HHS Announces New $350 Million Initiative to Increase COVID-19 Vaccinations

November 30, 2022

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

HHS Announces New $350 Million Initiative to Increase COVID-19 Vaccinations: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), announced a new $350 million initiative for HRSA-supported health centers to increase COVID-19 vaccines in their communities, with a specific focus on underserved populations. This funding supports health centers administering updated COVID-19 vaccines through mobile, drive-up, walk-up, or community-based vaccination events, including working with community-based organizations, and other efforts to increase the administration of COVID-19 vaccines.

Health and Human Services Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs (HHDIEA) – COVID-19 Updates

November 28, 2022

HHSIEA COVID-19 Research Update

HHS Releases Long COVID Report Providing Insights and Opportunities to Support Patient Community: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a new report that highlights patients’ experience of Long COVID to better understand its complexities and drive creative responses by government leaders, clinicians, patient advocates and others. Long COVID is a set of conditions. Researchers have cataloged more than 50 conditions linked to Long COVID that impact nearly every organ system. Estimates vary, but research suggests that between 5 percent and 30 percent of those who had COVID-19 may have Long COVID symptoms, and roughly one million people are out of the workforce at any given time due to Long COVID. This figure equates to approximately $50 billion annually in lost salaries. The Health+ Long COVID Report builds on the President’s  Memorandum on Addressing the Long-Term Effects of COVID-19 and the two previously issued HHS Long COVID reports. The report was commissioned by HHS and produced by Coforma, an independent third-party design and research agency. It provides recommendations on how to deliver high-quality care, and relevant and intentional resources and supports to individuals and families impacted by Long COVID. For the full report and to learn more, visit  Health+ Long COVID | HHS.gov.

Health and Human Services Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs (HHDIEA) – COVID-19 Updates

November 28, 2022

HHSIEA COVID-19 Update Testing and Treatment

The Hotgen COVID-19 Antigen Home Test: The FDA  issued an emergency use authorization for the Hotgen COVID-19 Antigen Home Test , an over-the-counter (OTC) COVID-19 antigen diagnostic test that shows results in 15 minutes. The test can be used as a serial test for people within the first 7 days of experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or for individuals without symptoms. The test should be repeated if a negative result is found – at least twice over 3 days with at least 48 hours between tests if the individual has symptoms, or at least 3 times over 5 days with at least 48 hours between tests if the individual does not have symptoms. The test can be used for people aged 14 years or older with a self-collected nasal swab sample and age 2 years or older when an adult collects the nasal swab sample.

Health and Human Services Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs (HHSIEA) COVID-19 Updates

November 18, 2022

HHSIEA – COVID-19–Associated Hospitalizations Among U.S. Infants Aged <6 Months

CDC published an MMWR on COVID-19–associated hospitalizations among U.S. infants aged less than 6 Months in 13 States from June 2021 to August 2022. Infants aged <6 months, who are ineligible for vaccination, have high COVID-19–associated hospitalization rates compared with other pediatric age groups. Although population-based COVID-19–associated hospitalization rates among infants aged <6 months increased in the Omicron variant–predominant periods compared with the Delta variant–predominant period, indicators of the most severe disease among hospitalized infants aged <6 months did not. Pregnant women should stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccination to help protect themselves and infants too young to be vaccinated. Non pharmaceutical measures should be used to help protect infants ineligible for vaccination.

Why pediatricians worry about the end of the COVID Public Health Emergency (PHE)

November 4, 2022

Why pediatricians worry about the end of the COVID Public Health Emergency (PHE)

Millions of children across the U.S. rely on Medicaid for health coverage. Since the start of the COVID pandemic, a federal emergency declaration has allowed them to receive continuous coverage. In Missouri, doctors and advocates are worried about the end of the PHE and its impact on children. NRHA has recently added and updated materials relevant to kids 5+ within the association’s Rural Vaccine Confidence Initiative to help rural health stakeholders continue to communicate COVID-19 vaccine efficacy and safety in their own words at the local level. Additionally, the UNC School of Medicine, an NRHA member, was recently awarded $3 million for emerging pathogen preparedness and training.

Health and Human Services Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs (HHSIEA)

November 1, 2022

Notes from the Field: Dispensing of Oral Antiviral Drugs for Treatment of COVID-19 by Zip Code–Level Social Vulnerability:

CDC published an MMWR on dispensing of oral antiviral drugs for treatment of COVID-19 by zip code–level social vulnerability in the United States from December 23, 2021 to August 28, 2022. Equitable access to COVID-19 therapeutics is a critical aspect of the distribution program led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Two oral antiviral products, nirmatrelvir/ritonavir (Paxlovid) and molnupiravir (Lagevrio), received emergency use authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December 2021, to reduce the risk for COVID-19–associated hospitalization and death for those patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at higher risk for severe illness. HHS has been distributing these medications at no cost to recipients since their authorization. Data collected from provider sites during December 23, 2021 to May 21, 2022, indicated substantial disparities in the population-adjusted dispensing rates in high social vulnerability (high-vulnerability) zip codes compared with those in medium- and low-vulnerability zip codes. Specifically, dispensing rates for the 4-week period during April 24 to May 21, 2022, were 122 per 100,000 residents (19% of overall population-adjusted dispensing rates) in high-vulnerability zip codes compared with 247 (42%) in medium-vulnerability and 274 (39%) in low-vulnerability zip codes. This report provides an updated analysis of dispensing rates by zip code–level social vulnerability and highlights important intervention strategies.

Health and Human Services Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs (HHSIEA)

November 1, 2022

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Outpatient Treatment of COVID-19:

CDC published an MMWR on racial and ethnic disparities in outpatient treatment of COVID-19 in the United States from January to July, 2022. Outpatient medications are effective at preventing severe COVID-19 and are important to pandemic mitigation. Paxlovid is the most commonly prescribed medication and the preferred outpatient therapeutic for eligible patients. Racial and ethnic disparities persisted in outpatient COVID-19 treatment through July 2022. During April–July 2022, the percentage of COVID-19 patients aged ≥20 years treated with Paxlovid was 36% and 30% lower among Black and Hispanic patients than among White and non-Hispanic patients, respectively. These disparities existed among all age groups and patients with immunocompromise. Expansion of programs to increase awareness of and access to available outpatient COVID-19 treatments can help protect persons at high risk for severe illness and facilitate equitable health outcomes.

Upcoming Health and Human Services Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs (HHSIEA) Events

November 1, 2022

Addressing the Challenges of COVID-19: The Current State of the Pandemic

The NIH Florida Community Engagement Alliance (CEAL) Against COVID-19 Disparities team at Mayo Clinic is partnering with the Health and Human Services Partnership Center, AltaMed Health Services, and other organizations to host a panel event centered around the current state of the pandemic. Panelists include health leaders, health education experts, faith leaders, and mental health experts to answer questions related to the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic, how to care for our mental health, and how faith plays a role in health decisions.

Please send any questions in advance to otero.jessica@mayo.edu

Date: Wednesday, November 2nd
Watch the prerecorded event here.

HHS Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs COVID-19 Update

October 21, 2022  

Influenza and COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage Among Healthcare Personnel: CDC published an MMWR on Influenza and COVID-19 vaccination coverage among healthcare personnel . Influenza and COVID-19 vaccines are recommended for all persons aged ≥6 months, including health care personnel (HCP). HCP influenza vaccination coverage was 79.9% during the 2021–22 season; 87.3% completed primary COVID-19 vaccination, 67.1% of whom received a COVID-19 booster dose. Influenza, primary COVID-19, and COVID-19 booster coverage was higher among HCP who reported employer vaccination requirements for those vaccines; coverage was lowest among HCP working in long-term care settings. Enhanced efforts are needed to improve HCP vaccination coverage, especially with COVID-19 booster doses and annually for influenza vaccines. Staying up to date with COVID-19 and influenza vaccines can protect HCP and their patients.

HHS Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs COVID-19 Update

October 21, 2022                                                  

Effectiveness of COVID-19 mRNA Vaccines Against COVID-19-Associated Hospitalization Among Immunocompetent Adults During BA.1/BA.2 and BA.4/BA.5 Predominant Periods of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron Variant in the United States

CDC published an MMWR on effectiveness of monovalent mRNA vaccines against COVID-19–associated hospitalization among immunocompetent adults during BA.1/BA.2 and BA.4/BA.5 predominant periods of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant in 18 states from December 2021 to August 2022. Monovalent mRNA vaccine effectiveness (VE) against COVID-19–associated hospitalization wanes over time; less is known about durability of protection during the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron BA.4/BA.5–predominant period. Three-dose monovalent mRNA VE estimates against COVID-19–associated hospitalization decreased with time since vaccination. Three-dose VE during the BA.1/BA.2 and BA.4/BA.5 periods was 79% and 60%, respectively, during the initial 120 days after the third dose and decreased to 41% and 29%, respectively, after 120 days from vaccination. Eligible adults aged ≥18 years should receive an updated bivalent COVID-19 mRNA vaccine to maximize protection against BA.4/BA.5 lineages and to prevent COVID-19–associated hospitalization.