**The newsletter will not be sent out the week of 9/6/21.**
- VDH is closely monitoring the guidance around COVID-19 booster shots, which is dependent on authorization by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and recommendation by CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). We are preparing for a number of different scenarios, and will provide further guidance to clinicians and the public as it becomes available. As for COVID-19 vaccines for children under the age of 12 years, these clinical trials are ongoing and there is no official word on the timeframe for vaccine approval.
- New: The VDH COVID-19 Vaccine Pharmacy Team has a new email to better support our pharmacy providers and long-term care facilities (LTCFs). Please email COVIDpharmacysupport@vdh.virginia.gov for COVID-19 vaccine questions or concerns related to pharmacies or LTCFs.
- Updated VDH Update for Children in K-12 Settings
- Updated:Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Healthcare Personnel (HCP) During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic
- Updated source control recommendations to address limited situations for healthcare facilities in counties with low to moderate community transmission where select fully vaccinated individuals could choose not to wear source control. However, in general, the safest practice is for everyone in a healthcare setting to wear source control.
- Updated quarantine recommendations for fully vaccinated patients who have had close contact with someone with SARS-CoV-2 infection to more closely align with recommendations for the community (these people are no longer recommended to quarantine after close contact exposure, but there could be exceptions - e.g., if moderately/severely immunocompromised, if false positive test result, or during a healthcare facility outbreak).
- Clarified the recommended intervals for testing asymptomatic HCP with a higher-risk exposure and patients with close contact with someone with SARS-CoV-2 infection (testing with 2 viral tests is recommended: the first test should be immediately but not <2 days after exposure; the second test, conducted if the first test is negative, should be 5-7 days after exposure).
- Added content from previously posted CDC guidance addressing:
- Recommendations for fully vaccinated HCP, patients, and visitors
- SARS-CoV-2 testing
- Duration of Transmission-Based Precautions for patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection
- Specialized healthcare settings (e.g., dental facilities, dialysis facilities, EMS)
- Updated: Interim Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations to Prevent SARS-CoV-2 Spread in Nursing Homes - 9/10/21 updates involved the following:
- Updated outbreak response guidance to promote use of contact tracing approach. Alternative broad-based approaches to outbreak response at a facility-wide or unit level are also described.
- Updated expanded screening testing recommendations for healthcare personnel (HCP).
- Updated recommendations for quarantine of fully vaccinated residents.
- Updated visitation guidance.
- Updated: ) On the Health Professional's Specialty Care website (tab = Eye Care Professionals), added updated guidance from the Health Policy Institute and the American Optometric Association from July 2021: Updated Eye Protection, Face Mask and Contingency Planning for Doctors of Optometry and Their Staff in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
- New: CDC has launched the SmartFind COVID-19 Vaccine ChatBot This new tool – which is tailored to both healthcare providers and the general public – provides an automated ChatBot to quickly connect visitors with credible information and resources about COVID-19 vaccination. This new Chatbot is another resource designed to help people make informed choices about COVID-19 vaccination.
- New: This COVID Comms tools + Resources site helps Virginia communicators stay on top of weekly updates relating to COVID comms resources. We highlight the latest tools from teams across VDH, CDC + partners.
- Updated: CDC Partner Update: COVID-19 Test Kit Supply Chain Information On September 2, CDC issued a partner update regarding the increase in demand for COVID-19 testing – including both the laboratory-based, point-of-care (POC) process, as well as the self-administered, over the counter (OTC) method. Testing manufacturers report a strong availability of laboratory-based and POC testing, thus utilizing this technique when possible is strongly advised for the time being. Testing Services COVID-19 Testing Toolkit
- New: VDH COVID FAQs - NEW: school guidance, PHO- metrics, violations; masks in schools and on school buses; quarantine in school settings; school based screening and diagnostic testing. UPDATES: mask guidance- FDA standards and ASTM Barrier Face Covering standard; links to additional FAQs on the Public Health order; flu season, flu symptoms, and flu shots; variants of interest; at-home testing; COVID-19 severity in kids; email from VDH after international travel
- Short Dated Moderna Doses - We have received reports from multiple providers that they received direct shipments of Moderna with expiration dates roughly 1 month from when the doses were received. We have reported the incident to the CDC, but we are trying to get a broader understanding of the scope of the issue. If you received Moderna doses, please check the expiration dates of the LOT numbers by checking the site below. If you did receive short-dated doses, please let us know by sending a note to email@example.com. https://www.modernatx.com/covid19vaccine-eua/providers/vial-lookup
- Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Ordering - Federal direct shipments of the Johnson & Johnson/Janssen (J&J) vaccine have resumed and orders will once again be fulfilled on VaxMaX. The doses that are received should be long-dated and should have close to their full shelf life.
- Pfizer Shipments - The CDC has updated their guidance on when providers can expect to receive their ancillary kits and vaccine during our weekly orders. Ancillary kits should be received on Friday and the doses should be received between Monday and Wednesday the following week.
- Reminder: Updated Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Expiration Extension - Please note: Cartons and vials of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine may remain in use for 3 months beyond the expiry date printed on the label as long as authorized storage conditions between -90°C to -60°C (-130°F to -76°F) have been maintained. Please note: the ultra-cold temperature range has been broadened to include -90° C (-130°F). Frozen vials stored at -25°C to -15°C and refrigerated vials (2°C to 8°C) are NOT eligible for extension.
- Updated expiry dates for vaccine maintained in ultra-cold storage are shown Here
- Updated Product Information Guide for COVID-19 Vaccines and Associated Products - CDC’s Clinical Education Team has updated the Product Information Guide for COVID-19 Vaccines and Associated Products to reflect changes in product availability (e.g., J&J/Janssen vaccine availability starting the week of September 6, 2021 in VTrckS, order configurations, and the FDA approval of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COMINARTY). The full updated document can be found here after logging in:
- For questions about VaxMaX and its functionality, please visit the VaxMaX Help website, which includes reference guides and tutorial videos.
Best Practice Spotlight
- VDH has updated the Coping with Stress prevention and tips page.
- Check out our complete list of COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Best Practices and our Lightning Learnings: Best Practices for Busy Providers!
- Join the Virginia Department of Health for a webinar on "COVID-19 Boosters and New Therapies: What’s New, What’s True" on October 6, 2021 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. This one-hour webinar has been approved for Continuing Medical Education (CME) credit / Continuing Education (CE) credit for physicians, nurses, and pharmacists. The webinar is free and open to all healthcare professionals and all healthcare staff. Please share details with colleagues and members of your professional organizations.
- CDC What’s New Webinar: Equity and Policy Preparedness during Public Health Emergencies: CDC, in conjunction with the National Governors Association (NGA) and the American Bar Association, will host a “What’s New: Equity and Policy Preparedness during Public Health Emergencies” webinar from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, September 14, 2021. This webinar is aimed at preparedness and response professionals and will focus on how states and territories can better serve these groups through the end of the COVID-19 response and future public health emergencies. Specifically, this webinar leverages lessons learned from the efforts of states and territories to meet the needs of disproportionately affected groups in 2020, to identify persistent barriers, and to identify promising practices for states seeking to address longstanding public health equity issues. Register here to attend the webinar.
- CommuniVax and the John Hopkins Center for Health Security Webinar: “Carrying Equity in COVID-19 Vaccination Forward in Local Areas” at 2 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, September 15, 2021. This webinar will discuss the impact of research and outreach in four local areas, which together represent a mix of Black and Hispanic/Latino communities in rural to urban areas. Local leaders and public health officials will hear about these communities and what they have done – and are doing – to address the challenges they are facing related to COVID-19 vaccination and equity. Panelists will also discuss what is needed in their communities to implement the CommuniVax recommendations relating to rebuilding and strengthening the public health infrastructure and community health. Register here to attend the webinar.
- Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBAC) - September 17, 2021, 8:30am - 3:45pm: The committee will meet in open session to discuss the Pfizer-BioNTech supplemental Biologics License Application for COMIRNATY for administration of a third dose, or “booster” dose, of the COVID-19 vaccine, in individuals 16 years of age and older. Click here to join the meeting.
- Training Webinars on Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine - Pfizer will be hosting a series of training sessions to review information and answer questions about the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. Please click on the links below to join the sessions at the designated times. Each training below is the same content.
- New: CDC launches COVID-19 resources for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities | CDC Online Newsroom. From Press release: "The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has created unique challenges for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). To address them, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created a COVID-19 toolkit with communication resources explaining in plain language how people with IDD and caregivers can protect themselves from the virus." Full release here.
- New: One way CDC is contributing to vaccination efforts is by promoting the work happening in communities across the country through COVID-19 Vaccine Community Features. Each week CDC will feature stories that celebrate the people behind the vaccination program and give other communities ideas to improve their programs. Send stories you would like us to feature to ISDcomm@cdc.gov. Include “CVCF Submission” in the subject, a summary of your story, and contact information. They will review the suggestion and send follow up instructions.
- New: Pediatric Data on CDC COVID Tracker Website - CDC recently added a Pediatric Data page to catalog all pediatric data currently available and provide cross-links to additional resources and recommendations.
- Updated:VDH General Recommendations for Businesses and Organizations; Maintaining a Health Facility and Preventing COVID-19
- New: White House: Path out of the Pandemic - President Biden is implementing a six-pronged, comprehensive national strategy that employs the same science-based approach that was used to successfully combat previous variants of COVID-19 earlier this year. These six strategies include: Vaccinating the Unvaccinated, Further Protecting the Vaccinated, Keeping Schools Safely Open, Increasing Testing & Requiring Masking, Protecting Our Economic Recovery, and Improving Care for those with COVID-19. More specifically, President Biden moved to mandate vaccination for health care workers, federal contractors, and the vast majority of federal workers, who could face disciplinary measures if they refuse. The plan also reaches into the private sector to mandate that all companies with more than 100 workers require vaccination or weekly testing.
- CDC Resources
- CDC hosted a Clinician Outreach Communication Activity (COCA) call on Influenza Vaccination Recommendations and Guidance on Coadministration with COVID-19 Vaccines. For more information, you can read the slides or watch the webinar here: Webinar September 9, 2021 - 2021-2022 Influenza Vaccination Recommendations and Guidance on Coadministration with COVID-19 Vaccines (cdc.gov)
- Read our new spotlight about a CDC program, Partnering for Vaccine Equity, launched in 2020 that aims to reduce disparities in flu and COVID-19 vaccine access and uptake among racial and ethnic minority groups in the U.S. The program uses a community-based approach, engaging trusted local messengers to support vaccine education through culturally appropriate messages and connecting communities and vaccination providers. Learn more here.
- Updated: Notify Your Contacts (translations) - located on VDH Resources Tab (Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, Tagalog, Amharic, Korean) - Simplified and updated language and added links to websites for the most up to date information on various definitions.
- New: Counterfeit or fake vaccination cards should be reported to the HHS Office of the Inspector at 1-800-HHS-TIPS or www.oig.hhs.gov and the FBI at tips.fbi.gov.
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.