Local school districts will be left to decide whether to enact school vaccine mandates, the Biden administration said Thursday. The administration also said it supports schools remaining open during the Omicron surge. (Reuters)

Amgen is partnering with Flagship’s machine learning startup, Generate Biomedicines, on five therapeutic programs. The partnership is designed to bolster Amgen’s drug development. (Endpoints News)

As the Biden administration’s efforts to distribute COVID tests continue to lag Omicron’s surge, Americans are spending hundreds of dollars on access to testing. The White House said it plans to make 500 million free at-home tests available this month, though it hasn’t yet detailed the plans. (The Wall Street Journal)

Hospitals are joining the list of major healthcare systems declining to administer Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm. “Is anyone buying it? Yes, people are. But it is so, so small that it’s almost negligible,” Steven Lucio, senior principal of pharmacy solutions at Vizient, told STAT. (STAT)

Public health experts expect new COVID-19 variants to continue to emerge until more of the world population has been vaccinated. Those variants may or may not prove more contagious than previous strains. (CNBC Weekly)