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News Scan for Jul 09, 2021

News Scan for Jul 09, 2021

Vaccination linked to COVID-19 decline in healthcare workers

In Orange County, California, COVID-19 vaccination in healthcare personnel (HCP) was connected with a 94% reduction in HCP cases 3 weeks after second doses of mRNA-based vaccines were administered, according to a JAMA Network Open research letter yesterday.

The researchers included 10,188 HCP from the University of California Irvine Health, the only academic medical center in the county, and tracked COVID-19 infections from Nov 1, 2020, to Mar 31, 2021. Participants were screened daily for COVID symptoms and fever and were tested if positive. In addition, about 250 asymptomatic HCP were tested per week up to Dec 13, after which 500 per week were tested. COVID-19 vaccinations began Dec 16.

Data showed that HCP COVID-19 case rates were parallel to the county’s surge in winter 2020-21 but began diverging a week after second vaccine doses began. One week after second doses started, weekly HCP cases fell from 18 to 8 (55% reduction), then to 3 at 2 weeks (84% reduction 2 weeks post-second dose), and finally to 1 at 3 weeks (94% reduction).

Median age of HCP was 38 years, and 61% were women. Almost one in five (19%) were Latino, and 32% lived in the top five cities with the highest COVID-19 burden in Orange County. The researchers note that, once vaccination programs began, 58% of HCPs received a first dose within 2 weeks and 70% received one within 4 weeks.

“This study found a rapid and sustained decline in both COVID-19 symptomatic and asymptomatic infections following HCP vaccination in a region experiencing high rates of COVID-19 disease nationally in the 2020 to 2021 winter season,” concluded the researchers, adding that the difference was likely underestimated, as some HCP would have influenced the county’s rates.
Jul 8 JAMA Netw Open study

Engaging Black faith leaders, pharmacists to boost vaccine acceptance

A community-based COVID-19 vaccine campaign partnering with Black faith leaders and pharmacists led to 351 Black people getting vaccinated in 1 day, or 78% the number of Black people who had been vaccinated in the county the prior month, reports a research abstract yesterday from the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ECSMID).

The results were presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases (ECCMID), held online this year.

Loma Linda University (LLU) is the largest vaccination center in San Bernardino County, California, of which 7.8% of residents are Black. Prior to this outreach effort, LLU administered first doses to only 451 Black people, or 3.2% of 14,157 vaccinees, from Jan 5 to Feb 5.

For its outreach, the LLU School of Pharmacy first met with 20 churches, shared COVID-19 information, and garnered support from Black faith leaders. Then LLU had a Black pharmacist host COVID-19 education webinars that were advertised and coordinated by pastors. The effort culminated in a mobile vaccine clinic at a church on Feb 6. The researchers add that, because pastors were the ones who managed the appointment lists, the mobile clinic eliminated internet-related barriers.

At the 1-day mobile clinic, 420 people were vaccinated, 351 (84%) of whom were Black. The week following the mobile vaccination clinics, Black attendance also increased at LLU mass vaccination sites—4.3% of 9,373 first doses were given to Black people—which the researchers say could be because of their outreach efforts.

“Black churches have long been more than places of worship to their communities,” said lead author Jacinda Abdul-Mutakabbir, PharmD, MPH, of LLU, in an ESCMID press release. “They serve as strongholds for disseminating trusted information and have been integral in our initiative to help achieve racial equity in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.”

Abdul-Mutakabbir said they are also expanding efforts to connect with the Latino community, another group that has been disproportionately hit by the pandemic.
Jul 8 ESCMID abstract and press release

Three countries report more vaccine-derived polio cases

Three countries—Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Yemen—reported more polio cases this week, all involving vaccine-derived types, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) said in its latest update.

Afghanistan reported 1 more circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) case, which involves a patient from Badghis, lifting its total for 2021 to 42.

The DRC reported one more cVDPV2 case, bringing its number so far this year to nine. The report did not note a location for the latest illness.

Meanwhile, Yemen reported a circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 1 (cVDPV1) case, in a patient from Saadah, putting its total at three for the year.
Jul 8 GPEI update

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