For the second year, COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer, according to new reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Agency data also show that declines in age-adjusted death rate ratio disparities from 2020 to 2021 ranged from 14 percent to 40.2 percent for most racial and ethnic groups. This underscores the importance of providing effective preventive interventions, including vaccination and clinical care, to all communities in proportion to their needs.
Moderna Bivalent COVID-19 Booster Shot Targets Variant-Specific Mutations
Moderna Inc. on April 19 provided an update on its bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273.211, which includes mutations found in the beta variant of SARS-CoV-2, many of which also persist in the omicron variant.
A 50-microgram booster dose of mRNA-1273.211 demonstrated superiority against beta, delta, and omicron variants of concern one month after administration compared with a booster dose of mRNA-1273, the company’s original, Food and Drug Administration–authorized vaccine. Superiority continued six months after administration for beta and omicron variants of concern. Moderna reports that tolerability and safety of the bivalent booster were consistent with the authorized 50 µg mRNA-1273 booster.
The company also is evaluating an updated bivalent booster, mRNA-1273.214, which incorporates more mutations specific to the omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant. Initial data from the phase 2/3 clinical study will inform the selection of Moderna’s fall 2022 booster vaccine for the Northern Hemisphere.
CDC Launches Disease Forecasting Center
CDC on April 19 launched the Center for Forecasting and Outbreak Analytics (CFA), a new team that will use data, modeling, and analytics to improve outbreak response.
CFA’s three goals are to:
- predict future outbreaks;
- inform federal, state, and local government leaders; and
- innovate through research and development of novel analytics tools.
The team already has researched the omicron SARS-CoV-2 variant’s effect on COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, worked with public health officials to prepare for the surge, and awarded $21 million to academic institutions to advance modeling and forecasting methodology.
CDC Releases Quarantine and Isolation Calculator FAQ
CDC on April 22 released frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the agency’s quarantine and isolation calculator, which helps people determine how long to isolate, quarantine, or take other steps to prevent spreading COVID-19.
The FAQs clarify when and how the calculator can be used to determine mitigation efforts. Notably, CDC clarified that the calculator does not apply to health care personnel; patients, residents, and visitors to health care settings; people who are moderately to severely ill or immunocompromised; or those in high-risk congregate settings.
HRSA Telehealth Conference, May 16-17
The Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration and Telehealth.HHS.gov will host a National Telehealth Conference bringing together public and private sector leaders to discuss telehealth best practices and lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The May 16-17 event will include these and other topics:
- achieving health equity through increased access and adoption of telehealth;
- the role of telehealth as a tool to improve the quality of care for patients, especially those in underserved communities;
- tele-behavioral health as a model and example of the success of integrating telehealth during the pandemic and beyond; and
- sharing clinical telehealth best practices and lessons learned.
Visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the pandemic.
Contact Senior Director of Policy Erin O’Malley at email@example.com or 202.585.0127 with questions.