Afternoon Coffee: Congress OKs $900 billion coronavirus relief package; Moderna COVID-19 vaccine ships; 2021 predictions for procurement technology

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Congressional leaders announced that they reached a deal for a $900 billion economic relief package small businesses, healthcare workers and Americans who are unemployed or have a certain amount of income, according to CNN.

The announcement on Sunday came after days of tense negotiations and months of partisan stalemate. The details of what will be in the relief package are yet to be released — but it’s expected to include a $600 direct stimulus payment for Americans under a certain income level, along with many other programs to help the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, CNN said.

First Moderna vaccines ship out of distribution center

The first shipments of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine left a distribution center Sunday, according to CBS News. The shots are expected to be given starting Monday, only three days after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the emergency rollout.

Public health experts say the vaccines are the only way to stop a virus that has spread wildly. The Pfizer and Moderna shots shipped so far and going out over the next few weeks will primarily go to healthcare workers and residents of long-term care homes. The article said that panel members are leaning toward putting “essential workers” next in line.

One benefit of the Moderna vaccine is that it can remain stable at temperatures of a standard refrigerator rather than the extremely cold temps of the Pfizer vaccine, according to news reports.

The Moderna vaccine news comes as more countries restrict travel from the UK to curb the spread of a new COVID-19 strain found there. The UK announced domestic shutdowns in response to the new strain, according to Axios.

Procurement vendors predict what’s in store for 2021

It’s hard to believe 2021 is just around the corner, but it is. In an effort to help procurement professionals predict what’s in store for the year, Spend Matters’ London-based editor, Nancy Clinton, asked solution providers what they expect to see in the market. The series will run from today into the new year and will feature vendors from all areas of procurement technology. First up, Icertis.

The Spend Matters December global monthly newsletter went out this month. Were you on the list? Don't miss out for 2021!

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