February 9, 2022

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

Pfizer Asks FDA to Allow COVID-19 Vaccine for Kids Under 5

On February 1, Pfizer asked the U.S. to authorize extra-low doses of its COVID-19 vaccine for children under 5, potentially opening the way for this age group to start receiving shots as early as March.

An open question is how many shots those children will need. Two of the extra-low doses turned out to be strong enough for babies but not for preschoolers in early testing. Pfizer now is testing a third shot, data that is expected in late March.

The FDA said it will convene a panel of independent researchers and physicians in mid-February to help review the Pfizer data. The agency isn’t required to follow their advice, but the input is a key step in publicly vetting vaccine safety and effectiveness. The FDA’s ultimate decision could come within the month but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has to sign off.

FDA Approves Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine

On January 31, 2022, the FDA approved Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 18 years of age and older.  The approved vaccine will be marketed as Spikevax.

The approval of Spikevax is based on the FDA's evaluation and analysis of follow-up safety and effectiveness data from the ongoing randomized, placebo-controlled, blinded clinical trial that supported the December 2020 EUA for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Read the full FDA press release here 

Federal Government Offers Free COVID-19 Tests and N-95 Masks

The Biden administration recently announced the rollout of a website where households can order four free at-home COVID-19 tests in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19.

Additionally, they announced they would be distributing 400 million high-quality N-95 face masks to Americans in the coming weeks. The White House said N95 masks will be available for the public to pick up at tens of thousands of locations such as many pharmacies and other sites that offer COVID-19 vaccines.

The masks will come from the Strategic National Stockpile, the country’s emergency reserve of medical supplies. For much of 2020, the stockpile faced major shortages of personal protective equipment, but in recent months, N95s have become more widely available.

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 February 9th, 18,391,555 total doses have been administered, including 50,215 booster doses and 16,067 pediatric doses.

There are 7,160,221 fully vaccinated people in Pennsylvania. According to the CDC, as of February 7th, 75.9% of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older are fully vaccinated. 

CMS Updates

New updates on program guidance and information about CMS's response to COVID-19.

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 | www.poma.org