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COVID-19: Mask Guidance for Vaccinated People

New Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations no longer require people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to wear a mask or physically distance, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial regulations.

The May 13 guidance also exempts fully vaccinated people from testing following a known exposure unless they are residents or employees of a correctional facility, detention facility, or homeless shelter.

CDC Committee Endorses Pfizer Vaccine for Adolescents

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on May 12 adopted the agency’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices endorsement of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for adolescents ages 12 to 15. The COVID Data Tracker now includes the percentage of the population ages 12 and older that has received a vaccine. As of May 17, 56.1 percent of the population age 12 and older received at least one dose, and 43.9 percent is fully vaccinated.

Long-Term Care, Residential Facilities Must Provide COVID-19 Vaccine, Data

A May 11 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) rule requires long-term care facilities and residential facilities that serve clients with intellectual disabilities to educate and provide the COVID-19 vaccine to residents, clients, and staff. Additionally, the rule requires long-term care facilities to report weekly COVID-19 vaccination status data for residents and staff to the CDC National Healthcare Safety Network.

The agency also seeks comment on the expansion of this policy to other congregate care settings, including psychiatric residential treatment facilities, group homes, and assisted living facilities.

CMS: Medicaid, CHIP Patients Delayed Care During Pandemic

CMS data show a decline in primary, preventive, and mental health care visits among Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) beneficiaries from March to October 2020.

Specifically, the data show a 34 percent decline in mental health services used by children under age 19, compared with the same period in 2019, and a 22 percent decline in mental health services used by adults ages 19 to 64. In response, the agency has launched the Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign, an outreach and enrollment initiative that targets families with children and teens eligible for Medicaid and CHIP.

Health care utilization rates for some primary and preventive care services for children have since recovered to pre-pandemic levels. However, preliminary 2020 data show, when compared with pre-pandemic levels:

  • 9 percent fewer childhood vaccinations for beneficiaries under age two;
  • 21 percent fewer child screening services among children under age 19; and
  • 39 percent fewer dental services among children under age 19.

These data account for an increase in telehealth utilization during this time.

FDA Updates EUA for Bamlanivimab, Etesevimab

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated its emergency use authorization (EUA) for use of bamlanivimab and etesevimab together to treat patients ages 12 and older with mild to moderate COVID-19 who are at high risk of progressing to severe COVID-19.

The updated EUA expands the definition of high risk for disease progression to include additional medical conditions and risk factors. The EUA also includes phase 3 data, updated clinical trial safety analyses and adverse event data, and information about the susceptibility of SARS-CoV-2 variants to bamlanivimab and etesevimab.

Visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the pandemic.

Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at eomalley@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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About the Author

Emily Schweich is a senior communications associate for America's Essential Hospitals.

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