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Zero Hour Health + Zedic Newsletter - Tuesday, June 15th

Do vaccinated employees need to do daily wellness checks?

COVID Recap

  • We might soon have a fourth COVID vaccine option: Novavax said its vaccine was 100% effective against moderate to severe illness in a Phase III trial. They’re expected to apply for emergency use authorization in the US this summer. The company also says its vaccine has potential as a booster. (Novavax)
  • Governors across the country are deciding whether to end or extend emergency declarations allowing them to restrict public gatherings, businesses and mask mandates. (AP)
  • California’s Gov. Newsom says that CA will roll out an electronic version of the vaccine card to make it easier for residents to show their proof of vaccination. Starting today, CA lifts its COVID precautions and individual businesses can choose to request proof of vaccination from customers who want to remove their masks. (SF Gate)
  • A federal judge in Texas dismissed a lawsuit filed by employees against the Houston Methodist hospital system after it said it would require them to get the COVID vaccine, making it clear that employers can mandate vaccination. (SHRM)
  • The CDC is asking hospitals, ERs and urgent care facilities to routinely offer and give a COVID vaccine on discharge. (CDC)
  • The CEO for J&J told CNBC that he expects booster doses may be needed for the next several years, similar to flu shots, as variants spread. (CNBC)
  • Women are more likely to develop “long-COVID” than men. Doctors aren’t sure exactly why, but the physical and economic impacts on women with long lasting effects are already being felt, even for those with mild cases. (The Guardian).
  • After Danish soccer star Christian Eriksen suffered cardiac arrest on the pitch before being resuscitated, his team doctor put to rest the rumors that it was related to either having COVID or the vaccine. He has had neither. (Reuters)


Today's Health News

  • Some experts are recommending that you keep your masks on hand - not for COVID but for flu season! Wearing a mask in crowded indoor spaces can drastically reduce your chances of getting the flu (Boston Globe).
  • A new CDC report reveals that suspected suicide attempts began to increase among teens 12-25, especially girls, during the pandemic. If you or one of your employees is struggling with a mental health issue, call SAMSHA at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). They also have a text option at 741741.(CDC)
  • Pediatricians nationally continue to raise the alarm about fewer children being fully vaccinated for childhood illnesses and how that may impact return to the classroom in the fall. (CDC)
  • Reopening offices while reducing risks for things like Legionnella needs careful planning (which hopefully started when those offices first closed). (New York Times)

Best Questions

Should vaccinated employees still take daily wellness checks?


Yes! Though rare, vaccinated people can still get COVID, though it is much less likely to be severe. And that’s not to mention all of the other illnesses that people get - everything from colds and flu to norovirus and hepatitis. Vaccinated employees should still take daily employee wellness checks to report any symptoms they’re having and stay home when they feel sick! The CDC recently issued an alert about a non-COVID respiratory virus called RSV which is circulating in the South right now at above-normal rates, and most experts agree that other illnesses like colds and the flu will be back this year now that states are opening back up without restrictions. Ensuring that your employees don’t work sick remains one of the best tools in your toolkit to stay open safely.

When can we expect booster doses?

Many experts expect booster doses as early as the fall, but the real answer will depend on the vaccines and the variants. There are results coming back from a number of studies about how long vaccine protection lasts. Right now, we’ve seen that it lasts at least six months and still counting, which is good news. Once those studies start to show decreasing protection, the booster dose conversation will really kick up a notch. Second, all of that will depend on what new variants are circulating. Some variants may be more resistant to the vaccine, which is where boosters come into play. A booster dose can be tailored for the variants in circulation each year, which is how our current flu vaccines work. So, as the virus continues to spread around the world and new variants emerge, boosters will be produced that better match the new variants to protect us. And, at the same time, the protection from the original vaccine dose(s) will naturally wane. Boosters will help with both - giving us a new dose of protection and making sure it works against the newest variants.


How can we safely have employee meetings or parties?

So many of our clients are excited to get back into having in-person celebrations and meetings with employees - and we are too! It can be tricky depending on your state and local jurisdiction to determine how you can best gather. Our recommendation is to remain cautious whenever there are unvaccinated people present from multiple households. If a whole group is vaccinated, they can be unmasked indoors and gather in groups without any real limitations. Far more likely, however, is that you’ll have a mixed group of vaccinated and unvaccinated people. In those cases, the safest thing to do is to have anyone who’s unvaccinated mask when indoors. Where possible, it’s still best to gather outside if unvaccinated people are present. For larger gatherings, like conferences or parties, it’s a good idea to incorporate testing, as well.


My employee uploaded their vaccine record to our system and now lost their card. Can we (or ZHH & Zedic) give them a copy?

Yes, but you’ll need to verify it’s the right person. Ask for their name, DOB, brand of vaccine they got, and generally what month they received it to double check that it’s the right person. If you’re speaking with them online or by phone, confirm that their contact info matches anything you might have on file for that employee. If anything doesn’t match or isn’t verifiable, we recommend that you err on the side of caution. They can absolutely contact the place where they got the vaccine to get a replacement card. This is another good reminder to take a picture of your vaccine card ASAP so you have a copy if you need it!


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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.