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COVID-19: Vaccine Effectiveness; Eviction Moratorium

Among people previously infected with COVID-19, unvaccinated people are more than two times as likely to be reinfected as vaccinated people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC)’s Aug. 6 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The study followed 246 patients in Kentucky initially infected in 2020 and reinfected between May and June 2021; 20.3 percent of those in the study were fully vaccinated. Patients with previous infections who were unvaccinated had 2.34 times the odds of reinfection as patients who were fully vaccinated, and partial vaccination was not significantly associated with reinfection. These findings suggest vaccination provides additional protection against reinfection and should be offered to all, including those with previous COVID-19 infection.

Another MMWR study highlights the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines in preventing hospitalization in adults aged 65 and older. This study synthesized data from 7,280 patients in the COVID-19–Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network with data from state immunization systems from February to April 2021.

Among adults aged 65–74 years, effectiveness of full vaccination for preventing hospitalization was:

  • 96 percent for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine;
  • 96 percent for the Moderna vaccine; and
  • 84 percent for the Janssen vaccine.

Among adults aged 75 and older, effectiveness of full vaccination for preventing hospitalization was:

  • 91 percent for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine;
  • 96 percent for the Moderna vaccine; and
  • 85 percent for the Janssen vaccine.

These findings demonstrate all available COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing hospitalization among older adults.

CDC Issues Limited Eviction Moratorium Extension

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, on Aug. 3 signed an eviction moratorium order extending to Oct. 3 the moratorium in counties experiencing substantial and high levels of community transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

This extension comes as the SARS-CoV-2 delta variant continues to spread throughout the United States. The order deems that evicting tenants for failure to make rent or housing payments could hinder public health control measures.

“This moratorium is the right thing to do to keep people in their homes and out of congregate settings where COVID-19 spreads,” Walensky said.

GAO Issues Report on HHS Protect

An Aug. 5 report from the Government Accountability Organization (GAO) examines the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS’) implementation of HHS Protect, a platform launched in April 2020 to capture hospital capacity and resource data during the COVID-19 pandemic. This report is informed by a review of agency guidance, data from HHS Protect, and interviews with HHS officials and state public health officials.

GAO reports that after HHS changed data reporting methods and requirements, hospitals and other reporting entities experienced challenges implementing these changes. HHS reported the agency uses hospital capacity data to mitigate resource shortages and inform the public, but public health stakeholders told GAO they relied on state and local data instead of HHS Protect because it was more detailed. Agency officials reported a need for increased dialogue with stakeholders and a continued need for a system like HHS Protect beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. These conclusions are consistent with GAO’s January 2021 recommendation that HHS create an expert committee to inform the alignment of data collection and reporting standards. HHS agreed to this recommendation but, as of June 2021, had not implemented it.

GAO reviewed agency guidance and HHS Protect hospital capacity dashboards and reports, and interviewed HHS officials as well as officials from three states that report or reported directly to HHS Protect on behalf of their hospitals. These states were selected for variation in geography and the mix of rural and nonrural hospital facilities. GAO also interviewed officials from public health stakeholder groups including hospital associations, epidemiological associations, and local health organizations.

CDC, HHS Launch Minority Health Social Vulnerability Index Microsite

CDC and the HHS Office of Minority Health launched a microsite for the newly developed Minority Health Social Vulnerability Index (SVI). The Minority Health SVI incorporates factors that put communities at increased risk for adverse outcomes from COVID-19. The microsite includes potential SVI uses, a downloadable dataset and data dictionary, and sample social media messages to spread the word about the measurement tool.

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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