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Vaccine Mandate & Booster Updates

Flu Status:

  • WHO:
    • Globally, despite continued or even increased testing in some countries, influenza activity remained at lower levels than expected for this time of the year.
    • In the temperate zones of the southern hemisphere, influenza activity remained at inter-seasonal levels, although a slight increase in influenza A and B detections was reported from South Africa.
    • Worldwide, influenza B (Victoria) viruses predominated.
  • CDC:
    • The Key Update for Week 41 (ending October 16, 2021) finds “seasonal influenza activity in the United States remains low.” Only 0.1% of all specimens tested this week were positive, with an almost even split of Influenza A (47%) and B (53%).

Public Health & Food Safety

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Recommendations for Industry

Vaccine Mandate & Booster Updates

The unofficial word on the street is that we are likely to see the OSHA emergency temporary standard (ETS) on the vaccination/testing mandate published by the end of the week. If so – or whenever it publishes – TAG will do a deep dive of the standard to provide our perspectives and recommendations.

On the officially stated side of the coin, FDA not only authorized Moderna and Johnson & Johnson boosters last week, but also authorized the “mix and match” of the Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J vaccines as boosters following the eligibility criteria for each (below). TAG recommends that individuals interested in getting a booster vaccine different than the one originally administered should consult with their health care provider, particularly in relation to side-effect potential.

Eligibility criteria includes:

  • The Moderna or Pfizer booster may be administered at least 6 months after completion of the primary series to individuals:
    • 65 years of age and older
    • 18 through 64 years of age at high risk of severe COVID-19
    • 18 through 64 years of age with frequent institutional or occupational exposure to SARS-CoV-2
  • The J&J booster may be administered at least 2 months after completion of the single-dose primary regimen to individuals 18 years of age and older.

In Case You Missed It

  • In last Thursday’s Recommendations for Industry, we discussed TAG’s Weekly COVID-19 Matrix, U.S. and global hotspots, continued masking, and vaccine booster shots. Read more here.
  • The FDA has authorized Moderna and J&J booster shots. Additionally, they are allowing for the mixing and matching of different COVID-19 vaccines [NYT].
  • French pharmaceutical company, Valneva’s COVID-19 vaccine has demonstrated good performance in Phase 3 trials, with a seroconversion rate above 95% and is outperforming the AstraZeneca vaccine. This vaccine uses an inactivated whole virus.
  • As Moderna has “reiterated on several occasions that they will not enforce their intellectual property during the pandemic,” the WHO has hired Afrigen Biologics and Vaccines to “figure out how to make an mRNA vaccine against COVID that is as close as possible to the version produced by Moderna” as there is increasing promise that mRNA vaccines can be effective against malaria and tuberculosis. [NPR]
  • The WHO reports that last week, Europe was the only region with rises in COVID-19 cases, about a 7% rise (ABC News). The UK currently has one of the highest COVID-19 infection rates right now, owing to a variety of reasons including “half-hearted mask adoption [and] large indoor gatherings.” Additionally, it is speculated that the UK’s hesitation in vaccinating younger teenagers and its early vaccination rollouts may also be contributing (CNBC). There is a potential new COVID-19 Delta variant; it is currently being closely watched as it accounts for about 6% of all UK cases, at this time (BBC). Additionally, Latvia is now the first country to “reimpose lockdown in Europe’s new COVID wave” (The Guardian).
  • The CDC Director has announced that there is “no evidence a new sub lineage of the Delta variant is having any significant effect in the United States.” Additionally, there is currently no evidence indicating that the subvariant would impact vaccine and therapeutics effectiveness. [CNN]
  • A new CDC MMWR has found that 2 doses of the Pfizer vaccine is “93% effective at preventing COVID-19 hospitalizations among 12 – 18 years old.” Read the full report here.

Public Health & Food Safety


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