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.

HHS Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs COVID-19 Update

October 21, 2022
CDC Allows Novavax Monovalent COVID-19 Boosters for Adults Ages 18 and Older:

CDC’s Director Rochelle P. Walensky signed a decision memo allowing Novavax monovalent COVID-19 boosters for adults. This action gives people ages 18 years and older the option to receive a Novavax monovalent booster instead of an updated (bivalent) Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna booster if they have completed primary series vaccination but have not previously received a COVID-19 booster—and if they cannot or will not receive mRNA vaccines. Some may be unable to receive an mRNA vaccine as a result of an allergy to a component of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, or as a result of a history of a severe allergic reaction (such as anaphylaxis) after a previous dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine, or a lack of availability of an mRNA vaccine. People ages 18 and older may also choose to receive a Novavax monovalent booster if they are unwilling to receive mRNA vaccines, and would otherwise not receive a booster dose. FDA’s authorization of monovalent COVID-19 boosters and CDC’s recommendation for use, are important steps forward in our country’s comprehensive vaccination program—a program that has helped provide increased protection for all Americans COVID-19 disease and death.

HHS Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs COVID-19 Update for October 13, 2022

October 14, 2022

HHS Office of Intergovernmental and External affairs COVID-19 Update

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE COORDINATOR BRIEFING

Please read the full remarks here.

Dr. Jha: Dr. Jha emphasized the importance of getting the updated bivalent vaccines ahead of winter stating, “If you are up to date with your vaccines and if you get treated, if you have a breakthrough infection, your risk of dying from COVID is now close to zero.”

 

Updated COVID-19 Vaccines Providing Protection Against Omicron Variant Available at No Cost

October 7, 2022

Updated COVID-19 Vaccines Providing Protection Against Omicron Variant Available at No Cost

The Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), has announced that people with Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) coverage, private insurance coverage, or no health coverage can get COVID-19 vaccines, including the updated (bivalent) Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines, at no cost, for as long as the federal government continues purchasing and distributing these COVID-19 vaccines. Updated COVID-19 boosters add Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 spike protein components to the current vaccine composition, helping to restore protection that has diminished since previous vaccination by targeting variants that are more transmissible and immune-evading.

The boosters are authorized for use per the following:

  • Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent authorized for use in people ages 18 years and older.
  • Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent authorized for use in people ages 12 years and older.

Authorized as single booster dose administered at least 2 months after either:

  • Completion of primary vaccination with any authorized or approved monovalent COVID-19 vaccine, or
  • Receipt of the most recent booster dose with any authorized or approved monovalent COVID-19 vaccine.

Link to full News Alert

The CMS Office of Minority Health Director Dr. LaShawn McIver participated in a livestream forum with BlackDoctors.Org on October 4 to answer questions about vaccines including the newly updated COVID-19 vaccine.

Helpful Resources

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

Date: 10/03/2022

HSS COVID-19 Update

READING OF METTING WITH HEALTH SYSTEM AND HOSPITAL LEADERS ON MANAGING COVID-19 THIS FALL

White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, and U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy met with health system and hospital leaders to discuss the importance of acting aggressively this fall to protect their patients, health care workers, and communities from COVID-19 and the flu. The discussion focused on steps hospitals and health systems can take to help ensure all Americans, including health care workers, get their updated COVID-19 vaccine this fall, and encourage people to get tested and seek treatment when they get sick—steps that will save lives, reduce burden on the health care system, minimize disruptions to daily life, and help the U.S. effectively manage COVID-19.

INFORMATION FOR SPECIFIC POPULATIONS

Evusheld: FDA added important information to the authorized Fact Sheets for Evusheld (tixagevimab co-packaged with cilgavimab) to inform health care providers and individuals receiving Evusheld of the increased risk for developing COVID-19 when exposed to variants of SARS-CoV-2 that are not neutralized by Evusheld. Detailed neutralization data can be found in the revised authorized Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers. Health care professionals should inform patients of this risk and advise patients who develop signs or symptoms of COVID-19 to test for SARS-CoV-2 infection and promptly seek medical attention, including starting treatment for COVID-19, as appropriate if they test positive.

RESEARCH

Exploring a New Approach to Universal Vaccines Against COVID-19: NIH published a news story on a new approach to universal vaccines against COVID-19. Researchers at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) are exploring a different idea for vaccines. Instead of focusing on the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, they are studying the virus’s nucleocapsid (N) protein, which rarely mutates. The N protein could be the key to creating a future universal vaccine to fight emerging variants. NIAID researchers found that N proteins produced by cells infected with SARS-CoV-2 neutralize multiple chemokines. Chemokines are substances produced in response to an infection or injury, and they attract white blood cells to the area. When N proteins bind to chemokines, this binding weakens the body’s immune response. Without white blood cells to kill virus-infected cells, the virus keeps multiplying and infecting more cells. Until now, most scientists thought that N proteins stayed inside a cell infected by SARS-CoV-2. But the NIAID researchers discovered that up to 100,000 copies of the N protein stud the surface of a single infected cell. In addition, N proteins on an infected cell can spread to uninfected neighboring cells so that they lose immune protection.

HHS Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs

September 29,2022

White House Convening on American Rescue Plan Community Health Workforce Investments

The White House invites you to attend a virtual convening on Friday, September 30, 2022 at 10:00 AM ET to highlight the American Rescue Plan’s historic investments in the community health workforce.

Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, the Biden-Harris Administration has made the largest one-time investment in the community health workforce, which is deploying tens of thousands of people over the coming years into underserved communities to address health disparities, COVID-19, and other health needs exacerbated by the pandemic. These efforts include training and deploying Community Health Workers – an evidence-based, cost-effective intervention to improve population health and strengthen health systems.

Date: Friday, September 30th
Time: 10:00 AM ET
Register for the briefing here

This event will feature Biden-Harris Administration officials, members of Congress, local elected officials, community-based organizations, and workers, including:

  • Gene Sperling, White House American Rescue Plan Coordinator and Senior Advisor to the President
  • Carole Johnson, Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration
  • U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY)
  • Congressman David Trone (MD-06)
  • Mayor of Chicago Lori Lightfoot

Sensory Inclusive Pop-Up Vaccination Events For People With Developmental Disabilities

Date: September 8, 2022

Sensory inclusive pop-up vaccination events for people with developmental disabilities

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Missourians with sensory needs are invited to receive vaccinations, including the COVID-19 vaccination, at sensory inclusive pop-up events in partnership with 10 local public health agencies and pharmacies throughout Missouri beginning next week.

The following sensory inclusive pop-up vaccination events are scheduled include:

  • Hayti event hosted by Pemiscot County Health Department
    • September 12 (morning) – Pemiscot County Health Department at 810 East Reed Street, Hayti
  • Cape Girardeau event hosted by Cape Girardeau County Health Department
    • September 12 (2:00 PM-4:00 PM) – Cape Girardeau County Health Department at 121 Linden Street, Cape Girardeau
  • Berkeley event hosted by St. Louis County Health Department
    • September 13 (9:00 AM-1:00 PM) – John C. Murphy Health Center at 6121 North Hanley Road, Berkeley
  • Cuba event hosted by Towne Pharmacy
    • September 14 (9:00 AM-11:00 AM) – Towne Pharmacy at 200 North Franklin Street, Cuba
  • Rolla event hosted by Sink’s Select Pharmacy
    • September 14 (2:00 PM-5:00 PM) – Sink’s Select Pharmacy  at 1100 S. Bishop Avenue, Rolla
  • Springfield event hosted by Springfield-Greene County Health Department
    • September 15 (9:00 AM-11:00 AM) – Westside Public Health Center at 660 South Scenic Avenue, Springfield
  • Stockton event hosted by Evan’s Drug and Zumwalt Pharmacy
    • September 15 (3:00 PM-5:00 PM) – Evan’s Drug at 19 Public Square, Stockton
  • Sedalia event hosted by Summer’s Pharmacy
    • September 16 (9:00 AM-11:00 AM) – Summer’s Pharmacy at 3400 West Broadway Boulevard, Sedalia
  • Warrensburg event hosted by Summer’s Pharmacy
    • September 16 (2:00 PM-5:00 PM) – Summer’s Pharmacy at 61 Burkarth Road, Warrensburg
  • Independence event hosted by Independence Health Department
    • September 17 (9:00 AM-12:00 PM) – Independence City Hall at 111 East Maple Avenue, Independence

“We are excited to partner with KultureCity to bring this sensory inclusive vaccination opportunity to Missouri,” says Vicky Davidson, executive director for the Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council, “Each vaccination event will have a mobile sensory space available and Sensory Inclusive Medical Training of vaccinators and medical professionals.”

Currently in the United States today, one in six individuals has a sensory processing need. Due to the increasing numbers of individuals diagnosed with sensory needs, it is important that vaccination environments exist where individuals feel regulated and are able to tolerate a vaccination to the best of their ability. KultureCity is an organization dedicated to creating sensory accessibility and inclusion to events and experiences.

KultureCity’s sensory activation vehicle (S.A.V.E) brings a mobile sensory experience to any event that lacks a physical space for a dedicated sensory room. From outdoor events like concerts and baseball games to indoor events like exhibitions and conferences, the S.A.V.E ensures that all guests can be included in all events.

The S.A.V.E. makes events accessible for all with the following features:

  • Designed to bring sensory relief to locations that do not have interior physical space for a sensory room.
  • Provides a quick sensory refuge for those with sensory needs.
  • Enables them to get a quick break and then go back to enjoying the event.
  • Enables families to attend these events together with their loved ones with sensory needs.

Funding for the sensory inclusive vaccinations events is provided by the Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council, in partnership with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, UMKC Institute for Human Development, and Missouri Protection and Advocacy.

As part of the partnership, KultureCity’s Sensory Inclusive Medical training to Missouri’s state vaccinators free of charge to expand sensory accessibility and support for medical professionals.

The Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council is a federally funded 23-member consumer-driven council appointed by the Governor. Its mandate under P.L. 106-402, the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, is to assure that individuals with developmental disabilities and their families participate in the design of and have access to needed community services, individualized supports, and other forms of assistance that promote self-determination, independence, productivity, and integration in all aspects of community life. To learn more or to get involved, visit www.moddcouncil.org.

$10 million in ARPA funding for Missouri residential care and assisted living facilities

Date: September 1, 2022

$10 million in ARPA funding for Missouri residential care and assisted living facilities

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Missouri residential care and assisted living facilities licensed with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) are now eligible for reimbursement for COVID-19-related expenses through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). $10 million of this federal funding has been allocated for reimbursement.

Providers may seek reimbursement for expenses incurred and/or business interruption costs directly related to preparing, preventing and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will compensate expenses incurred between April 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022. Expenses eligible for reimbursement include:

  • Payroll costs.
  • Training and orientation.
  • Operational supplies.

“Missouri’s residential care and assisted living facilities had some of the most challenging situations to navigate throughout the pandemic, from infection control management to workforce and equipment shortages,” said Paula Nickelson, DHSS acting director. “This reimbursement opportunity will allow facilities to recover from the unprecedented challenges the past two and a half years have presented so they can focus on providing care to some of Missouri’s most vulnerable.”

DHSS created two portal guidance documents to assist operators with registering online and navigating the portal. Operators will need to register on the MO ARPA portal before they can apply. An application checklist and FAQs can be found on moarpa.mo.gov.

New COVID-19 Boosters Targeting Currently Circulating Strains Becoming Available in Missouri

Date: September 2, 2022

New COVID-19 Boosters Targeting Currently Circulating Strains Becoming Available in Missouri

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Bivalent COVID-19 boosters are becoming available among some providers in Missouri beginning as early as today with additional providers adding these boosters to their inventory next week. A list of providers who pre-ordered these booster doses is available at MOStopsCovid.com.

On September 1, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, endorsed the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendations for use of updated COVID-19 boosters from Pfizer-BioNTech for people ages 12 years and older and from Moderna for people ages 18 years and older.

The Moderna and Pfizer bivalent boosters both target two strains of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 – the original strain of the virus and two of the Omicron subvariants (BA.4 and BA.5), which are currently the most widespread variants globally. Only individuals who have completed their primary vaccination series (two doses of Pfizer or Moderna or one dose of Johnson & Johnson) are eligible to receive the bivalent booster. Those who have recently received Novavax are not yet eligible for any booster at this time.

“We encourage those who are eligible to receive this new booster dose as it will greatly help protect individuals from the variant most commonly detected today and for the past several months,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. George Turabelidze with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). “As we head into the fall and winter months, this added protection becomes even more important since viruses generally tend to circulate at a more rapid pace during this time.”

In the coming weeks, CDC also expects to recommend updated COVID-19 boosters for other pediatric groups, per yesterday’s discussion and evaluation of the data by ACIP. When data is available and FDA authorizes these other types of COVID-19 boosters and CDC provides use recommendations, the CDC and DHSS will work to quickly make them available in Missouri with the help of COVID-19 vaccinators throughout the state.

If you have not been vaccinated or have not completed your primary series, visit MOStopsCovid.com to find a location offering vaccines. The original formulations of Pfizer, Moderna, J&J and Novavax will continue to be used. Booster doses use reduced amounts of the original vaccines.

Individuals are eligible for the bivalent booster two months since their last primary or booster dose of Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson. The previous monovalent booster will no longer be available to persons 12 and older; the FDA is removing authorization for those boosters to reduce provider confusion for staff administering vaccines.

The Pfizer bivalent booster is currently authorized for ages 12 and older while Moderna’s is currently authorized for 18 years of age and older. Individuals may choose to receive either the Pfizer or Moderna bivalent booster, regardless of which primary series vaccine or original booster dose they had previously.

For the latest information on bivalent boosters, visit MOStopsCovid.com.