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What's New in Vaccines
APTA joins national "Count Me In" vaccine campaign, President Biden updates distribution timeline, insurers launch pilot vaccination program, and more.

5 Things to Know About Coronavirus Vaccine Distribution
APTA is monitoring the development of the emergency releases of the vaccine by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Here are five things you need to know. 

Small Study: Physical Therapy via Telehealth Improves COVID-19 Recovery
In a study published in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and covered in APTA News, researchers tracked the progress of 106 patients discharged to home with persistent COVID-19 symptoms and found that patients who received virtual physical therapy made greater gains in cardiopulmonary endurance and lower limb strength than did patients who were instructed to perform an independent exercise program.

From CDC

U.S. COVID-19 Cases Near 29 Million; More Than 500,000 Dead
Total coronavirus cases have reached 28,813,424 as of March 9, according the CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker. A total of 523,850 people have died from the virus so far. Health care workers have administered 92.1 million vaccine doses to date.

Fully Vaccinated People Can Visit With Unvaccinated Family Members, Other Vaccinated People Without Masks
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said people who have received their second shots are at little risk if they visit indoors with unvaccinated members of a single household at low risk of severe disease, as well as other fully vaccinated people, without wearing masks or social distancing.

CDC Updates Guidance on Workplace Vaccination Programs
CDC has revised its guidance for employers who wish to provide workplace vaccination for their essential employees.

From NIH

NIH Effort Seeks To Understand MIS-C, Range of SARS-CoV-2 Effects on Children
The National Institutes of Health has launched a new research effort to understand how SARS-CoV-2 affects children. The research program, called the Collaboration to Assess Risk and Identify Long-term Outcomes for Children with COVID, or CARING for Children with COVID, is developing and funding studies to investigate why some children are at greater risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection than others and why symptoms vary among children who are infected, particularly with regard to multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, or MIS-C.

In the Media

Biden: 100 Million Additional J&J Vaccines To Be Procured
From ABC News: "President Joe Biden is expected to announce Wednesday a push to procure 100 million additional doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to be delivered sometime in the latter half of 2021, according to a White House official."

COVID-19 Relief Bill Contains Lots of Healthcare Provisions
From MedPage Today: "Both public and private health insurance would become less expensive for large numbers of people under the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill now being debated in the Senate. The bill contains a number of provisions affecting insurance bought on the Affordable Care Act insurance exchanges, as well as COBRA and Medicaid, and experts say that these provisions are likely to stay in the final measure, albeit with a few possible tweaks."

Even With 3 Vaccines, CDC Head Warns of Possible Fourth COVID-19 Surge
From the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy: "The welcomed news of a third COVID-19 vaccine was tempered today by warnings from CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, who said during a White House press briefing that recent declines in case counts are stalling. 'The most recent 7-day average of cases, approximately 67,200, represents an increase of a little over 2% compared to the prior 7 days,' said Walensky. 'Please hear me clearly — at this level of cases with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained. These variants are a very real threat to our people and our progress.'"

Biden Team Plots The Country’s First National COVID-19 Testing Strategy
From Politico: "The Biden administration is preparing to launch the first of several Covid-19 testing hubs to coordinate and oversee a $650 million expansion of testing in K-8 schools and congregate settings like homeless shelters. The Department of Health and Human Services hopes to open the first hub in April, as part of a public-private partnership that could eventually add up to 25 million tests per month to the nation’s testing totals, two sources briefed on the plans told POLITICO."

Worse COVID-19 Outcomes Tied to MS Disability, Age
From MedPage Today: "Disability and age were associated with poorer COVID-19 outcomes in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, registry data showed. Of approximately 2,000 people with MS and COVID-19 in North America, 17.8% of non-ambulatory patients died, compared with 4.3% of MS patients who walked with assistance and 0.6% of patients who were fully ambulatory, reported Amber Salter, PhD, of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Death occurred most frequently in MS patients, ages 75 and older, who had COVID-19, she said in a presentation at ACTRIMS Forum 2021, the annual meeting of the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis."

New in Research

UK Researchers Suggest 5-Phased Approach To Return to Exercise Post COVID-19
In a study published in BMJ, authors suggest risk-stratifying patients before recommending a return to physical activity in people who have had COVID-19. Patients who continue to have symptoms, who had severe illness, or a have history of cardiac involvement should receive further clinical assessment. Patients should only return to exercise after at least seven days of no COVID-19 symptoms, and start off with two weeks of minimal exertion.

Many Children and Adolescents Hospitalized for COVID-19 or MIS-C Had Neurologic Involvement
In a study published in JAMA Neurology, authors write that 22% of children and adolescents who were hospitalized for COVID-19 or multisystem inflammatory syndrome had neurologic involvement. While 88% had symptoms that went away, 12% developed COVID-19-related severe encephalopathy, stroke, central nervous system infection/demyelination, Guillain-Barré syndrome/variants, and acute fulminant cerebral edema.

Researchers Say Masks Safe During "Maximal" Exercise
Authors of a new study in the European Respiratory Journal write that, although "protection masks are associated with significant but modest worsening of spirometry and cardiorespiratory parameters at rest and peak exercise," they are safe to wear even during peak exercise. During the tests, participants wearing masks had a slight reduction in performance, but no significant difference in oxygen saturation.



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