COVID-19 Vaccine Providers Newsletter 01.06.2022

  • CDC CDC Updates and Shortens Recommended Isolation and Quarantine Period for General Population
    • CDC is shortening the recommended time for isolation from 10 days to 5 days for people with COVID-19, if asymptomatic or symptoms are resolving, followed by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others.
    • CDC is also updating the recommended quarantine period for those exposed to someone with COVID-19:
      • For people who are unvaccinated or are more than six months out from their second mRNA dose (or more than 2 months after the J&J vaccine) and not yet boosted, CDC now recommends quarantine for 5 days followed by strict mask use for an additional 5 days. If a 5-day quarantine is not feasible, it is imperative that an exposed person wear a well-fitting mask at all times when around others for 10 days after exposure.
      • Individuals who have received their booster shot or who are within 6 months of receiving their second mRNA dose (or within 2 months of receiving their J&J vaccine) do not need to quarantine following an exposure, but should wear a mask for 10 days after the exposure.
      • For all those exposed, best practice would also include a test for SARS-CoV-2 at day 5 after exposure. If symptoms occur, individuals should immediately quarantine until a negative test confirms symptoms are not attributable to COVID-19.
  • Potential rapid increase of Omicron variant. CDC has identified the potential for a rapid increase in infections of the new variant of SARS-CoV-2, the Omicron variant, in the United States. Plausible scenarios include steep epidemic trajectories that would require expedient public health action to prevent severe impacts on the health of individuals and the healthcare system. The CDC Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics conducted scenario models to assess a range of plausible scenarios for the epidemic trajectory based on what is currently known about the Omicron variant. Recent case data of the Omicron variant from South Africa, Botswana, the United Kingdom and elsewhere are consistent with the faster growth scenarios that were modeled.
  • Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Approved or Authorized in the United States. CDC clinical considerations recommend the use of mRNA vaccines (Pfizer & Moderna) over the use of the Johnson & Johnson’sCOVID-19 vaccine in most situations, unless there are contraindications. These considerations include preference for mRNA COVID-19 vaccines for primary and booster doses.
  • CDC - CDC endorses ACIP’s updated COVID-19 vaccine recommendations - CDC is endorsing updated recommendations made by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) for the prevention of COVID-19, expressing a clinical preference for individuals to receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine over Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine. ACIP’s unanimous recommendation followed a robust discussion of the latest evidence on vaccine effectiveness, vaccine safety and rare adverse events, and consideration of the U.S. vaccine supply. The U.S. supply of mRNA vaccines is abundant – with nearly 100 million doses in the field for immediate use. This updated CDC recommendation follows similar recommendations from other countries, including Canada and the United Kingdom. Given the current state of the pandemic both here and around the world, the ACIP reaffirmed that receiving any vaccine is better than being unvaccinated. Individuals who are unable or unwilling to receive an mRNA vaccine will continue to have access to Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.
  • CDC - HAN Rapid Increase of Omicron Variant Infections in the United States: Management of Healthcare Personnel with SARS-CoV-2 Infection or Exposure - Due to the increased transmissibility of the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant and concerns about potential impacts on the healthcare system, CDC is updating recommendations to enhance protection for healthcare personnel, patients, and visitors, and ensure adequate staffing in healthcare facilities. The guidance is based on the limited information currently available about the Omicron variant and will be updated as needed as new information becomes available. Provides background, key points from the two guidance documents listed below, and recommendations for HCP and healthcare facilities and systems.
  • CDC- Interim Guidance for Managing Healthcare Personnel with SARS-CoV-2 Infection or Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 and Strategies to Mitigate Healthcare Personnel Staffing Shortages CDC released updated guidance for isolation and quarantine for healthcare personnel (HCP), decreasing their isolation time after infection with COVID-19. CDC also released updated guidance for contingency and crisis management in the setting of significant healthcare worker shortages.
  • FDA Authorizes Oral Antiviral Treatments for COVID-19
    • FDA Authorizes First Oral Antiviral for Treatment of COVID-19 - The FDA issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for Pfizer’s Paxlovid (nirmatrelvir tablets and ritonavir tablets, co-packaged for oral use) for the treatment of mild-to-moderate coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in adults and pediatric patients (12 years of age and older weighing at least 40 kilograms or about 88 pounds) with positive results of direct SARS-CoV-2 testing, and who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death. Paxlovid is available by prescription only and should be initiated as soon as possible after diagnosis of COVID-19 and within five days of symptom onset. Fact sheets for healthcare providers and patients and caregivers are available.
    • FDA Authorizes Additional Oral Antiviral for Treatment of COVID-19 in Certain Adults - The FDA issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for Merck’s molnupiravir for the treatment of mild-to-moderate coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in adults with positive results of direct SARS-CoV-2 viral testing, and who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death, and for whom alternative COVID-19 treatment options authorized by the FDA are not accessible or clinically appropriate. Molnupiravir is available by prescription only and should be initiated as soon as possible after diagnosis of COVID-19 and within five days of symptom onset. Molnupiravir is not authorized for use in patients younger than 18 years of age because molnupiravir may affect bone and cartilage growth. Based on findings from animal reproduction studies, molnupiravir may cause fetal harm when administered to pregnant individuals. Therefore, molnupiravir is not recommended for use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Fact sheets for healthcare providers and patients and caregivers are available.
  • CDC Encourages Healthcare Providers to Recommend COVID-19 Self-testing Before Holiday Gatherings. CDC is encouraging healthcare providers to recommend COVID-19 self-testing before the holidays and includes considerations such as when to to get tested, where to get a self-test, and how to interpret self-test results. People should consider self-testing before joining indoor gatherings with others who are not in your household, or if you live with someone at higher risk for severe COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status or if they are having symptoms. Self-tests are available over-the-counter at pharmacies, community health centers, and online. Positive results mean a person should isolate and negative results mean that a person may not be contagious. However, CDC recommends that they test again at least 24 hours later.
  • President Biden Announces New Actions to Protect and Help Communities and Hospitals Battle Omicron. On December 21, President Biden announced new actions to protect Americans and help communities and hospitals battle Omicron, building on the robust plan he announced earlier this month to get people maximum protection ahead of the winter and prepare for rising cases driven by the new variant.
    • Increase support for hospitals, including deploying additional medical personnel, expanding hospital capacity, and providing critical supplies
    • Ensure robust access to free testing, including standing up new federal testing sites, distributing free rapid tests starting in January, and further accelerating production
    • Expand capacity to get shots in arms, including standing up new pop-up vaccination clinics, deploying additional vaccinators, allowing flexibility to surge pharmacy teams, and continuing to scale up pharmacy capacity
  • Transition to Pfizer Tris-sucrose Adult Vaccine Formulation (GRAY Cap) for Individuals 12 years and Older
    • Pfizer has released a new formulation of the COVID-19 vaccine and this formulation no longer requires dilution prior to administration. This new Pfizer formulation has a gray cap and ordering is in quantities of 300. It is recommended that providers reduce their inventory of the purple cap Pfizer vaccine as much as possible before ordering the new formulation to minimize errors during this transition. The purple cap Pfizer formulation will no longer be available for ordering as Pfizer transitions from the purple cap formulation to the gray cap formulation. More information can be found here.
    • Important storage details:
      • Store at ultra-cold temperatures and must be thawed before use; thaw vaccine in the refrigerator or at room temperature
      • Unpunctured vials may be stored in the refrigerator for up to 10 weeks
      • Unpunctured vials may be stored between 8°C and 25°C (46°F and 77°F) for a total of 12 hours prior to first puncture; discard any unused vaccine after 12 hours
      • Do NOT refreeze thawed vaccine
      • Use CDC’s beyond-use date labels to track storage time at refrigerated temperatures
      • The vaccine is white to off-white in color with no visible particles. Do not use if liquid is discolored or if particles are observed after inverting
  • For questions about VaxMaX and its functionality, please visit the VaxMaX Help website, which includes reference guides and tutorial videos.

Best Practice Spotlight

Upcoming Events

  • Medical Updates & Immunization Site Training for All Healthcare Providers led by Pfizer Vaccines US Medical Affairs.Session topics include:
    • Introduction of the DO NOT DILUTE / Gray Cap formulation for individuals 12 years of age and older.
    • Use of each vaccine presentation, including storage, handling, preparation, and administration for:
      • Ages 5 through 11 Years: DILUTE BEFORE USE/Orange Cap
      • Ages 12 Years and Older:
        • DO NOT DILUTE/Gray Cap
        • DILUTE BEFORE USE/Purple Cap
  • Recent medical updates regarding the vaccine
  • An overview of healthcare provider resources
  • Question and answer session
  • Session dates-
  • Webinar: How to Talk to a Science Denier on Tuesday, January 18, 2022 from 11:00 am–12:00 pm ET - In this webinar hosted by the Kresge Foundation and the Emerging Leaders in Public Health National Program Office, Dr. Lee McIntyre, research fellow at the Center for Philosophy and History of Science at Boston University, instructor in ethics at Harvard Extension School, and author of the recent book, How to Talk to a Science Denier, will share his thoughts and recommendations on how to communicate with and potentially change the minds of those who reject scientific evidence. Register now.

Helpful Resources

Information about the COVID-19 vaccination program is changing frequently. This newsletter will offer regular updates to providers who have submitted an intent to vaccinate or signed the CDC provider agreement within Virginia.

VDH COVID-19 Vaccination Response: Healthcare Professionals Website