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Oregon’s special rules, fall boosters, & heat plans

The Executive Briefing - Tuesday, June 20th

Health News:

  • California schools are making heat plans to help students and staff manage severe heat. (KFF)
  • Meanwhile, many states decline to require water breaks for outdoor workers in extreme heat. (Stateline)
  • The White House’s summit on naloxone pricing won’t include two major organizations focused on cheaper medication. (STAT)
  • 2 new studies show that COVID vaccines are safe in older adults and when given at the same time as other vaccines. (CIDRAP)
  • Further supporting the move away from daily low dose aspirin, a large new study shows it can lead to anemia in older adults. (CNN)
  • A Tennessee doctor lost his medical license for writing COVID vaccine waivers too freely - including writing one for a reporter’s family dog. (KFF Health News)
  • Poverty is killing nearly 200,000 Americans per year. (Newsweek)
  • Health experts are concerned as Meta, Facebook’s parent company, rolls back some of its COVID misinformation policies. (ABC)
  • The town of Amery, WI had a boil water order earlier this week due to E. coli in the water supply. (CBS)
  • Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, a potentially fatal disease caused by a tick-borne virus usually found in Africa, Asia, or the Middle East, is spreading to new countries. (Newsweek)
  • At-home Lyme disease tests are almost here. (TIME)

Mental Health News:

  • Most Americans are still unaware of the 988 mental health helpline. (Big Think)
  • Individuals with Alcohol Use Disorder are less impaired at lower alcohol levels but show more impairment when near their usual alcohol intake levels. (Neuroscience)
  • Consuming news focused on kindness is actually proven to help your mood. (Houston Chronicle)

If you or someone you know may be considering suicide or need help, call 988 or message the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.

Best Questions:

What can we expect in terms of fall boosters?

The FDA met and unanimously approved a monovalent fall booster targeting the XBB variant. The only question that remains now is who will be eligible - whether it will be everyone or just those at higher risk. We expect that the CDC will recommend it first for those at high risk, and then for everyone, but that’s still up in the air for a few more months. Our hope is that they communicate it early and clearly so that we can pass on the message to employers and employees and work to get more protection against this newest XBB variant, which is quite different from other Omicron strains.
Source: Your Local Epidemiologist

Why isn’t the fall booster bivalent - why choose just one strain?

The upcoming fall booster is, perhaps surprisingly, just focused on a single COVID strain, the XBB variant which has been circulating around the world most recently. It’s significantly different from other Omicron strains, so it’s the main target agreed upon by the WHO, the FDA, and the CDC for this year’s vaccine. Initially, vaccines were incredibly effective at keeping people out of the hospital compared to a control group who was unvaccinated. But over time, nearly everyone in the US has some kind of protection because most of us have been exposed to or infected with COVID - a lot. As a result, the role of vaccines is changing, and the main goal of the fall booster isn’t to protect us against any COVID strain, but really to kickstart our body’s immune system to respond to new and unique strains that it’s unfamiliar with. If there were another recent variant of concern, it would probably be included, but trying to guess which one will spike next is next to impossible. Since XBB is the dominant new variant that’s pretty different from most Omicron strains, it’s the best bet for the fall booster.
Source: Your Local Epidemiologist

Is Oregon the only state without COVID isolation requirements?

Yes, when the public health emergency expired in May, the Oregon Health Authority actually changed their guidelines to recommend isolation until people are feeling better and fever-free for 24 hours, not for a full five days as the CDC suggests. So far, Oregon is the only state to reduce restrictions, but some public health officials are wary of moving to a symptoms-based approach when it makes it so much harder to ensure that those who are most infectious are staying home. For employers, it comes with its own can of worms. Right now, nearly all of our clients with Oregon locations have opted to keep the five-day work exclusion for COVID positive cases for simplicity and optics, but that may change.
Source: NBC

Best Read:

Truth, trust, and hope. Where to start? | Your Local Epidemiologist

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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.