December 8, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

POMA continues to monitor the rapidly changing information surrounding the spread of COVID-19.

In an effort to provide accurate and helpful information to POMA members, we have gathered some of the resources we are finding to be most useful and accurate at this time. We hope this helps you in staying on top of the latest developments in the spread of the disease and in helping your patients.

Stay safe and healthy!


New Headlines

CMS Issues Updated FAQ for Health Care Staff Vaccination Requirements

On December 2, 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) updated their list of frequently asked questions regarding the Biden-Harris Administration's emergency regulation requiring COVID-19 vaccination of eligible staff at healthcare facilities that participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Click the links to view the November 4 announcement, the interim final rule, and the updated FAQ online.

The White House Announces New Actions to Protect Americans Against COVID Variants this Winter

On December 2, 2021, President Biden announced new actions to combat COVID-19 as we head into the winter months. Following are the actions:

  1. Ensuring booster shots for all adults which includes expanding vaccine availability in pharmacies through December, launching public education campaigns and encouraging paid time off to employees to get booster shots.
  2. Getting kids vaccinated to protect them and keep schools open by reviewing school COVID-19 prevention policies to avoid closures of entire classrooms or schools when there is a positive case, launching hundreds of family vaccination clinics, paying for COVID-19 vaccine counseling visits, and supporting timely review of the FDA's applications for pediatric COVID vaccines.
  3. Expanding free at-home testing for Americans through insurers and expanding community distribution of free at-home tests.
  4. Implementing stronger public health protocols for safe travel including restricting travel from countries with high community spread, requiring testing prior to entering the country and extending the mask requirement for public transportation through March 18, 2022.
  5. Protecting workplaces to keep businesses open through vaccination requirements and testing programs.
  6. Ensuring rapid response teams can be mobilized to help states battle any potential COVID-19 outbreaks this winter and strengthening the Medical Reserve Corps.
  7. If and when COVID-19 treatment pills become available, they will be equitably accessible to all Americans.
  8. Continued commitment to global vaccination efforts including donated 1.2 billion doses to the world and ramping up vaccine manufacturing and a building a sustainable supply chain.
  9. Ensuring America is prepared for all scenarios so the Administration is able to quickly act if updated vaccinations or boosters are needed and accelerating the development and deployment of new vaccines and boosters for variants.
Read the full White House press release 

Pennsylvania's COVID-19 Vaccine Update

Pennsylvania is currently administering the Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccination numbers for Pennsylvania do not include Philadelphia, which is its own jurisdiction, or federal facilities, which are working directly with the federal government.

According to the PA Department of Health, as of December 7th, 15,782,373 total doses have been administered, including 1,735,589 additional doses for immunocompromised individuals and booster shots. The state has seen a 47.2% increase in vaccines administered from the previous week.

There are 6,716,803 fully vaccinated people in Pennsylvania. According to the CDC, as of December 6th, 69.8% of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older are fully vaccinated.

National Influenza Week of Action

While much attention has been paid to COVID-19 and its variants, we need to also be aware that the detection of flu-related viruses has increased in recent weeks. Experts say that the likelihood of flu and COVID-19 spreading simultaneously is high, so please join us in promoting the National Influenza Week of Action, December 5-11, and share the CDC's "Catch Up on Well-Child Visits and Recommended Vaccinations" campaign with your community.

CMS will also be hosting a Pediatric Vaccine Partner Webinar on Thursday, December 9 from 1-2 pm EST. The webinar will highlight newly released recommendations on COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5-11, federal COVID-19 resources, flu shot information, and more. Click here to register.

Resources for the Holiday, Travel and Flu Season

The holiday season is quickly approaching! The CDC is providing several resources to help everyone enjoy holiday traditions and protect your health: 

PA Health Alert Network (PA HAN) - Health Alerts, Advisories and Updates

Previously Published but Relevant Headlines

Become a COVID-19 Vaccine Provider

POMA is working with the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) to spread the word that YOU can become a COVID-19 vaccine provider!

Several months ago, Pennsylvania's Acting Physician General Denise Johnson, MD spoke about the DOH's current vaccine objective, pivoting from larger/mass vaccination sites to community physician practices. Enroll as a provider and administer the vaccine in your office - click here to access the enrollment form.

Read the full message from Dr. Johnson regarding this important initiative and how you can keep your community healthy.

PA DOH Video Resource About COVID Vaccine Safety

The Pennsylvania Department of Health Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Director of the Vaccine Education Center and Professor of Pediatrics Dr. Paul Offit have developed a video resource for Pennsylvanians to answer questions about COVID vaccine safety. The video includes a review of the vaccine approval process through the FDA, including the Emergency Use Authorization. They also discuss information on the increasing scientific data on the safety of vaccines for children and pregnant women and the effectiveness of the vaccine against variants, with a highlighted focus on effectiveness against the delta variant.

Dr. Johnson said "With so much information and misinformation out there, access to reliable and trusted sources can help you make the best decision for you and your family... It's essential that we continue to inform and educate Pennsylvanians about the COVID-19 vaccines, because good information leads to good decisions."

Anyone can access and share this video resource on Facebook or PAcast.

Updated Pennsylvania Coronavirus Links: Press Releases, State Lab Cases, Graphics, Resources

Briefings and Updates from Pa. Governor Wolf and the Department of Health

Resources from the CDC

The CDC has provided guidance and resources for healthcare providers, healthcare facilities, laboratories, as well as information for schools and childcare, businesses and employers, community and faith-based organizations, and the general public. Visit the CDC COVID-19 webpage for more information.

POMA will continue monitoring COVID-19 and provide updates and recommendations from PA-DOH, the CDC, the WHO and local health agencies. POMA's COVID-19 webpage and social media channels will be updated as information is shared from these organizations.

If you have any comments or questions for POMA, please email us at [email protected]

Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association | 1330 Eisenhower Boulevard, Harrisburg, PA 17111
(717) 939-9318 |