Happy Presidents’ Day

Mount Rushmore

It turns out that MountVernon.org takes offense at the use of the designation Presidents’s Day because the official federal holiday is Washington’s Birthday. The FEHBlog expects that it would be a bigger deal if George Washington had not been our first President.

On the COVID-19 vaccine front —

  • The Wall Street Journal reports that

A study by Clalit, Israel’s largest healthcare provider, showed a 94% drop in symptomatic Covid-19 infections among 600,000 people who received two doses of Pfizer’s vaccine.

The vaccinated group was also 92% less likely to develop severe illness from the disease, according to the study. It compared 600,000 people who got the vaccine with a group of the same size and similar medical histories that didn’t.

Clalit said the study, which was carried out with a team from Harvard University, included 430,000 people who were between 16 and 59 years of age, and 170,000 who were over 60. It was the first of its kind to show such a high level of efficacy for Pfizer’s vaccine for those aged 70 and higher due to the limited scope of the clinical trials.

  • Federal News Network reports that “To date, the Pentagon vaccinated a little more than 800,000 employees. Since Dec. 14, DoD received about one million doses and delivered about 996,000 of them to military installations. DoD spokesman John Kirby said Thursday [February 11] on a call with reporters that the efficiency rate of delivered vaccines to getting them in arms is around 82%.”

The U.S. Postal Service has also reached out to employees, alerting them that they should be eligible for vaccine doses once their states get to the Phase 1B, essential worker stage. In a message to workers last month, USPS encouraged its staff to seek the vaccine by any means available. They cautioned their employees against waiting to get a shot through their workplace. Still, behind the scenes postal management is working with states and other jurisdictions receiving vaccine distributions to set up mass vaccination events at their large plants. To date [last Friday February 12], however, the agency has announced no such plans and employees have voiced frustrations with the lack of communication and sense that they have been left to their own devices. A USPS spokesman recently told Government Executive it was working toward a “standardized priority opportunity” for its workers in conjunction with federal, state and local stakeholders.

In other news —

  • The special enrollment period for the ACA marketplace began today for “consumers in the 36 states that use the HealthCare.gov platform * * * and will continue through Saturday, May 15. At least 13 States plus the District of Columbia, which operate their own Marketplace platforms, have decided to offer a similar opportunity.” USA Today provides more information on the state marketplaces.
  • Health Payer Intelligence discusses at length “How Payer Forecasting Is Shifting Towards Real-Time Data Analytics.”
  • Employee Benefit News discusses the following four workplace policies that employer should be re-evaluating in 2021 —
  • Human Resources policies and procedures
  • Risk management – measurement, management and mitigation
  • Training, education and development
  • Workplace culture

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