Encouraging Vaccines: COVID and Influenza

  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss encouraging your workers to receive both the COVID and Influenza vaccines. Read more below!
  • The FDA is hosting a webcast on Thursday July 08, 2021 (12:00 PM – 1:00PM ET) on “SARS-CoV-2: Host-pathogen interaction, vaccines and variants of concern” presented by Professor Miles W. Carroll (Head of Emerging Pathogens Group at Oxford University) to discuss “how the human body responds to severe SARS-CoV-2 infection which will help in future treatments” while presenting results on the immunological response to infection and vaccination.
  • J&J vaccine protects against Delta variant for at least 8 months, studies find J&J vaccine protects against delta variant for at least 8 months, studies find (healio.com)
    • Data from two preprint studies, submitted to bioRxiv, showed that Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose COVID-19 vaccine generates “strong, persistent activity” against SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern, including the rapidly spreading Delta variant
    • Data demonstrating the efficacy of the vaccine against variants came from a preprint study that assessed blood samples obtained from a subset of eight participants in the phase 3 ENSEMBLE study, which showed that the shot elicited neutralizing antibody activity against the delta variant “at an even higher level than what was recently observed for the beta variant (B.1.351) in South Africa.” According to the trial, the vaccine was 85% effective against severe disease and protected against hospitalization and death.
    • The second preprint study showed that the vaccine generated “a strong neutralizing antibody response that does not wane” but actually improved over time through at least 8 months
  • COVID-19 Falls to 7th Among Leading Causes of Death in the U.S.
    • An updated issue brief examines COVID-19’s effect on mortality rates, and finds that as of June 2021, COVID-19 has fallen to number seven on the list of the top ten leading causes of death in the U.S. As recently as January 2021, COVID was the number one leading cause of death, with an average of 3,136 people dying daily. Amid widespread availability of vaccines, that number has fallen to an average of 300 daily deaths in June 2021. (Issue Brief)
  • Almost half of US reported rising cases last week, attributed to Delta variant surge: Latest COVID-19 Updates Delta COVID variant spikes Missouri, Mississippi cases: Updates (usatoday.com)
    • Alaska and Arkansas more than doubled cases in just the last week. South Carolina and Kansas are up more than 50%
    • In Missouri, the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients jumped by nearly 30% over the Fourth of July weekend in a hard-hit area where immunization rates are low, leading to a temporary ventilator shortage and a public call for help from respiratory therapists
    • About 95% of those hospitalizations have been in unvaccinated Mississippians, officials said.
  • Deadly Listeria outbreak behind massive recall of Tyson chicken
    • The frozen chicken was shipped nationwide to retailers and institutions including hospitals, nursing facilities, restaurants, schools and Department of Defense locations
    • Products include frozen, fully cooked chicken strips, diced chicken, chicken wing sections, and fully cooked pizza with chicken
    • Products were sold under many brands including Tyson, Jet’s Pizza, Casey’s General Store, Marco’s Pizza, and Little Caesars

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Recommendations for Industry

Encouraging Vaccines: COVID and Influenza

As far as COVID is concerned, we are continuing to see a flattened, to slightly increased, rate of transmission due to the Delta variant. We’re not seeing a large cross-country increase, rather it is more of a trend of pockets of infection in various areas. COVID is still out there, so TAG recommends that businesses continue to encourage worker vaccinations.

Internationally, Israel has recently seen a 50% increase in COVID cases, with 42 percent of cases occurring in fully vaccinated people.  New numbers from the health ministry in Israel suggest that the Pfizer vaccine may becoming less effective at preventing symptomatic illness associated with the Delta variant. 

In a similar vein, as we round the middle month of summer and come nearer to the fall flu season, it will be beneficial for businesses to encourage influenza vaccinations as well. A recent CDC review found that among adults, flu vaccination was associated with a 26% lower risk of flu-related ICU admission and a 31% lower risk of flu-related death. The findings show similar insights as do COVID vaccines – that is, people who are vaccinated may still get sick with flu, but their illness is likely to be less severe. Thus encouraging vaccines for both COVID and influenza can be beneficial to workers and the business as a whole.

In Case You Missed It

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.