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Zero Hour Health + Zedic Newsletter - Tuesday, April 13th

J&J vaccine put on pause, a rare salmonella outbreak and how to navigate differing COVID guidelines.

ZHH Updates

What does the J&J pause really mean for your business?

Experts fear that the US' call to pause on the J&J vaccine will increase vaccine hesitancy. We've rounded up some of the most common questions we're getting from you about the pause and have included some tips to help you discuss the news with your employees. Click here for everything you need to know about the J&J pause.

Today's Recap:

  • While J&J is paused due to an investigation into blood clots, it has big implications for worldwide vaccination rates, since J&J was set to ship millions of doses to Europe in the next few weeks. Similar concerns about AstraZeneca’s vaccine and blood clots are complicating the rollout process abroad. (Axios)
  • More colleges have announced they’ll require students to get fully vaccinated before they return to campus this fall. We’re not yet sure of the impact of today’s J&J pause on this. (NPR)
  • Huge news in preventing COVID deaths - an antibody drug developed by Regeneron showed that, when given early enough, it may prevent the worst of COVID-19 and even stop people from getting sick in the first place. (New York Times)
  • Researchers from The Journal of the American Medical Association found that vitamins and supplements don’t speed up recovery of COVID-19. Stick to fluids and plenty of rest, instead. (WYTV)
  • and Honeywell made a new face mask with three dual-speed fans, a HEPA filter (which is not medical quality), noise-canceling headphones, LED lights, a rechargeable battery and Bluetooth. (New York Times)
  • The USDA issued an alert for some ground turkey from Plainville Brands, LLC for possible Salmonella Hadar. This is unusual because it’s a strain we don’t see often, and it’s shown up in at least 12 states. In our experience, rare strains are the ones that lead to lawsuits. (USA Today)
  • Pfizer has applied to expand its emergency-use authorization for the COVID vaccine to children ages 12-15. FDA authorization for kids 12+ could come as early as May. (Pfizer/BioNTech)
  • OSHA has stated that it plans to conduct 1,500 inspections related to COVID. Are you ready? (Zedic blog)

Best Questions

What can we say to employees who are hesitant after hearing today’s J&J vaccine news? 

If an employee is fully vaccinated and their family members are COVID+, do they need to be excluded?

No. A fully vaccinated employee doesn’t need to quarantine even if family members have COVID, unless that employee has symptoms of their own. Fully vaccinated people are much less likely to get infected with the virus, and early evidence is pointing to the fact that they’re less likely to transmit the virus, as well. The CDC has said it’s safe for fully vaccinated people to continue working and going out into the community, even if they’ve been exposed. The same is true if that exposure is at home. 

Our state guidelines are different from the CDC’s, how should we handle that?

Throughout the pandemic, there have been different local, state, and CDC guidelines to navigate. These change regularly and keeping track of them is one of the most challenging parts of operating a business during this time. For now, carefully monitor county and state guidelines for each of your locations and be sure to follow those guidelines whenever they’re more stringent than the CDC’s. For example, the entire state of Michigan has recently moved from a 10-day quarantine period to a 14-day quarantine period. The CDC says 10 days is sufficient, but state and local jurisdictions take precedence. 

Is the CDC still recommending quarantine after international travel?

It depends on whether you’re vaccinated. The CDC recommends that unvaccinated people stay home and quarantine for seven days and get tested 3-5 days after returning from international travel. Fully vaccinated people should still get tested 3-5 days after returning, but they don’t need to quarantine. 

Is there anything I can do if I suspect an employee is “faking” a close contact to get excluded from work?

This is a tough situation because, at the end of the day, you need to protect your company and your employees. If you think an employee isn’t being truthful, this is more of an HR issue than it is a clinical issue. If you’re not sure, it’s risky to require an employee to work when they say they’ve been exposed - not only because they might be infectious if it’s true, but it can also affect your brand, your legal liability, and more. Check with your legal and HR folks if you think an employee is faking, and create a plan for how you’ll respond. 

Is it possible to get infected with COVID after being fully vaccinated?

Yes. These types of cases, called “breakthrough” cases, do occur.  Fortunately, it is very rare and most likely from a variant. All three vaccines remain highly effective in preventing illness, hospitalizations and deaths. Here’s a link to a good article on the topic. Anyone with symptoms should stay home!

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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.