Zero Hour Health + Zedic Newsletter - Tuesday, June 8th
A new COVID shot, easing travel restrictions and do I need to keep records of vaccinated employees?
A new COVID shot known as a protein subunit vaccine could be available as early as this summer. Unlike the current crop of COVID vaccines available to us in the U.S., this one contains the spike protein along with a substance that’s supposed to enhance the body’s immune response to a virus. These types of vaccines have been around for awhile and the technology appears in the hepatitis B and pertussis vaccines already on the market. (NPR)
More than 300 million doses of the COVID vaccine have been given and new infections are at their lowest levels since March 2020, the start of the pandemic. But vaccination rates are slowing. (Axios)
And this drop in vaccinations might mean we won’t reach 70% of vaccinated adults in this country by July 4. (Washington Post)
New York state is still requiring students to wear masks inside schools, but has dropped the mask requirement at camps. (ABC7)
Almost half of J&J’s COVID doses are going unused in the U.S. since the pause on the vaccine lifted in April. Many of these will be donated to other countries with a high number of COVID cases. (Reuters)
Experts are concerned that Southern states, which have some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, may experience a second surge of COVID. (New York Times)
Washington state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board is allowing “joints for jabs” promotions at cannabis retailers - but only temporarily. It expires on July 12. (KIRO)
Despite Florida’s vaccine passport ban, Miami-based Norweigan Cruise Line Holdings is requiring all of their passengers to be fully vaccinated when it sets sail from the state’s ports. (AP)
Today's Health News
Yesterday, the FDA approved the first new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease in nearly two decades. It’s a controversial choice, as some experts doubt its effectiveness. (STAT)
There’s a new feature that allows Apple users to share health data like physical fitness activity and cholesterol information with specific people, including family members and clinicians. The company said it will not have access to the data. (STAT)
Clinical trials have started for a universal flu vaccine - one that would cover many strains (NIAID)
Search engines like Google are trying to crack down on an increasing number of fake online medical reviews. (Washington Post)
The CDC has eased its travel recommendations to 110 countries, including Iceland, France, Italy, Singapore and Japan. (Reuters)
The WHO has formally recommended J&J’s Ebola vaccine. (J&J)
Kinsa, a CA-based tech start-up, has partnered with the New York City Department of Health to distribute up to 100,000 free smart thermometers throughout the city’s elementary schools. The goal is to create an early warning system for public health outbreaks like COVID and flu. (New York Times)
Are there increased food safety concerns with so many new and on-going disruptions to the supply chain?
Yes! As you know there were and are many shortages and new ones almost daily. There’s just not enough time and reduced bandwidth to vet new purveyors as quickly as they’re needed. And menus are regularly being tweaked (or completely revamped) for take away and to address shortages. Throw transportation delays due to driver and container shortages into the mix, too. All of these new variables raise red flags for food safety. We’ve made huge strides towards improving food safety and minimizing risks for illness. It’s crucial that we keep a close eye on this and don’t prematurely introduce new products or vendors without ensuring QA standards have been met. The risks are just too high.
If I’ve been vaccinated but my state or county requires employee wellness checks, do I still need to do a daily wellness check?
Yes! Even if you’re fully vaccinated, you still need to complete a daily wellness check if it’s required by your state, county or employer because it’s crucial to report if you have symptoms and stay home from work. Even though you’re fully vaccinated, you can still get sick and infect others.
Is it mandatory for employers to keep the records of vaccinated employees?
No. But, tracking vaccinations allows you to reduce exclusions for exposure and allow certain employees (where permissible) to forego masks. Vaccine records contain PHI (date of birth) which must be protected and properly secured if collected.
If an employee’s family member is sick, do we always have to exclude them from work?
No. The most common scenario we see is when a family member recently got vaccinated and their symptoms are consistent with vaccine side effects. In that case, the employee doesn’t need to be excluded as long as they’re symptom free.
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.