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COVID-19 Briefing - Tuesday, 12/8

UK begins vaccinations, US gears up for approval & distribution, and more

Today's Recap:

Best Questions:

Will employees who have had positive COVID tests need to get vaccinated?

Yes.  We don’t yet know how long immunity from COVID lasts and we also expect that the vaccine will afford better protection as COVID mutates.  There is also increasing evidence that severity of illness translates to higher levels of antibodies.  So those who were only mildly ill or were asymptomatic will have less protection from future illness than those who were sickest and recovered.  Vaccine prioritization will ultimately be up to each state and some states will likely give lower priority to those who had some level of immunity.

We have some employees who are also healthcare workers who we expect may be vaccinated soon. Should we require any kind of documentation from them?

Good question.  The short answer is stay tuned and we’ll share more info as soon as we get a definitive answer.  There’s more we don’t know than we do about this right now.  In many cases, we don’t know if there is any immunity after Dose 1 or if immunity only occurs at some point after Dose 2.  Today we learned that Pfizer vaccine does provide some level of immunity after just the first dose. Early info is that sustained immunity occurs six weeks after Dose 1 if  Dose 2 was done on time three to four weeks later.   Anyone receiving a vaccination will receive a COVID vaccination record card.  These likely need to be treated like medical records (and stored securely separate from the employee file).

What are you seeing among the employees who were contacted and told they could return to work in less than 14 days after exposure based on the updated CDC guidance?

Many of them are sick.  When we reached out via text or email, a large number (depending on closeness of exposure and geography) replied that they had developed symptoms or tested positive.  But in general, employees welcomed the earlier return.

If an employee is caring for someone who is sick and unable to isolate, is the exclusion still 24 days?

In most instances, it is now 20 days since it’s 10 days for the sick person’s infectious period plus 10 days of quarantine after that.  States are still working on specific guidance and this may change.  It’s important that everyone still understands the incubation period remains 2 to 14 days.  However, the period for exclusion can generally be shortened to 20 days, even when caring for someone with COVID in the home.

Best Read:

It's really wonderful news that vaccination is imminent. Here's how it came to be.  

The vaccine miracle: how scientists waged the battle against Covid-19

Best Laugh:

Twitter had a field day when the second person in the UK to get the vaccine was one William Shakespeare from Warwickshire.... Our favorite tweet:

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Disclaimer: This post is meant for general information and educational purposes only and does not constitute, and is not intended as, any form of medical, legal or regulatory advice or a recommendation or suggestion regarding the same.  No recipient of this information should act or refrain from acting on the basis of this information without first seeking legal advice from counsel in the relevant jurisdiction.