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Zero Hour Health + Zedic Newsletter - Tuesday, March 30th

The next surge is here, too much of a good thing and getting vaccinated when you have COVID.

ZHH Updates

Case Counts are Rising - So Are Employee Illnesses

Last Saturday our team saw the highest number of reported employee illnesses since January 16th, the peak of the last COVID-19 surge. Case counts are rising daily across the US, largely fueled by variants and relaxing precautions. Spring break is winding down in many areas - bringing an end to Spring Breakitis.

Have You Registered for Our Webinar?

Half of your employees are anxiously looking forward to or have already received their first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, but data shows there are another 30% who are still undecided or in a wait-and-see pattern. Reaching them is your business' key to getting back to “normal” and achieving herd immunity. But how do you do that?

We’ll be joined by Cathie Koch, GVP of Corporate Affairs for Bloomin’ Brands, and Sarah Spah, MSN with the Vaccine Branch of the Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Response Division (formerly with the Mayo Clinic) for this timely conversation.

When: Wed., April 7 at 2 p.m. ET
Register Here

Today's Recap:

Best Questions:

If I’ve tested positive for COVID this week, can I still get vaccinated?

Not this week. Instead, you should wait at least 10 days after your symptoms started (or after your positive test if you never had symptoms) to get vaccinated. After you meet the criteria for ending your self-isolation, you can go get that vaccine!

If I was exposed to COVID but don’t have symptoms, can I get vaccinated?

You probably shouldn’t, more so for the risk you might pose to other people. If you were exposed to someone with COVID, going to a vaccination site means you could infect others. Remember, you might be infectious even if you don’t have symptoms. Your best bet is to postpone your vaccine appointment until after 10 days from your most recent exposure.

We noticed you shifted from speaking about “vaccine hesitancy” to “vaccine acceptance”?  Why the shift and what’s the difference?

You’ll hear Sarah Spah from the MN Department of Health speak on this very topic in our April 7th webinar. Basically, we know that roughly 30% of your workforce is undecided about whether they want to get the COVID vaccine, but they’re not necessarily hesitant. They either aren’t ready to make an appointment or feel like they need more information to make an informed decision. Using the term “vaccine hesitancy” implies something negative, so we’re trying to reframe the conversation. Our goal here, like yours, is to encourage acceptance of the vaccine through reliable information and positive communication.

What are some of the primary barriers employees face when trying to get vaccinated?

  • Eligibility (improving rapidly)
  • Appointment availability (also improving)
  • Misinformation on social media
  • Transportation to a vaccine site
  • Lack of access to good information or appointment scheduling (particularly in their primary language)

The last one is particularly important, because it’s an area that you, as employers, have the ability to change. You can share resources for reliable vaccine information with your teams using every communication channel you have (think social media, internal newsletters, team meetings and company signage). Another resource is our newly launched COVID Vaccine Chat line - it’s already busier than any of us anticipated! If you haven’t already taken advantage of this feature, click here to book a demo.

Do you have some immunity after Dose 1 of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines? Soon will we be able to test someone and avoid quarantine after Dose 1?

You start to have an antibody response about two weeks after the first dose of an mRNA vaccine like Pfizer or Moderna. According to a new CDC study, mRNA vaccines prevented 80% of infections two weeks after the first dose, which is incredibly promising. After the second dose, that number jumps to 90%. Still, guidance around quarantine and exclusions haven’t been updated yet because this is just one small study with less than 4,000 participants, and more studies are underway. 

There’s also some exciting early evidence that people who have already been infected with COVID-19 have a kind of jump-start immune response to the vaccine, and scientists are studying whether they could just have one dose in the future to get the same impact. 

For now, you’ll still need to mask, social distance and quarantine if you come into close contact with someone who has COVID while you’re only partially vaccinated, but this guidance may continue to evolve as we get more data.

We’re expecting a COVID-related OSHA visit after reporting positives.  How can we be sure we’re properly prepared?

If you’re taking the proper COVID precautions, you should be in good shape. That includes daily employee wellness checks, temp checks, proper handwashing and mask usage (over the nose and chin, even if it’s hot) and, most importantly, social distancing.

OSHA is most likely showing up because you’ve reported one or more COVID positive cases.  Review your contact tracing to ensure that everyone who had close contact has been excluded for the appropriate time. If you have video, using that to validate contact tracing is effective (and OSHA may ask to see it).

Another good way to prep is to do an employee wellness check audit - make sure that every single person who is working is doing a wellness check before every single shift. It’s also useful to do a walkthrough of the site to double check that everyone is distanced, wearing masks properly, washing hands with hot water and soap, and following any other COVID guidelines you have set up.

Best Read:

How to talk to those hesitant about a COVID-19 vaccine.

Best Laugh:

Editorial Cartoon U.S. krispy kreme covid vaccine

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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.