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COVID-19: Travel Mask Mandate Ends; New Vaccine Effectiveness Study

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to recommend masking during traveling, a federal judge in Florida ruled against the CDC’s extended travel mask requirement. Originally expiring on April 18, the CDC extended its travel mask requirement until May 3, amid increases in the seven-day moving average of cases. However, with the recent federal court decision, the Transportation Security Administration no longer will enforce the mask mandate, effective immediately.

The CDC plans to update the Travel Health Notice system for international destinations to help the public when making travel decisions. The new system, effective April 18, will reserve Level 4 travel health notices for special circumstances, such as rapidly escalating case trajectory or extremely high case counts, emergence of a new variant of concern, or health care infrastructure collapse.

CDC Studies Effectiveness of mRNA Vaccination in Preventing Reinfection

In Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), the CDC reported on the effectiveness of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine in preventing hospitalizations from June 2021 through February 2022. Estimated vaccine effectiveness against reinfection leading to hospitalization during the omicron-predominant period was approximately 35 percent after the second dose and 68 percent after a booster dose.

New Codes for Moderna Vaccine Booster and Administration 

CMS issued new codes, effective March 29, for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster and administration corresponding to the recent authorization of a second booster dose for immunocompromised people.

FDA Authorizes First COVID-19 Diagnostic Test Using Breath Samples

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) to InspectIR Systems for their InspectIR COVID-19 Breathalyzer test, which is the first COVID-19 diagnostic test that detects chemical compounds in breath samples associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection. A qualified health professional would administer the test in a care setting to those 18 or older and without symptoms,

Pfizer Plans to Submit EUA for Boosters for Kids 5 to 11

Data from a recent clinical trial evaluating efficacy and safety of administering a booster to kids ages 5 to 11 show promising results. Given these results, Pfizer and BioNTech plan to submit an EUA for boosters for children in that age range, in addition to sharing results and information with the European Medicines Agency.

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

Abigail Painchaud is a policy associate at America's Essential Hospitals.

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