Tag: vaccines

Updated CDC Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Individuals

This past week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updated their guidance related to the COVID-19 vaccination. The guidance modifies the quarantine restrictions for fully vaccinated individuals who were exposed to COVID-19. The guidance is a small sign of progress for many EMS organizations who have been on the frontlines of the pandemic.

Under the most recent guidance, those individuals who are fully vaccinated (defined as those who are two weeks following the second dose administration), are within three months following the last dose in the series and have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure, are not required to quarantine. Individuals who do not meet all three criteria, must follow the current quarantine guidance. The guidance recommends that individuals who meet all three criteria should continue to monitor for COVID-19 related symptoms for two weeks following the exposure. If symptoms develop, individuals should be tested.

Many EMS organizations have inquired if the administration of the COVID-19 vaccination to their workforce modifies the state-level mask mandates or other bloodborne/airborne pathogen protection practices or procedures that are currently in place at EMS organizations or other healthcare facilities.  While the roll-out of the vaccination is a step in the direction of returning to a “new normal”, employers should know that this does not modify any existing COVID-19 related restrictions or requirements.  Employees should continue to wear masks, socially distance, and follow all other COVID-19 recommended safety precautions.

We will keep you informed of updates to the guidance by the CDC and other regulatory agencies.  Be sure to visit the CDC’s website for more information on the current CDC guidance for COVID-19 or the COVID-19 vaccination.  As always, if you have questions or need assistance, contact the AAA at hello@ambulance.org.

EMS.gov | Training Resources for Vaccination Programs Using EMTs

From EMS.gov on February 10

These resources can serve as just in time training for vaccination programs utilizing emergency medical technicians:

Training video on COVID-19 intramuscular vaccine administration
This video created by the Maryland Institute of Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) can be used to provide EMTs with didactic knowledge to administer IM injections. With the exception of the MIEMSS link referenced in the video, it can be used by EMTs in any state or territory. It should be accompanied by a skills assessment, which is discussed below.

Intramuscular Injection Skill Checklist
A clinical skills assessment checklist for EMTs preparing to administer IM injections.

SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Training for EMTs
A written description of the skills required of EMTs to administer the vaccine.

Moderna and Pfizer Vaccine Comparison
A simple side-by-side comparison of the Pfizer and Moderna SARS-CoV-2 vaccines

Vaccine Update Video
In this presentation from late January 2021, Florida State EMS Medical Director Kenneth Scheppke, MD, provides an overview of the latest science related to COVID vaccines.

COVID-19 Vaccination Training Programs and Reference Materials for Healthcare Professionals
CDC recommended resources to prepare healthcare workers to administer COVID-19 vaccines.

EMS Vaccine Administration Program Manual
This guide from the State of Indiana can serve as a resource to help state and local officials and EMS organizations with the creation and implementation of EMS vaccination programs.

CDC | National Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine

Download CDC Fact Sheet

In support of the Biden-Harris administration’s National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is organizing a virtual National Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine that will bring together practitioners from national, state, tribal, local, and territorial levels who are engaged in vaccinating communities across the nation.

The Forum will facilitate information exchange on the most effective strategies to:

  • Build trust and confidence in COVID-19 vaccines
  • Use data to drive vaccine implementation
  • Provide practical information for optimizing and maximizing equitable vaccine access

Practitioners include representatives of organizations focused on vaccine implementation in communities from:

  • State, tribal, local, and territorial public health departments
  • Healthcare system providers and administrators and their national affiliate organizations
  • Pharmacies
  • Medical and public health academic institutions
  • Community-based health service organizations

Dates and Deadlines:

  • February 9: Registration opens: www.cdc.gov/covidvaccineforum
  • February 16: Last day to register
  • February 22: Building Trust and Vaccine Confidence
  • February 23: Data to Drive Vaccine Implementation
  • February 24: Optimize and Maximize Equitable Access

Download CDC Fact Sheet

CMS | COVID-19 Vaccine Resources

As COVID-19 vaccines begin rolling out across the country CMS is taking action to protect the health and safety of our nation’s patients and providers and keeping you updated on the latest COVID-19 resources from HHS, CDC and CMS.

With information coming from many different sources, CMS has compiled resources and materials to help you share important and relevant information on the COVID- 19 vaccine with the people that you serve. You can find these and more resources on the COVID-19 Partner Resources Page and the HHS COVID Education Campaign page. We look forward to partnering with you to promote vaccine safety and encourage our beneficiaries to get vaccinated when they have the opportunity.

If you are a healthcare provider:

Both the CDC and CMS have useful resources for your practice. Look to CDC for the latest science, vaccine administration information and patient-focused resources.

You can find additional resources on the CDC Resources for Health Care Providers Page.

CMS released aCOVID-19 Provider Toolkit to ensure health care providers have the necessary tools to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The toolkit includes information on:

You can also review the set of COVID-19 FAQs, which has information specific to health care providers who bill Medicare for administering COVID-19 vaccines.

Here’s what else you should know:

  • Medicare covers the COVID-19 vaccine, so there will be no cost to your patients with Medicare.  Medicare will reimburse you for administering the vaccine.
  • State governments are handling the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Look for updates from your state and local officials as more doses of the vaccine become available for additional priority groups.
  • People without health insurance or whose insurance does not provide coverage of the vaccine can also get COVID-19 vaccine at no cost.  Providers administering the vaccine to people without health insurance or whose insurance does not provide coverage of the vaccine can request reimbursement for the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine through the Provider Relief Fund.
  • Most professional associations have pages devoted to COVID-19 vaccination.  Your association may have advice tailored to your discipline, specialty and/or location.

How can you help educate your patients?

  • You are a trusted source…encourage your patients to get the vaccine when it is available to them.
  • Let them know the vaccine is no cost and will help keep them from getting COVID-19. Learn more about the benefits of the vaccine.
  • Let them know the vaccine is safe and that safety is a top priority for COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Remind them to continue practicing the 3Ws (Wear a Mask, Watch your distance, Wash your hands).

Questions? Please e-mail us: Partnership@cms.hhs.gov

CDC | Essential Workers Vaccine Communication Toolkit

CDC has designed a COVID-19 Vaccination Communication Toolkit for Essential Workers to help employers build confidence in this important new vaccine. The toolkit will help employers across various industries educate their workforce about COVID-19 vaccines, raise awareness about the benefits of vaccination, and address common questions and concerns.

Access Toolkit

The toolkit contains a variety of resources including:

  • key messages,
  • an educational slide deck,
  • FAQs,
  • posters/flyers,
  • newsletter content,
  • a plain language vaccine factsheet (available in several different languages),
  • a template letter for employees,
  • social media content, and
  • vaccination sticker templates.

This toolkit will help your organization educate employees about COVID-19 vaccines, raise awareness about the benefits of vaccination, and address common questions and concerns.
Access Toolkit

BMJ | Pfizer Second Dose Efficacy 95%

Covid-19: Pfizer vaccine efficacy was 52% after first dose and 95% after second dose, paper shows
BMJ 2020; 371 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m4826 (Published 11 December 2020)
Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m4826

The Pfizer and BioNTech covid-19 vaccine may provide some early protection, starting 12 days after the first dose, the peer reviewed results of a phase III trial have found.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine,1 found that vaccine efficacy between the first and second doses was 52% (95% credible interval 29.5% to 68.4%), with 39 cases of covid-19 in the vaccine group and 82 cases in the placebo group.

Seven or more days after the second dose, vaccine efficacy then rose to 95% (90.3% to 97.6%), with eight covid-19 cases reported in the vaccine group and 162 cases in the placebo group.

The vaccine has so far been approved in Canada and in the UK, where it is already being rolled out to people over 80 and healthcare workers. In the US the Food and Drug Administration’s independent panel has voted in favour of emergency use authorisation for the vaccine, and the agency is expected to approve it within days.2

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JEMS Op-Ed | You Should Take the Vaccine

COVID-19 Can Kill You Now or Later. You Should Take the Vaccine.
By AJ Heightman on December 31, 2020

It pains me to have to write about a young, healthy EMS provider/firefighter from my hometown of Scranton, PA, but there is an important message for you to hear about COVID-19 and importance for all emergency responders to take the vaccines being offered to them.

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On-Demand | EMS Physician Virtual Town Hall: COVID Vaccines

Cohosted by NAEMT, NAEMSP, and NASEMSO
Recorded Thursday, January 7, 2021
2:00–3:00 pm EST

EMS practitioners have been serving as the “tip of the spear” in responding to and managing the COVID-19 pandemic. Paramedics and EMTs across the country have contracted COVID-19, and too many have succumbed to the virus. The launch of the vaccination program has included a great deal of information about the vaccines, not all of which has been accurate. Confusing or misleading information about COVID-19 vaccinations may cause some EMS practitioners to choose not to receive the vaccine.

To help cut through the noise, NAEMT has assembled some of our nation’s most notable EMS physician leaders for a virtual town hall to answer your questions and concerns regarding the COVID vaccines. This will be a spirited discussion, led primarily by the questions YOU ask. Questions can be asked live, or submitted in advance to Matt Zavadsky.

Moderator: Matt Zavadsky, MS-HSA, NREMT – Chief Strategic Integration Officer, Medstar Mobile Healthcare, Ft. Worth, TX; 2019-2020 President, NAEMT

Panelists:

  • Doug Kupas, MD, FAEMS, FACEP – EMS Medical Director, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; NAEMSP Board Member; NASEMSO Medical Director’s Council
  • Kenneth A. Scheppke, MD, FAEMS – EMS Medical Director, State of Florida; Medical Director, Palm Beach County Fire Rescue
  • Veer D. Vithalani, MD, FACEP, FAEMS – System Medical Director, Office of the Medical Director, Metropolitan Area EMS Authority; Chief Medical Officer, MedStar Mobile Healthcare
  • Jon R. Krohmer, MD, FACEP, FAEMS – Director, Office of EMS, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; Team Lead, HHS Healthcare Resiliency Working Group EMS/Prehospital Team

de Beaumont | COVID-19 Vaccine Acceptance Language

From the de Beaumont Foundation

The findings of a new national poll, “The Language of Vaccine Acceptance,” reveal the urgent need for political and health leaders to adjust their messaging to improve confidence in COVID-19 vaccines. The poll identifies the language that will be most effective in reaching all Americans, especially those who are currently less likely to take a vaccine, including rural Americans, Republicans age 18-49, Black Americans 18-49, and women 18-49.

The nationwide poll was conducted by the de Beaumont Foundation and pollster Frank Luntz in partnership with the American Public Health Association, the National Collaborative for Health Equity, and Resolve to Save Lives, an Initiative of Vital Strategies.

Highlights

  • Sixty percent of Americans said they were either “absolutely certain” or would “probably” get the vaccine if they could now.
  • The groups least likely to say they were “absolutely certain” were Americans in rural/farm communities (26%), Republicans age 18-49 (27%), Black Americans 18-49 (28%), and women 18-49 (29%). This compares with 41% of all respondents who said they were “absolutely certain” they would get the vaccine.
  • When asked about the biggest concern about taking the COVID-19 vaccine, one-third of all respondents (33%) said either long-term side effects or short-term side effects. The top three statements about side effects that respondents found most reassuring were “the likelihood of experiencing a severe side effect is less than 0.5%,” mild side effects “are normal signs that their body is building protection,” and “most side effects should go away in a few days.”
  • When asked what they want most from a vaccine, respondents said “a return to normal,” followed by “safety” and “immunity.”
  • When asked which statement was the most convincing, 62% of respondents chose “getting vaccinated will help keep you, your family, your community, the economy, and your country safe and healthy” over “taking the vaccine is the right thing to do for yourself, for your family, your community, the economy, and the country” (38%). This highlights the need to avoid moralizing and lecturing Americans when it comes to the importance of vaccine acceptance.
  • Family is by far the most powerful motivator for vaccine acceptance. Significantly more Americans said they’d be most willing to take the vaccine for their family as opposed to “your country,” “the economy,” “your community,” or “your friends.”
  • The most convincing reasons to take the vaccine were “at 95 percent efficacy, this vaccine is extraordinarily effective at protecting you from the virus” and “vaccines will help bring this pandemic to an end,” and “getting vaccinated will help keep you, your family, your community, and your country healthy and safe.”

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COVID-19 Healthcare Resilience Working Group Vax Videos

The Federal Pre-Hospital / EMS COVID-19 Healthcare Resilience Working Group put together two wonderful videos to encourage EMS providers to get both the COVID-19 vaccination and seasonal flu shot. Please share with your staff!

Watch Video 1: https://vimeo.com/492847212/3682909c4c

Watch Video 2: https://vimeo.com/492847424/d5a17f6b4c

 

 

NYT | What You Can Do Post-Vaccine, and When

From the New York Times

Vaccines are here, bringing hope of the pandemic’s end. But even when you get your dose, it won’t mean an immediate return to life as you knew it.

Scientists cite several reasons for staying masked and cautious as you start your post-vaccine life. Vaccines don’t offer perfect protection; we don’t yet know whether vaccinated people can spread the virus; and coronavirus is likely to continue its rapid spread until a large majority of the population is vaccinated or has survived a natural infection.

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National Academies | Vaccine Confidence Information Gathering Session

Friday. December 18, 2020
11:30–16:00 ET

Register Free

To inform a forthcoming rapid expert consultation on building public confidence in SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, the Societal Experts Action Network (SEAN) of the National Academies will hold an information gathering session on vaccine confidence. The session will cover the current state of vaccine confidence, reasons for hesitancy, and best practices for messaging. Facilitated discussions will incorporate special attention to communities at higher risk of contracting and dying from COVID-19, including underserved and vulnerable communities. Drawing from what is known about reaching and engaging diverse audiences to change beliefs and attitudes, this session will illustrate strategies that are likely to promote uptake of FDA-approved vaccines to prevent COVID-19.

This project is being done in collaboration with the Standing Committee on Emerging Infectious Diseases and 21st Century Health Threats.

Register Free

ACEP | EMS Priority Access to the COVID-19 Vaccine

Thank you to ACEP for the following statement.

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CDC ACIP | Reccs for Allocating Initial COVID-19 Vaccines

From the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ Interim Recommendation for Allocating Initial Supplies of COVID-19 Vaccine — United States, 2020

What is already known about this topic?

Demand is expected to exceed supply during the first months of the national COVID-19 vaccination program.

What is added by this report?

The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended, as interim guidance, that both 1) health care personnel and 2) residents of long-term care facilities be offered COVID-19 vaccine in the initial phase of the vaccination program.

What are the implications for public health practice?

Federal, state, and local jurisdictions should use this guidance for COVID-19 vaccination program planning and implementation. ACIP will consider vaccine-specific recommendations and additional populations when a Food and Drug Administration–authorized vaccine is available.

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Dooling K, McClung N, Chamberland M, et al. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ Interim Recommendation for Allocating Initial Supplies of COVID-19 Vaccine — United States, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 3 December 2020. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6949e1

EMS1 | COVID-19 Vaccination Podcast

From Rob Lawrence’s EMS One Stop Podcast at EMS1

Scott Moore on COVID-19 Vaccination: EMS One-Stop With Rob Lawrence

The American Ambulance Association HR Consultant discusses options open to EMS managers to ensure providers are vaccinated

The word of the week is vaccine, but is it giving EMS leaders a headache already? Host Rob Lawrence discusses the issues with American Ambulance Association HR Consultant, Scott Moore. Rob and Scott discuss the options open to managers to ensure all are vaccinated, while acknowledging the hope that science and understanding will prevail. They also discuss the other major news item of the week, EMS funding and the lack of it as reduced incomes put the very viability of service delivery at risk.

Scott Moore is a Massachusetts licensed attorney and possesses certifications as both a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and the Society for Human Resources Management Certified Professional (SHRM-CP). He is a member of the American Bar Association (ABA), the Massachusetts Bar Association (MBA), the Northeast Human Resource Association (NEHRA), and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

In addition, Scott is an active member of the American Ambulance Association and has been a site reviewer for the Commission for the Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) for many years.

Read Rob’s article, “The word of the week is vaccine,” and listen to the podcast below.

CDC Advisory Committee Recommends EMS for Phase 1 Vaccine Distribution

As reported in various media outlets, on December 1 the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted 13-1 to recommend that health care providers, expressly including EMS personnel, be prioritized to receive the COVID-19 vaccines during Phase 1a of the vaccine distribution plan. The complicating factor is that State and local governments have the final say in whether these recommendations are incorporated into their own distribution plans. Thus, we encourage all AAA members to engage actively with their State and local governments to urge the adoption of the CDC recommendation. The AAA has developed a toolkit for members to use in reaching out to their state and local government officials.

View and Download Toolkit Here

The AAA has been engaging with ACIP and other federal policy makers to urge them to prioritize EMS in the vaccine distribution plan. On November 19, the AAA submitted a comment letter to the ACIP advocating that the advisory committee specifically include EMS personnel in their recommendation of groups in the first phase of receiving the vaccination. Even though States and local governments will create their own list, having EMS listed in Phase 1a CDC recommendations is a critically important step toward influencing the State and local process.

During its second emergency meeting in less than a month, ACIP met to develop recommendations on the prioritization of vaccines, given that it will be impossible to provide access to everyone in the United States immediately after the vaccines are approved. In both virtual meetings, Committee members noted the importance of EMS personnel having access to the vaccine in the very top tier for prioritization. Other health care personnel on this list are defined as hospitals, long-term care facilities, outpatient clinics, home health care, pharmacies, and public health. The Phase 1a tier also includes residents of nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other residential care settings, given that approximately 40 percent of all COVID-19 deaths have occurred in these settings. The final recommendation approved states:

When a COVID-19 vaccine is authorized by FDA and recommended by ACIP, vaccination in the initial phase of the COVID-19 vaccination program (Phase 1a) should be offered to both 1) health care personnel§ and 2) residents of long-term care facilities.

Health care personnel are defined as paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials.

Long-term care facility residents are defined as adults who reside in facilities that provide a variety of services, including medical and personal care, to persons who are unable to live independently.

The CDC plans to publish this recommendation in the Morbidity Mortality Weekly Report as well.

The only controversial issue related to whether long-term care facility residents should receive the vaccine given the limited information available about its effectiveness and safety in these populations.

Because President Trump has indicated that State and local governments do not have to follow the CDC recommendations, it is critically important that AAA members work closely with their State and local governments to ensure that the CDC recommendations with regard to EMS are adopted by them as well. The AAA has posted a tool kit on our website to help our members provide the necessary information to their State and local governments as they are making these decision.

ACIP will continue to evaluate the distribution prioritization for Phase 1b, which will likely be non-health care essential workers, and Phase 1c, which will include adults with high-risk medical conditions and adults 65 years or older.

NIH | Promising Interim Results from NIH-Moderna Vaccine

From the National Institutes of Health on November 16

Promising Interim Results from Clinical Trial of NIH-Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine

An independent data and safety monitoring board (DSMB) overseeing the Phase 3 trial of the investigational COVID-19 vaccine known as mRNA-1273 reviewed trial data and shared its interim analysis with the trial oversight group on Nov. 15, 2020. This interim review of the data suggests that the vaccine is safe and effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in adults. The interim analysis comprised 95 cases of symptomatic COVID-19 among volunteers. The DSMB reported that the candidate was safe and well-tolerated and noted a vaccine efficacy rate of 94.5%. The findings are statistically significant, meaning they are likely not due to chance. 90 of the cases occurred in the placebo group and 5 occurred in the vaccinated group. There were 11 cases of severe COVID-19 out of the 95 total, all of which occurred in the placebo group.

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