- White House: The Biden Administration to begin distributing at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests to Americans for free.
- Beginning on January 18, 2022, Americans will be able to order four at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests online at COVIDTests.gov. Orders will usually ship in 7–12 days. Additionally, private health insurers will begin to cover COVID-19 tests starting on January 15, 2022, and each month, 10 million more tests will be available to schools across the nation.
- VDH COVID-19 Vaccine Standing Order Update
- The COVID-19 Vaccine Standing Order has been updated to reflect the appointment of Dr. Colin Greene as Acting State Health Commissioner for Virginia.
- Virginia: Executive Order Number Two and Order of Public Health Emergency One was issued January 15, 2022 and goes into effect on January 24.
- The order allows parents to decide whether their child wears a mask in schools or in early childcare programs. It terminates Order of Public Health Emergency Order Ten (2021). It rescinds Interim Guidance for COVID-19 Prevention in Virginia PreK-12 Schools (updated October 14, 2021) and requires issuing new guidance consistent with this Order.
- School districts should arrange resources available to improve inspection, testing, maintenance, repair, replacement and upgrades of equipment to improve the indoor air quality in school facilities, including mechanical and non-mechanical heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, filtering, purification, fans, control systems and window and door repair.
- Virginia: Executive Directive Number Two was issued January 15, 2022 and goes into effect immediately.
- It rescinds the vaccine mandate for all state employees, including having to disclose their vaccination status.
- The Department of General Services is to make KN95 respirators available to employees and visitors of state buildings.
- CDC: Types of Masks. This updated guidance clarified that people can choose either a respirator or a mask and explains the difference between the two. It also clarifies that surgical N95s are respirators that should be reserved for healthcare workers. Lastly, the guidance updated information clarifying the additional protection that respirators like N95s can provide to protect against spreading COVID-19.
- WHO: WHO recommends two new drugs to treat COVID-19 - WHO has recommended two new drugs (baricitinib and sotrovimab) for COVID-19, providing yet more options for treating the disease. The extent to which these medicines will save lives depends on how widely available and affordable they will be. The two newly recommended drugs have been invited for WHO Prequalification, which assesses the quality, efficacy and safety of priority health products to increase access in lower income countries. As a reminder, healthcare providers in the U.S. who wish to consider the use of therapeutics are encouraged to review the COVID-19 National Institutes of Health (NIH) Treatment Guidelines.
- These treatments are not currently available for treatment yet.
- COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Site Visits by VDH Staff
- All COVID-19 vaccines are federally funded. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires that each state conduct routine provider assurance visits. All visits to providers are scheduled in advance by VDH personnel. During each visit, VDH staff review all phases of COVID-19 vaccine service delivery. Federal guidelines state prior to June 30 of 2024, all providers of COVID-19 vaccine in Virginia must be visited by VDH staff at least once. It is important to understand that these visits are in no way punitive. They are being scheduled and conducted with all providers to assure the proper billing, documentation, communication, reporting, storage, and handling of COVID-19 vaccine.
- To date, 150 providers across Virginia have collaboratively worked with VDH staff to assure the highest standard of COVID-19 vaccine service delivery has been met. Sometime in the next 28 months please be aware you will be contacted via phone or email by VDH staff to schedule a visit at your office. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pfizer 12+ Doses- Cap Colors/Formulations
- Gray Top: ALL full quantity requests for Pfizer are being fulfilled with Gray caps. NO full quantity shipments of Purple caps are able to be shipped.
- Purple Top: SSRP will still be fulfilling orders using the purple top Pfizer 12+ doses that are currently in the Commonwealth's inventory because these orders are processed by an internal fulfillment center. Once the current Purple cap inventory that is on-hand is expended, SSRP will transition to Gray caps; once transitioned, SSRP will not transition back.
- SSRP Availability / Request Cutoff
- SSRP doses are available for request each week until 5 pm on Friday. After this time, VaxMaX will not accept any requests, and will issue you an error notification. This is to help alleviate the staffing constraints at the internally managed fulfillment center that ships these doses to participating providers.
- For questions about VaxMaX and its functionality, please visit the VaxMaX Help website, which includes reference guides and tutorial videos.
Best Practice Spotlight
- New: COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control Best Practices for Emergency Departments - This is a new document summarizing infection prevention and control best practices for emergency departments. The document was added to the Health Professionals page in the guidance section and as a hot topic.
Check out our complete list of COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Best Practices and our Lightning Learnings: Best Practices for Busy Providers!
- Medical Updates & Immunization Site Training for All Healthcare Providers led by Pfizer Vaccines U.S. 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:
- CDC and Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) COVID-19 Clinician Call: Outpatient COVID-19 Treatment Strategies for High-Risk Populations on January 22, 2022 3:00 pm ET. These one-hour webinars, held Saturdays at 3:00 pm ET, focus on timely issues of relevance to clinicians and feature case presentations by experts in the field, synthesis of new data, and an opportunity to engage with colleagues. The next call is Saturday, January 22, 3:00 p.m. ET; register here.
- CDC Foundation sponsored webinar- COVID-19 and Social Media: Best Practices to Reach Your Communities on January 20, 2022, 4:00 pm — During this 60-minute interactive webinar, experts will answer your most pressing questions on effective social media communication strategies and share the best practices for leveraging social media in your community -- especially with limited resources and small budgets. Two local communities will also highlight equity centered approaches that ensure public health communications reach our most vulnerable populations, feature culturally competent content and resources, and combat misinformation. Register here.
- (Updated) General FAQs - New questions include high-risk congregate settings and the updated CDC isolation and quarantine guidance; isolation and quarantine guidance for school lunch and sports; flying during day 6-10 of isolation or quarantine; and self-testing guidance. Updated questions include mask guidance; new isolation and quarantine guidance; staying up-to-date on COVID-19 vaccines; prevention measures; VDH texts from 804-336-3915 or 855-922-2644; treatments- mABs and antivirals; the Omicron variant; obtaining test results; isolation and quarantine guidance for K-12 schools; guidance for individuals with a previous COVID-19 infection within the last 90 days; guidance for childcare programs; Children and COVID-19; vaccine protection: MIS-C; travel guidance; cruise travel; healthcare providers reporting at-home testing results
- (Updated) Travelers webpage - Updated guidance to reflect recommendations for isolation and quarantine.
- (Updated) Quarantine and Isolation
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.