine since Johnson & Johnson received their EUA in Feb. 2021. That is 3.1% of the more than 10.3 million total doses of all COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in the state.
Health officials say Coloradans who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, should get a dose of mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) two months or more after they first got vaccinated. If they got Johnson & Johnson for their first and second doses, they may then receive a third dose (second booster) of mRNA vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna) four months after their second dose.
At the end of April Larimer County submitted its Quarterly Compliance Report, explaining its use of State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) under the American Rescue Plan Act. The Compliance Report shows that Larimer County has expended just over $9.5 million of its $69.3 million SLFRF allocation. The primary uses of the funds so far include:
- $6.6 million reimbursement for payroll costs for County workers whose jobs continue to be impacted by COVID-19 mitigation and response. The impacts are in the Community Justice Alternatives Department. the Office of the Coroner, and the Office of the Sheriff
- $1.5 million for incremental pay and retention pay for employees in the Community Justice Alternatives Department and the Office of the Sheriff to recognize their critical contribution to public safety while working in a congregate corrections environment.
- $1 million in grants made to small businesses, non-profit organizations, and other units of local government to mitigate the negative economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to provide critical health, behavioral health, substance abuse, and childcare services to the public; with a remaining $2 million still to be spent for this grant program
- $182,000 in increased costs to monitor and test inmates in the Larimer County Jail who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms
- Initial costs to study the feasibility of constructing a water system in Red Feather Lakes
The Compliance Report also includes allocations for future projects, including:
- $12 mllion to expand high-quality broadband service in unincorporated Larimer County
- $10 million, with a planned match from State COVID-19 funds, to construct a second phase of the Behavioral Health Facility, in which services will primarily be provided to youth
- $2.7 million to make improvements to the Community Justice Alternatives facility that will help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and enhance service provision.
- $1.4 million to make water-related improvements in natural areas and open spaces
- $450,000 to hire an additional prosecution position in the Office of the District Attorney
- Up to $31 million for additional community projects that will make transformative change to mitigate the economic and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A new analysis by the Environmental Protection Agency finds that American agriculture not only minimally contributes to overall U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, but the sector also sequestered more carbon in 2020 than the year before. The 2020 Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks report provides an annual accounting estimate of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions sources in the U.S. as well as estimates of the amount of carbon trapped in forests, vegetation, and soil.
The latest EPA report shows that agriculture represents just 10% of total U.S. emissions when compared to other economic sectors. Overall ag-related emissions fell by at least 4.3%, and emissions from agricultural soil management were reduced by 8.4%. Overall, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions decreased from 2019 to 2020 by 10.6%.
The report demonstrates the power of agriculture in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and how important it is that farmers and ranchers are allowed to play a role in helping to further capture emissions through food production. The report also emphasizes how voluntary, market- and incentive-based strategies to implement conservation practices can help farmers and ranchers continue to implement conservation strategies.
“These findings show just how dedicated American farmers and ranchers are to making commitments in sustainability while we continue to produce the nation’s food,” said Colorado Farm Bureau Federation Board member Nathan Weathers. “Voluntary, market-based incentives allow us as farmers and ranchers to do our part capturing more greenhouse gases while simultaneously meeting the ever-increasing demand for food.”
In Colorado, new voluntary programs to help improve soil health, coupled with existing federal conservation programs are helping to centralize and expand production practices that are good for the environment and good for farmers.
The Polis administration’s plan to encourage the adoption of zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty trucks, which proponents say could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from these vehicles by at least 45% in Colorado by 2050, has been finalized.
The Clean Truck Strategy is a joint effort of the Colorado Energy Office, the Colorado Department of Transportation, and the Air Pollution Control Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment.
The strategy is part of a package of initiatives undertaken by Gov. Jared Polis and the Polis administration to improve air quality, reduce emissions.
“Colorado has enormous opportunities to reduce pollution and improve quality of life by transitioning from diesel to zero-emission trucks and buses,” said Will Toor, executive director of the Colorado Energy Office. “This strategic plan creates a framework for achieving big things through investment, collaboration and regulation.”
Medium- and heavy-duty vehicles include semi-trucks, school buses, snowplows, delivery vans, large pick-up trucks and many different vehicle types. Unfortunately, medium- and heavy-duty vehicles are also the second-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector, contributing 22% of on-road greenhouse gas emissions despite being less than 10% of all Colorado vehicles.
A key focus of the strategy is the implementation and leveraging of several new opportunities and funding sources to help build the market for zero emission trucks and buses in Colorado that collectively total nearly $1 billion in investments, not including several new federal discretionary grant programs. These new opportunities include proposed air quality investments in the governor’s 2023 budget for a new electric school bus incentive program, the development of the 10-Year Plans and initial program offerings for the Clean Fleet Enterprise, Clean Transit Enterprise, and Community Access Enterprise, which will invest in vehicle incentives and charging infrastructure, and historic new federal funding opportunities for charging infrastructure, hydrogen refueling infrastructure, and electric school bus and transit bus investments.
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