April 13, 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

CDC and FDA Recommends Additional Boosters for Certain Individuals

On March 29, the Food and Drug Administration authorized a second COVID-19 booster for people 50 years and older who received either the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines four months after their last dose.  They also authorized second boosters for people with certain immunocompromising conditions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revised its COVID-19 recommendations to match the updated FDA authorization.  The CDC also said that people who received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson primary series and had received a J&J booster at least four months ago could get a second booster with one of the mRNA shots.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said another booster "is especially important for those 65 and older and those 50 and older with underlying medical conditions that increase their risk for severe disease from COVID-19."  Peter Marks, director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research said, "Current evidence suggests some waning of protection over time against serious outcomes from COVID-19 in older and immunocompromised individuals."

Click here to read the CDC press release.

Philadelphia Restores Indoor Mask Mandate

On Monday, Philadelphia announced that it is reinstating its indoor mask mandates effective April 18, 2022 after reporting a sharp increase in COVID infections.  Confirmed COVID-19 cases have risen more than 50% in 10 days.  Health officials believe the recent spike is being driven by the BA.2 subvariant of omicron.

Under city guidelines, masks will be required in all indoor public spaces, unless the business has chosen to require proof of vaccination instead of masks.  This includes schools, childcare settings, businesses, restaurants and government buildings.

Read the full press release here.

PA. Department of Health Offers Free COVID-19 Testing Sites

Today, the Department of Health announced the locations of five free COVID-19 testing sites that will open to the public across the state.  Testing sites are open to anyone who feels they need a test.  Registration will be completed on-site.  Below are the current testing locations:

  • Berks County - Direct Link Technologies in Reading, PA
  • Centre County - County Recycling and Refuse Authority/Interpretive Center in Bellefonte, PA
  • Clinton County - Parsons Union Building in Lock Haven, PA
  • Erie County - Edinboro University in Edinboro, PA
  • Luzerne County - Hazleton Integration Project in Hazleton, PA
In addition, Pennsylvanians can find testing sites in their area on the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Viral Testing Sites locator map.

CMS Starts Phasing Out Declaration Waivers

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is taking steps to phase out some temporary emergency declaration waivers while continuing to protect nursing home residents' health and safety.  The waivers were designed to provide facilities with the flexibilities needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.  In certain cases, these flexibilities suspended requirements in order to address acute and extraordinary circumstances.

Click here to read the full press release and the Quality, Safety and Oversight Memo.

Pennsylvania's COVID-19 Vaccine Update

Pennsylvania is currently administering the Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine, the Spikevax (Moderna) 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 April 13th, 18,960,780 total doses have been administered, including 3,339,849 booster doses since August 13, 2021 and 575,140 pediatric doses (aged 5-11) since November 2, 2021.

There are 7,342,435 fully vaccinated people in Pennsylvania.

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!

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.

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