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Zero Hour Health + Zedic Newsletter - Tuesday, April 6th

Double mutant variants, COVID cases on the rise and should we require employee vaccinations?

Today's Recap:

Best Questions:

I got COVID after Dose 1 of the COVID vaccine. Should I take dose two as scheduled?

You shouldn’t get the vaccine while you’re sick or infectious. So if your second dose is scheduled in the first 10 days after you developed symptoms (or tested positive if you never had any symptoms), you should postpone. If you have lingering symptoms, you should check with your doctor or primary care provider to see whether you should delay a week or two. Either way, you should still get that second dose of the vaccine at some point!

What happens if the brand I had for my first COVID shot isn’t available when I’m supposed to schedule my dose two appointment?

Do not mix brands! Most providers will automatically schedule you for dose two and make sure they’re saving enough doses of the same brand for that date. If for some reason that doesn’t work out, don’t take another brand. Discuss this with your vaccine provider (the clinic, pharmacy, etc. where you got your shot) and they should be able to help you figure out how to get the correct brand for your second dose. Many pharmacies will let you sign up for dose two appointments and tell you the brand, if necessary, though we expect most providers will help you out without needing to get to that point. 

My employees who don’t speak English fluently are significantly less vaccinated than those who do. Are other employers having the same experience and, if so, what works for boosting vaccination rates?

You’re not alone; most employers are seeing similar trends. Vaccination scheduling is difficult to navigate even in English, so it can be very challenging for those trying to do so when resources aren’t always available in multiple languages. Getting reliable information about vaccines in multiple languages requires time and effort. This is one of the topics Sarah Spah from the MN Department of Health will address during our webinar tomorrow.  

The CDC vaccination site is available in more than 60 languages. The “Your COVID-19 Vaccination” page is a great place to start. For actually booking vaccine appointments, it can get a bit trickier. “Plan Your Vaccine” from NBC/Telemundo is great for Spanish and English. CVS, Walgreens, Publix, and Walmart also have vaccine scheduling in Spanish on their websites. 

Our Vaccine Chat Line team has access to translators in nearly every language. If you’re not using it already, reach out to us to learn more about offering it as a resource to get reliable info to your employees in any language. 

Should we be doing antibody testing to make sure employees’ vaccinations were effective?

The CDC is not recommending antibody testing post-vaccination because we don’t know how to interpret the results. Plus, a negative result doesn't mean you don’t have protection. Some antibody tests won’t detect vaccination-induced antibodies. Then there’s the fact that there are different kinds of antibody tests and only an antibody test that looks for spike proteins or RBD (Receptor Binding Domains) can detect antibodies from vaccination. Hepatitis B is a good example. Some people who’ve received all three doses (and then three more), never test positive but do have protection against Hepatitis B. That research has yet to be done on COVID-19 vaccinations and antibodies.  

Should we continue regular COVID testing on vaccinated employees?

This question was raised on a CDC call this week. If you’re already doing regular COVID testing, also referred to as serial testing, then everyone should be included whether or not they’re vaccinated. Some people, though rare, have “vaccine breakthroughs” or become sick with COVID even when fully vaccinated. And we don’t yet know how long vaccinations or antibodies provide protection or how that plays out with new variants. Several major studies are underway to see what level of antibodies protect us and how long they may last. Even though there is a reduced risk for those who are fully vaccinated, at least for now, there’s still a lot we don’t know.. With variants mutating out of control, unknowns around the length of protection, and all the other questions still up in the air, we think that any time you’d be testing unvaccinated people, you should be testing vaccinated people, too. 

Best Read:

America is in a race to vaccinate before variants overwhelm us

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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.