Friday Stats and More

Based on the Centers for Disease Control’s COVID Data Tracker and using Thursday as the first day of the week, here is the FEHBlog’s weekly chart of new COVID cases:

Here is a link to the CDC’s weekly chart of new COVID hospital admissions which trended up by 5.4% from last week. However, the FEHBlog’s weekly chart of new COVID deaths has begun to trend down again.

Here’s FEHBlog’s weekly chart of new COVID vaccinations distributed and administered.

The vaccinations administered line continues to trend up. The CDC’s COVID vaccinations site now displays vaccinations administered to the age 5 to 11 group. Nearly 70% of the over age 12 population is fully vaccinated, and 97.5% of the age 65+ population has received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine. That’s impressive.

In Delta variant booster news, the CDC informs us that over one quarter of the age 50+ has received the booster. AHIP informs us that

Today the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended the emergency use authorizations (EUA) for both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines, authorizing use of a single booster dose for all individuals 18 years of age and older after completion of primary vaccination with any FDA-authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine. This amendment expands the use of booster doses of both vaccines to include all adults at least six months after completion of the primary vaccination series of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine or at least two months after completion of primary vaccination with the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) also met today to discuss further clinical recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccine booster doses for adults. After reviewing the most recent safety and efficacy data of the Pfizer and Moderna booster doses, which showed the vaccines to be safe, the Committee unanimously (11-0) voted in favor of authorizing:

— A single COVID-19 vaccine booster dose is recommended for persons aged 18 and olderwho received an mRNA COVID vaccine primary series based on individual benefits and risks, at least 6 months after the primary series, under the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

— A single COVID vaccine booster dose is recommended for persons aged 50 and older who received an mRNA COVID vaccine, at least 6 months after the primary series, under the FDA’s EUA.

Any FDA-approved or authorized COVID-19 vaccine can be used for a booster dose, regardless of vaccine received for a primary series.

The committee emphasized that the top priority continues to be vaccination of the unvaccinated, and that potential side effects of vaccination, such as incidence of myocarditis and pericarditis, need continual monitoring as more data becomes available.

Medscape adds that

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, signed off on a recommendation Friday evening to let all US adults get a COVID-19 booster shot.

The endorsement, following a unanimous vote by a panel of CDC advisors earlier in the day backing a third dose of a Moderna or Pfizer mRNA COVID vaccine, now means everyone over the age of 18 is eligible for a booster.

According the ACA FAQ 50, health plans now must covered vaccines administered to the expanded group.

Here is a link to the CDC’s weekly interpretation of its COVID statistics.

In other news / the “more”:

  • The Department of Health and Human Services announced today that “Today, the Biden-Harris Administration unveiled details about the establishment of a new federal advisory committee, the Ground Ambulance and Patient Billing (GAPB) Advisory Committee. As mandated through the No Surprises Act, the GAPB Advisory Committee will be charged with providing recommendations to the Secretaries of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor, and Treasury on ways to protect consumers from exorbitant charges and balance billing when using ground ambulance services. * * * Learn more about the GAPB Advisory Committee and the Federal Register Notice – PDF.”
  • Beckers Hospital News reports that “Insurers need more evidence of the clinical benefit of Biogen’s controversial Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm before they start paying for it, Bloomberg reported Nov. 18. Bloomberg surveyed 25 of the nation’s largest insurers, and none of them deemed the drug “medically necessary.” Most indicated they view the drug as experimental and said they needed to see more evidence on the drug’s ability to slow cognitive decline.”
  • Govexec tells us that “About 90% of NASA employees have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination, according to agency data, but about 1,150 workers are seeking an exemption to President Biden’s governmentwide mandate.”
  • mHealth Intelligence informs us that “The number of outpatient visits after hospital discharges remained stable during the COVID-19 pandemic but telehealth use for these visits increased, suggesting that telehealth was a substitute for in-person care rather than an addition, a study published in JAMA Health Forum revealed.”
  • The Wall Street Journal provides an overview of currently available and near future COVID treatments.

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