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COVID-19: Vaccine Demographic Data, New Mask Guidance

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 52.9 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered in the United States as of Feb. 14.

The agency updated its COVID Data Tracker with a new page showing demographic characteristics of vaccinated people. Notably, race and ethnicity data are available for only 55 percent of people who received one dose and 53.4 percent of people who received two doses.

The agency also replaced its weekly COVIDView newsletter with the COVID Data Tracker Weekly Review, which will include narrative interpretations and visualizations of key data from the CDC COVID Data Tracker.

In a Feb. 9 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) early release, CDC reports that intent to receive a COVID-19 vaccine increased from 39.4 percent in September 2020 to 49.1 percent in December 2020. The report shows that lack of intent is highest among:

  • younger adults (ages 18–49);
  • women;
  • non-Hispanic Black adults;
  • adults living in nonmetropolitan areas;
  • adults with less education and income; and
  • adults without health insurance.

Vaccine Administration Guidelines

CDC on Feb. 10 updated its interim clinical considerations for molecular ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccines. Notably, fully vaccinated people who have been exposed to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 no longer are required to quarantine if they:

  • have been fully vaccinated for more than two weeks;
  • received the last dose in the series within three months; and
  • have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure.

The updated guidance also includes:

  • recommendations for preventing, reporting, and managing mRNA vaccine administration errors;
  • explanations about contraindications and precautions; and
  • updates on delayed, local injection-site reactions after the first mRNA vaccine dose.

CDC Updates Mask Use Guidance

CDC on Feb. 13 updated its guidance on improving mask fit and filtration, urging the public to choose masks with nose wires, use a mask fitter or brace to prevent air from leaking around the mask, and make sure the mask fits snugly around the nose, mouth, and chin.

The agency urges people to knot and tuck the ear loops of a three-ply mask to ensure a close fit and wear a cloth mask over a disposable medical procedure mask for extra protection. However, two disposable masks should not be combined, and KN95 masks also should not be combined with other masks. Research shows that these precautions have shown to improve mask fit and reduce the receiver’s exposure to simulated aerosol, as detailed in a Feb. 10 MMWR early release.

Additionally, the agency urges people to ensure that, if they choose to wear KN95 masks, which are a type of filtering facepiece respirator that are commonly made and used in China, that the masks meet requirements similar to those set by CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for respirators.

The agency also updated its Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations for Health Care Personnel with additional strategies for improving the fit of face masks, options for patient source control, and strategies for optimizing limited personal protective equipment. Other updated guidance advises health care personnel on optimizing the use of N95 respirators.

President Biden Appoints Health Equity Task Force

President Biden on Feb. 10 appointed 12 nonfederal members of the COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. Among those leaders are:

  • James Hildreth, MD, PhD, president and CEO of Meharry Medical College, an affiliate of association member Nashville General Hospital at Meharry; and
  • Joneigh Khaldun, MD, MPH, a part-time emergency medicine physician at association member Henry Ford Health System, in Detroit.

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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