Health Professionals

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Health Professionals

The Virginia Department of Health’s up-to-date resources relevant for health professionals and their response to COVID-19 in Virginia. This page includes clinician’s letters, information on infection prevention, testing, and other COVID-19 topics.

Thank you for your continued work to protect the health and well-being of all Virginians.

Healthcare Professionals and Healthcare Workers

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Hot Topics for Health Professionals

The COVID-19 booster question(s) we should be focused on

July 29, 2022 -A recent thoughtful commentary in Medpage discussed the issues currently facing COVID-19-vaccinated people who have not yet received any vaccine booster(s). The commentary mixed a discussion of the impact of the timing of boosters; types and duration of vaccine-induced immunity to SARS-CoV-2; and the high and rising infection and reinfection risks of the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants.

COVID-19 vaccine effectiveness against reinfection after COVID-19 illness recovery

July 27, 2022 - A statewide follow-up of Rhode Island COVID-19 surveillance data for residents aged 12 years and older with recent COVID-19 illness found that compared to unvaccinated people, completion of a primary COVID-19 vaccination series after recovering from COVID-19 illness was associated with a reduction of risk of COVID-19 reinfection “by approximately half."

Many parents see COVID-19 vaccine as a greater risk than COVID-19 illness for their young children

July 26, 2022 - A mid-July 2022 Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that 53% of parents of children aged 6 months to 5 years  “view the [COVID-19] vaccine as a bigger risk to their child’s health than getting infected with COVID-19.” A full 43% of respondents said they would “definitely not” get their eligible children vaccinated. Notably, 70% of all responding parents say that they have NOT talked with a healthcare provider about the COVID-19 vaccine. 

COVID-19 vaccination was associated with lower risk of acute myocardial infarction and ischemic stroke after COVID-19

July 22, 2022 - The incidence of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and ischemic stroke after COVID-19 illness was compared between >62,000 never vaccinated patients and >168,000 patients who had breakthrough COVID-19 illness after being fully vaccinated with 2 COVID-19 vaccine doses. The overall adjusted hazard ratios for AMI in fully vaccinated persons were 0.42 (i.e, a 58% lower risk in vaccinated persons) and for ischemic stroke, 0.40 (i.e., a 60% lower risk in vaccinated persons). All demographic and underlying disease subgroups also noted a lower risk for these outcomes in vaccinated persons.

Novavax COVID-19, Adjuvanted Vaccine: Overview and Safety

July 20, 2022 - This is the most recent CDC summary of the safety, effectiveness, logistics, and ingredients of the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine that will soon be available in Virginia. In addition, an excellent Powerpoint summary of the Novavax vaccine’s technical issues is available from the July 19 meeting of CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).

Current Omicron sub-variants (BA.2.12.1, BA.5, and BA.4) can evade neutralizing antibodies from both prior natural Infection and from vaccination

July 6, 2022 – The three most common SARS-CoV-2 Omicron sub-variants now circulating in the United States and in DHHS Region 3 that includes Virginia can evade antibodies from unvaccinated people recently infected by prior Omicron sub-variants BA.1 and BA.2. Although BA.2.12.1 was only mildly evasive, neutralization of BA.4 and BA.5 was “markedly reduced.” In terms of neutralizing antibodies produced after three doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, again the BA.2.12.1 sub-variant was mildly evasive (1.8 times reduced neutralization), but BA.4/BA.5 were an additional 4.2 times less able to be neutralized. Similar reduced neutralization was noted in people with “hybrid immunity”, i.e., those who had both been triply vaccinated and who had also had breakthrough infections. BA.4 and BA.5 are clearly “more adept than BA.1 or BA.2 to spread in populations that are vaccinated or recovering from omicron or both.”

Infection with these newer sub-variants has not yet been associated with an increase in moderate-to-severe COVID-19 illness. However, one consequence of this increased immune evasion and the dominance of these sub-variants will be an increase in numbers and rates of reinfections and post-vaccination breakthrough infections, at least some of which will occur among high-risk people.  Efforts to reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission and circulation continue to be an important public health goal.

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Page Last Updated: August 2, 2022

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