Percent of Vaccinated Can Determine Needed Protections

Key Points

  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss how to implicate protections based off your employee’s vaccination status. Read more below.

Recommendations for Industry

Percent of Vaccinated Can Determine Needed Protections

As concerns continue to spread in the U.S. about the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19, businesses should carefully consider, for each facility, both the percentage of vaccinated employees and conditions in the area in which the facility is located.  The WHO and countries such as Israel are now recommending that fully vaccinated people should mask in certain indoor settings.  Many countries in the world have much lower vaccination rates than the U.S., and the recommendation for fully vaccinated persons to mask recognizes the likelihood that they will come in contact with unvaccinated persons at a higher frequency.

While it is difficult to provide exact numbers, TAG recommends that facilities retain COVID protections, including masks for both vaccinated and unvaccinated, if more than 25-30% of your workforce has remained unvaccinated, or if transmission rates are high or increasing in the community. We also recommend that businesses continue to inform, encourage, and/or incentivize employees to help increase vaccine acceptance and taking of full (two-vaccine) doses. With studies finding that the two doses of mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) have good efficacy against the Delta variant as well. Some discussion that a booster may be needed for those who took the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is also occurring. However, the CDC has not recommended or provided guidance on boosting this single dose vaccine. So, if a choice is available, you may want to consider or recommend Pfizer or Moderna, as these vaccines still appear to be very effective against the Delta variant at preventing symptomatic and severe illness.

As we determine the direction the Delta variant and COVID itself, takes, we’ll want to follow the science and adjust masking and other risk mitigation measures recommendations if the science changes.  For now, it may be advisable to hold steady on any pandemic protections you have retained, waiting to relax any further until more is known.

In Case You Missed It

  • In last Friday’s Recommendations for Industry, we discussed how previously infected individuals may not need the COVID vaccine. Read more here.
  • The AP News reported that, nearly all COVID-19 deaths in the US are among unvaccinated individuals while only 0.1% of COVID-19 infections are “breakthrough” cases. In fact, Dr. Rochelle Walensky (CDC director) commented at a White House briefing on Tuesday (reported by CNN) that “new COVID-19 death is now entirely preventable.” In fact, Healio reports that Dr. Fauci noted that 20% of new COVID-19 cases are reported to be from the Delta variant as cases have doubled in the last two weeks.
  • The effects of the Delta Variant are being seen globally (as we’ve discussed). CIDRAP reports that, around the world, 12 countries in Africa are seeing a surge in cases, as well as in South America (Brazil, Colombia, and Argentina). Even countries that had COVID under control are seeing an uptick in cases including Israel, Portugal, Lisbon, and New South Wales. The BBC further reports that Europe is bracing for a surge in Delta variants, too.
  • As we had discussed in our Risk Matrix (and on Wednesday’s Recommendations for Industry), Missouri now leads the nation in new COVID-19 infections. Not only does it have the lowest vaccination rate in the country, Delta variant cases are rising there. Most infected who are being admitted to the hospital are younger unvaccinated individuals.
  • The FDA has put out a Drug Safety Communication for hand sanitizers, warning that symptoms such as headache, nausea, and dizziness can occur after applying alcohol-based hand sanitizers to the skin and inhaling the vapors that linger. Consumers should use hand sanitizer in a well-ventilated area. Please don’t inhale hand sanitizer fumes!

Public Health and Food Safety:

  • Food Safety News reports that the confirmed number of Salmonella infections from backyard chicken flocks now stands at 474 people; sickened individuals live in 46 states with 1/3 of patients younger than 5 years old.