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COVID-19: Youth Immunization Schedule, New Test Cleared

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC)’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices added on Feb. 10 the COVID-19 primary vaccine series to its 2023 recommended immunization schedule for children and adolescents aged 18 years old or younger.

The agency also published a study Feb. 10 in the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report indicating that individuals who have received bivalent booster doses have a slightly higher protection against COVID-19 infection and significantly higher protection against death, compared with those who have received solely monovalent boosters or are unvaccinated.

Since data also suggest that vaccine protection following monovalent doses wanes after four months, CDC encourages Americans to stay up to date with the COVID-19 vaccination schedule,

Bivalent boosters protect not only against the original variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, but against BA.4 and BA.5 omicron subvariants as well.

The data was collected across 24 U.S. jurisdictions in individuals ages 12 and older between October and December 2022, when cases of BA.4 and BA.5 were at their peak.

To better position the agency to respond to future public health threats, the CDC also announced on Feb. 8 the establishment of the Coronavirus and other Respiratory Viruses Division within the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

FDA Clears Device that Detects Multiple Respiratory Infections

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared on Feb. 3 the BIOFIRE SPOTFIRE Respiratory (R) Panel, a nasal test used to simultaneously detect and identify 15 respiratory viral and bacterial infections, including COVID-19 and influenza, for commercial distribution. It is the first COVID-19 test to be cleared with a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments Waiver.

The agency urges Americans to report any positive or negative at-home COVID-19 test results on MakeMyTestCount.org, the anonymous reporting system developed by the National Institutes of Health, to help public health departments evaluate the spread of the virus.

FEMA Announces End of COVID-19 Public Assistance

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that the incident period for all COVID-19 major disaster declarations will close May 11, when the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) ends.

The agency also noted that eligibility of work and costs reimbursable through public assistance funding also will end May 11.

Visit the America’s Essential Hospitals coronavirus resource page for more information about the pandemic. In response to recent administration and agency changes related to COVID-19, the page now features resources focused on PHE Unwinding and Medicaid Redetermination.

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

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