This week in Clipboard Health’s Nursing News round up …
Moderna Vaccine Gains Approval, Pfizer Vaccine Continuous Distribution
The United States now has two COVID-19 vaccines that have been given emergency use authorization and are now being distributed across the country.
Moderna received regulatory approval last Friday, and people began receiving the first doses on Monday. The federal government’s goal is to distribute 7.9 million doses of the Moderna vaccine by the end of the week.
Last week, about 2.9 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine were distributed, and about 560,000 people have since received their first dose.
New COVID-19 Variants Result in Heightened Travel Restrictions, Vaccine Worries
Multiple countries have initiated new policies restricting travel to Britain after the country identified a new variant of COVID-19 about a week ago that has since begun to rapidly spread.
Several other countries in Europe, as well as Australia, have identified cases of the strain, and South Africa has reported another COVID-19 strain that seems to be just as infectious.
New virus strains are not unusual for any virus, and multiple new strains of COVID-19 have been identified throughout the pandemic from its very beginning. However, although there’s yet to be any evidence that this new strain in Britain is anymore or less deadly than other strains, it has quickly become the dominant strain behind 60% of those infected in December and is estimated to be 70% more transmissible.
Additionally, the virus has multiple new mutations, many of which are focused on the proteins that make up the coronavirus’ signature spikes. Those proteins are the targets of current vaccines. It’s unknown yet whether or not the vaccines will continue to work on this new variant.
Scientists also believe the new strain may be more infectious to children, unlike previous variants.
COVID-19 Vaccination Begins at Nursing Homes
Walgreens and CVS, in partnership with the federal government, began a nationwide effort to vaccinate nursing home residents on Monday. Nursing homes have been particularly hard hit from infections and deaths due to COVID-19 throughout the pandemic.
Federal Advisory Panel Recommends Opening Vaccines to People over 75, Essential Workers
A federal advisory panel voted on Sunday to recommend vaccination for the next phase of vaccine doses after nursing home residents and frontline health care workers. The recommendation urges vaccination plans to include people 75 years old and older and essential workers, including teachers and grocery store workers.
Federal Commission Update Says Employers Can Require Mandatory Vaccines
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updated its guidelines to state that employers can require employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The guidelines also outlined the policy and procedure for exemptions for medical, disability, or religious reasons.
Medical Studies Round-Up
Here’s a brief round-up of recent medical studies and their findings for you to stay up-to-date with the ever-evolving field of medical research.
- A meta-analysis of 24 studies found that a noticeable difference in the systolic number of your blood pressure between both arms could be a warning sign for a heart attack or stroke.
- Researchers have found that using UV LED lights can kill off a human coronavirus, HCoV-OC43. The study found other coronaviruses were susceptible to the UV light. Next steps include testing its efficiency against the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. If it works, this could be a cheaper, faster, and more effective way at disinfection.
- A new study from the University of Utah has found that temperature changes greatly affect the length of time the SARS-CoV-2 virus particles remain infectious. The colder it is, the longer it stays infectious.
Race for the Vaccine: Coronavirus Vaccine Updates
Vaccinations have begun, but the process still is far from over. To learn more about the top vaccines, vaccination timelines, potential requirements for health care professionals and facilities, and more, check out our COVID-19 Vaccine Information hub.
Here’s the most recent news from the past week on COVID-19 vaccine development.
Moderna vaccine doses began arriving in states on Monday for distribution.
Johnson & Johnson and partner Jansse anticipate that data from their Phase III trials will be available by the end of January. The companies hope to apply for emergency use approval by February.