June 8, 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

PA DOH Releases Monthly Update for COVID-19 Trend Data

Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Health provided a summary of COVID-19 information for May 2022.  The summary reflects the following trends from the past month:

  • Following CDC approval of second doses, there was a large increase in total vaccinations in May, including 72,266 additional doses, 208,908 second additional doses and 10,920 pediatric doses.
  • A total of 111,011 new COVID-19 cases were reported in May
  • The total number of people currently hospitalized with COVID-19 on June 1 was two times as high as it was on May 1.

DOH continues to provide extensive data on a weekly basis via the COVID-19 dashboard and the vaccine dashboard.  The CDC's community level tracker website provides a way to check community levels county by county with data being updated weekly.

Moderna Data Shows Updated Booster Protects Against Omicron

Today, Moderna reported that preliminary study results show people its updated COVID-19 booster offers protection against the omicron variant.  Today's COVID-19 vaccines are all based on the original version of the virus but the virus continues to mutate rapidly.  While the data hasn't undergone scientific review, Moderna plans to continue collecting data and is preparing if regulators in the US or abroad order a change for the fall season.

The FDA has set a meeting in late June for its scientific advisers to evaluate data of potential new vaccine formulas.  Pfizer is also studying a combination shot with some data expected later this month.

FDA Advisory Committee Recommends New COVID-19 Vaccine

Yesterday, the FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted unanimously to recommend authorizing the Novavax two-dose COVID-19 vaccine for adults ages 18 and older.  The clinical trial data reports that the vaccine is 90% effective in preventing illness from COVID and 100% effective at preventing severe illness, though this was before the omicron variant became dominant in the US.  However, the data meets the same standard used to authorize Pfizer and Moderna's vaccines in December 2020.  The most common side effects were injection site pain, fatigue, headache and muscle pain, as well as a risk of heart inflammation as is the case with Pfizer and Moderna's vaccines.  The vaccine can be stored at refrigerator temperatures.

The technology behind the vaccine is based on protein technology which has been used for decades in vaccines against hepatitis B and HPV.  The Novavax vaccine may appeal to people who prefer a shot that is not based on mRNA technology used by Pfizer and Moderna.

The FDA could vote on the vaccine as early as this week.  The CDC would still need to vote on the vaccine before it could be administered to the public.

Read the full FDA committee meeting information 

FDA to Meet June 15th to Review COVID Vaccines for Kids Under 5; CDC Releases Guide to Help Physicians Prepare

The FDA's Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee will meet on June 15 to review COVID-19 vaccine data for American children under the age of 5.  The outside panel of vaccine experts will meet to discuss amending the emergency use authorization of the Moderna mRNA vaccine to include children 6 months through 5 years, and to discuss amending the emergency use authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine to include children aged 6 months through 4 years of age.  The meeting is held in open session and can be accessed here.

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.

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 June 8th, 22,230,123 total doses have been administered, including 3,955,078 first booster doses since August 13, 2021; 553,613 second booster doses since March 29, 2022, and 581,272 pediatric doses (aged 5-11) since November 2, 2021.

There are 8,403,743 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 | www.poma.org