May 11, 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

FDA Limits Use of Janssen (J&J) COVID-19 Vaccine

Last week, the FDA limited the authorized use of the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine to individuals 18 years of age and older for whom other authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccines are not accessible or clinically appropriate, and to individuals 18 years of age and older who elect to receive the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine because they would otherwise not receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

The announcement comes after conducting updated analysis, evaluation and investigation of reported cases on the risk of thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome one to two weeks following administration of the Janssen vaccine.

The Janssen fact sheet for healthcare providers administering the vaccine now reflects the revision of the authorized use of the vaccine and includes a warning statement which summarizes the risk for TTS.

Read the full FDA news release 

COVID-19 Oral Antiviral Medications Now Available at Most Rite Aid Locations

Rite Aid recently announced that 98% of its retail pharmacies across the 17 states it serves now offers FDA-authorized COVID-19 oral antiviral medications, Pfizer’s Paxlovid or Merck’s Molnupiravir, with a prescription from a healthcare provider.

The COVID-19 oral antiviral treatments are available to individuals who test positive and are within five days of symptom onset, and at high risk for severe COVID-19. Paxlovid is available to individuals 12 and older, while Molnupiravir can be prescribed to those 18 and older. According to the FDA, these treatments—which must be prescribed by a physician, nurse practitioner, advanced practice registered nurse or physician’s assistants—are not substitutions for the protection provided by COVID-19 vaccines but can help reduce severe disease and hospitalization. Additionally, these medications cannot be used for pre-exposure or post-exposure prophylaxis for prevention of COVID-19. Most Rite Aid locations will have one or the other oral antiviral medication available.

PA Department of Health Continues to Offer Free COVID-19 Testing

The Department of Health is offering free COVID-19 testing to the public at four locations 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 - Tuesday-Saturday - Direct Link Technologies in Reading, PA
  • Blair County - Monday-Friday - Blair County CBTs in Altoona
  • Clinton County - Tuesday-Saturday - Parsons Union Building in Lock Haven, PA
  • Erie County - Monday-Friday - Edinboro University in Edinboro, PA

In addition, Pennsylvanians can find testing sites in their area on the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Viral Testing Sites locator map.

FDA Sets June Meetings to Review COVID Vaccines for Kids Under 5

The FDA set tentative dates in June to publicly review COVID-19 vaccine data for American children under the age of 5.  The outside panel of vaccine experts will meet on June 8, 21 and 22 to review applications from Moderna and Pfizer.

Last week, Moderna submitted data to the FDA that it hopes will prove its two-dose shots can protect children younger than 6.  Moderna has filed FDA applications for older kids but the FDA has not ruled on them.

Pfizer is expected to soon announce if three of its smaller-dose shots work for young kids after discovering two doses weren't strong enough.

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 May 4th, 19,416,411 total doses have been administered, including 3,391,653 first booster doses since August 13, 2021, 309,681 second booster doses since March 29, 2022, and 577,864 pediatric doses (aged 5-11) since November 2, 2021.

There are 7,393,981 fully vaccinated people in Pennsylvania.

Facts on Vax Resources Now Available

Osteopathic physicians and their practice teams play a key role in preventing COVID-19 infections among patients and communities.  Check out the Facts on Vax website for a variety of educational materials, tools and resources that will help you discuss the importance of COVID-19 prevention with your patients.  

Facts on Vax is a partnership of osteopathic organizations committee to lowering the rates of COVID-19 through prevention - POMA is a member of the coalition.  We are collaborating in partnership to prepare osteopathic physicians to discuss the importance of COVID-19 prevention, including vaccinations, with patients.

Find resources and learn more

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

Previously Published but Relevant Headlines

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 |