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Zero Hour Health + Zedic Newsletter - Tuesday, April 20th

J&J warning recommendation, vaccine mandates and what to do if you lose your COVID vaccination card.

ZHH Updates

Here's how to prepare for an OSHA visit.

OSHA has stated that it plans to conduct 1,500 inspections related to COVID. Are you ready? (Zedic blog)

What you should know about women and COVID vaccines.

The news about rare blood clots in six women who received the J&J vaccine has a lot of people talking about vaccine side effects. But do vaccines really affect women differently? (Zedic blog)

Today's Recap

  • Herd immunity is likely out of the question in the US. According to Dr. Gregory Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group, “There is no eradication at this point, it’s off the table. The only thing we can talk about is control.” (USA Today)
  • Drafting a proper treatment protocol for blood clots and adding a product warning could be the keys to resuming J&J vaccinations in the US, like EU regulators did today. We expect the pause of the vaccine to be lifted by Friday with an added warning or age restriction. (Reuters, The Wall Street Journal)
  • While COVID antibody treatments can be effective in preventing hospitalizations and deaths, they’re difficult to deploy. In MI, about 2,000 of the 8,000 people being diagnosed a day may be eligible to receive the treatments, but the state university can only administer to 16 of them each day. (NPR)
  • The Brazilian variant is resistant to three of four antibody treatments that have emergency authorization for use in the US. (Medscape)
  • More than half of all U.S. adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Based on our Vaccine Tracking data, only a small fraction of eligible employees have been fully vaccinated and uploaded their cards for tracking. We expect that number to rise significantly as the majority of adults under 50 get their first or second doses in the next few weeks. (AP)
  • It was only a matter of time before we started seeing fake COVID vaccination cards popping up on e-commerce sites like eBay. We can help you keep track of your staff’s vaccinations with our COVID Vaccine Tracker. (Washington Post)
  • But if you lose a real vaccination card, don’t panic. You can always get a backup copy through your state’s health department. (Washington Post)
  • Now that all U.S. adults are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines, it’s time to start thinking about on-site clinics as they become available, especially if booster doses are needed. The minimum requirements are still quite high, but we can help you make it work. CDC recently issued new guidance to help you determine if on-site vaccination is an option for your business. (CDC)
  • Many Americans said they’re supportive of COVID vaccination mandates at schools and universities, according to a new study out of Penn State. (Science Direct)
  • And a SHRM study found a surprising number of employees in favor of mandating vaccinations for work. (SHRM)
  • The Nebraska DOH is reporting 14 recent Noro outbreaks - it’s an unusual time of the year to see this level of Noro activity. (KOLN)

Best Questions

Do vaccinated employees need to continue doing daily wellness checks?

Yes. As you’ve heard from us over the past few weeks, breakthrough cases (where someone gets COVID after being fully vaccinated) are rare, but they do happen. If employees have symptoms, they shouldn’t be working, regardless of vaccination status. And don’t forget: there are plenty of other illnesses out there that aren’t prevented by the COVID-19 vaccine - Hepatitis, flu, norovirus and plenty of others are still circulating. Even before COVID, it was important to ensure employees weren’t working sick. Continuing daily wellness checks is the best way to do that. 

In many cities, counties and states, daily employee wellness checks are still required. If someone does get COVID, you’ll want to be able to show the health department that you checked every person for symptoms and didn’t allow anyone to work sick. Plus, we expect this is going to be one of those things that customers and employees will want to see for their own safety and comfort.

We have a team member who tested antibody positive and now has had a close contact with someone COVID+. Does their + antibody test mean they don’t need to be excluded?

Unfortunately, no. Positive antibody tests don’t really give us much to work off of because no one knows the magic number of antibodies that provide protection or prevent someone from spreading COVID.  

The only people who don’t need to be excluded after close contact are those who were COVID+ in the past 90 days (confirmed by a PCR or antigen test), or those who were fully vaccinated (at least two weeks after their final dose) beforehand. 

For anyone who’s had COVID more than 90 days ago or isn’t fully vaccinated, they’ll need a full 10-day exclusion each new time they have close contact with someone COVID+.

There’s still so much we don’t know about COVID antibodies, COVID antibody testing and re-infection. Once we do know more, we’re hopeful that an antibody test can tell us more about whether someone is protected, but until then, we can’t use antibody tests to determine exclusions. 

Do our COVID precautions help prevent Hep A transmission?

Yes! We’re seeing more Hep A lately, and the good news here is twofold. First, COVID precautions like daily employee wellness checks and proper hand washing work to stop the spread of Hep A. And second, health departments appear to be acknowledging that and responding accordingly. At least in the cases we’ve dealt with recently, fewer health departments are going public and they’re citing our clients’ strong COVID protocols as the primary reason.

Are any of your clients mandating vaccinations?

No, very few (if any) of our clients are mandating vaccination, in part because there are many reasons someone may not be vaccinated. Those reasons range from allergies to religious beliefs. While the legality of mandatory vaccination works its way through the courts, encouraging vaccinations through multi-channel communication, assistance in scheduling, time off to get vaccinated and celebrating your vaccination successes are the better route. Just this week, one of our clients was able to avoid exclusions for vaccinated co-workers after an employee tested COVID+. Major win for vaccinated employees!

We’re having customers refusing to wear masks indoors, then being confrontational or threatening to sue. How should we handle this?

This is a scenario that’s come up throughout COVID but does seem to be occurring more frequently in the past few weeks - particularly as businesses reach higher capacities. There are no easy answers to this one. We’re seeing more “No shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service” signs pop up. And we believe your first commitment is to the health and safety of your teams. Your policy and procedures should be clear, fully vetted by your legal team and followed consistently.

Best Read

Getting to Work: Employers’ Role in COVID-19 Vaccination

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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.