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The Executive Briefing - Tuesday, August 30th

What’s next for boosters, flu & the holidays ☃️

New Episode Out Today!

We sat down with Dr. LJ Tan from the Immunization Action Committee to talk about how you can find out what childhood vaccines you had and discuss what’s next with COVID boosters, flu shots, polio, and more.

Listen now!


  • Many Californians are working while sick with COVID, fooled by mild symptoms. (LA Times)
  • Long COVID may be responsible for about a third of unfilled jobs in the US. (CNBC)
  • The FDA is expected to authorize both Pfizer and Moderna’s Omicron-specific boosters this week, and doses will be available in September. (Politico)
  • The federal government is ending its free at-home COVID test program this week due to a lack of congressionally-approved funding. (CNN)

MPX News:

  • ZHH is following California’s lead and starting to call ‘monkeypox’ MPX or Mpox in an effort to reduce stigma and racism, at least until the WHO settles on a new name. (LA Times)
  • A person in Texas died while infected with MPX, and investigators are looking into whether it was caused by the virus. (KHOU)
  • Patients are presenting with a huge range of symptoms - not just the telltale lesions we (and doctors) have come to expect. (NY Times)
  • The Biden administration will pay $11 million for US-based MPX vaccine production. (The Hill)

Public Health News:

  • The FDA lifted a 23-year ban on blood donation for people exposed to mad cow disease. (KCRG)
  • Paid sick leave is associated with lower mortality rates among US workers, specifically for suicide, homicide, and alcohol-related death. Each individual hour of paid sick leave was linked with a significant reduction of those deaths. (The Hill)
  • Valley fever, caused by a fungus in soil, is on the rise in the Southwest as climate change causes drought. (The Guardian)

Mental Health News:

  • Rates of anxiety and depression are still higher than before the pandemic, and there aren’t nearly enough psychiatrists and therapists. (The Guardian)
  • Kaiser therapists went on strike after patients complained of delayed or even canceled mental health care and a lack of sufficient mental health professionals. (Press Democrat)
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is one of the most effective treatments for teens at risk for self-harm or suicide. It can be expensive and hard to find. (NY Times)

Best Questions:

Do we need to report a confirmed case of monkeypox to the health department?

No, the lab, clinic, or hospital that conducts the test is who is responsible for reporting a monkeypox case to the health department. There’s no action needed from you other than excluding any employees who live with or have sex with the sick person. In most cases, we’re still seeing health departments share quarantine guidelines for very close contacts and sexual partners once the lab reports the positive case to them.

If you could look into your crystal ball, are we looking at holiday COVID absences that mirror last year’s and were so impossible to staff?

We’re hopeful that this year will be better than last year’s huge surge. There were a few things that made last winter so bad. Omicron was much more infectious than the previous variants, and vaccines and prior infection offered much less protection against it. Combine that with a perfectly timed entrance for holiday gatherings and travel, and we had an enormous spike on our hands. If the bivalent Omicron-specific boosters are a good match for the variants circulating this fall and winter, we think that while we’ll definitely see spikes in the fall and winter, they won’t be as devastating on staffing as they were last year. Encouraging employees to get the booster will be key - not nearly enough Americans are up to date on their boosters, and getting those shots are the best way to prevent the inevitable surges from really impacting your staffing.

The CDC’s new guidance on household disinfection for Mpox included info on pretty broad household contamination. Does that raise concerns for a greater need for workplace disinfection?

We were surprised to see how the CDC’s new guidance emphasized the importance of household disinfection given the high percentage of transmission that appears to be from sexual contact or sharing a bed. But the latest studies are showing that the virus can live on common household surfaces, even if it’s not actually replicable in the lab from those samples. Ultimately, we think that a standard COVID or noro disinfection routine is sufficient if someone has recently worked and then is diagnosed with MPX, with special care taken not to shake out linens, towels, etc. The risk of workplace transmission continues to be very, very low, and disinfecting your business at this stage is just as much about checking boxes and quelling fears than it is about the clinical likelihood of viral spread.

Best Listen:

Don’t miss our latest podcast! If your kids called you to ask if they’re vaccinated for polio, you’ll want to give this one a listen…

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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.