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Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Update

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04/16/2021

HBMA COVID-19 Federal Response Update

Vaccine, Testing and Treatment

  • On Tuesday, the CDC and the FDA recommended a temporary pause on the use of Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine due to reports of incredibly rare yet serious blood clots associated with the vaccine. More specifically, six total cases (all women between the ages of 18 and 48) of the blood clots have been report out of almost seven million administered doses of the J&J vaccine. One of these cases resulted in a fatality.
    • These blood clots are an unusual type and should not be treated with medication used for more comment blood clot conditions.
    • The CDC convened an emergency meeting of its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) to discuss updated recommendations for the vaccine. The ACIP did not issue new recommendations because it is waiting for more data. Many states rely on the ACIP’s recommendations to formulate their own vaccination guidelines and policies.
    • Public health officials defended the decision to pause use of the J&J vaccine as not an overreaction but some criticized the ACIP’s decision to delay its recommendations.
    • It could be weeks before the CDC issues new recommendations to end the pause. 
    • Meanwhile, the White House is working with Moderna and Pfizer to increase supply of their vaccines to fill the void left by the J&J pause. However, only four percent of total COVID-19 vaccinations were J&J. Pfizer already announced it is exceeding its production targets.
    • What to do if you recently received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
    • Four things to know about the J&J COVID Vaccine Pause.
  • New data from the CDC shows a total of 5,800 “breakthrough” infections of COVID-19 for people who were fully vaccinated. For comparison, over 77 million people have been fully vaccinated. Seven percent of these infections resulted in hospitalization and a total of 74 people died.
    • NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci says breakthrough infections are inevitable.
  • Moderna says new data shows its vaccine is 90 percent effective six months after the second dose.
  • New research shows the COVID-19 variant first identified in the United Kingdom, though more contagious, is not associated with more severe disease or death.
  • Pfizer believes booster vaccine doses will be needed every year.
  • Expanding eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines could exacerbate racial vaccination inequities.
  • New research shows a lack of physical activity is tied to severe COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Federal public health officials oppose proposals to increase the spacing between vaccine doses.
  • NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed confidence in the AstraZeneca vaccine’s effectiveness but acknowledges that safety concerns must be resolved. He also said that the United States might not need the vaccine due to ample supplies of other vaccines.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Updates