APTA's Vaccine Practice Advisory Updated
COVID-19 vaccine mandates issued by CMS and OSHA have faced court challenges that have affected implementation, and APTA is urging members to stay on top of these quickly evolving issues. As developments occur, we will be updating our CMS COVID-19 Health Care Staff Vaccination Rule Practice Advisory to be consistent with the latest information available. Access the most recent update.
Omicron Variant Sends Cases, Hospitalizations Up
Total coronavirus cases have reached 70,206,220 as of Jan. 21, according to the CDC COVID-19 Data Tracker. The seven-day average of new cases is 716,829 as of Jan. 21; at the same time, the seven-day average hospital admission rate is 19,866, a slight decrease from the 21,593 peak of Jan. 15. Currently, 75.5% of individuals five years or older have received at least one dose of vaccine, 63.4% have received two doses, and 39.9% have received booster doses. More than 862,000 people in the U.S. have now died from the virus.
FDA Expands Use of Antiviral Treatment to Outpatients
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has moved to expand the use of Veklury (remdesivir), an antiviral drug, to non-hospitalized adults and pediatric patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19. Previously, only patients requiring hospitalization were permitted access to the drug.
In the Media
Army Hopes To Develop a Comprehensive COVID-19 Vaccine
From CNET: "Many experts are now talking about yearly COVID booster shots or variant-specific vaccines. But what if there were a universal coronavirus vaccine that protected against omicron and all new COVID-19 variants? The US Army now has that goal in sight."
Changes to Sense of Smell Due to COVID-19 Could Linger — Or Remain Indefinitely
From The Guardian: "Nearly half of those who became ill with Covid in the first wave of infections may have long-term and even permanent changes to their sense of smell, according to preliminary research from Sweden."
COVID Pills Can Be Hard To Access
From POLITICO: "Antiviral Covid-19 pills were billed as game-changers for the way they could provide a convenient way to treat infections at home and keep people out of the hospital. But that assumed patients could get the drugs quickly. Instead, a flurry of regulatory, testing and logistical issues is complicating the rollout, potentially requiring people with symptoms to make multiple stops at doctors' offices or testing sites within the five-day window when the drugs are recommended."
COVID-19 Numbers Dropping — But Not Everywhere
From NBC News: "Covid-19 cases are finally falling in the United States, welcome news after nearly two months of skyrocketing case counts driven by the highly infectious omicron variant. But the falling numbers don’t mean Americans are out of the woods."
New in Research
CDC Study Confirms Effectiveness of Booster in Reducing Serious Illness, Hospitalizations
Researchers focusing on COVID-19 vaccine boosters have determined that the shots are 94% effective at preventing emergency department visits for the delta variant of COVID-19, and 82% effective in preventing ED visits caused by the omicron variant. Effectiveness against hospitalization was estimated at 94% for the delta variant and 90% for the omicron variant.
Effectiveness of Rapid Tests for Children Called Into Question
A systematic review and meta-analysis of studies on the effectiveness of rapid point-of-care antibody tests for children has found wide variation in the accuracy of the tests compared with PCR tests, with a high level of false-negative reports. The findings, researchers write, "may impact the planned purpose of the broad testing programs." The article was published in BMJ.
Pandemic Associated with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms in Health Care Workers
According to a recent study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, health care workers and first responders are experiencing high levels of what researchers are calling "COVID-19-related occupational stressors," to the extent that many are exhibiting symptoms of PTSD. Authors of the study also write that a "substantial portion" of participants in their study reported that the likelihood of staying in their current field had decreased as a result of work during the pandemic.