Kaiser Health News (October 8)
Five New York state and local government agencies agreed to fix covid-19 vaccine websites to make them accessible for blind users following a Department of Justice investigation spurred by a KHN story. New York State’s Department of Health, the City of New York’s Department of Health, New York City Health and Hospitals Corp., Nassau County and Suffolk County entered into written agreements with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, saying they have corrected issues that prevent blind or visually impaired users from accessing forms or navigating vaccine websites. In the agreements announced Tuesday, they pledged to maintain accessibility on those sites.
USA Today (October 7)
Two new studies show the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine provided diminished protection over time against coronavirus infection, although one of them presented strong evidence the shots continue to offer powerful protection against severe COVID, hospitalization and death. The studies, conducted in Israel and Qatar, were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Both concluded that vaccine protection diminishes the most for people age 65 and older as well as the immunocompromised, supporting the Biden administration's moves to prioritize those groups for booster shots.
Governments, Employers Using COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates In Bid To Keep Disease Rates On Downward Trend.
The AP (10/6, Seewer) reports government leaders and employers nationwide are using COVID-19 vaccine mandates in an effort to secure gains made against a persistent summer surge in COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations, and deaths, all of which now are on a downward trend. Health officials speculate “the numbers are falling as more” people are “getting vaccinated and new requirements for the shot are being put in place by government and private employers,” and because of increased natural immunity.
California COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate Extends To Aides For People With Disabilities.
Kaiser Health News (10/6, Fortiér) reports Californians “who work directly with people with disabilities are now” required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. They have until November 30 to complete the vaccination process. Previous health orders only included “people working in licensed congregate settings like nursing homes.”
HHS Study Indicates COVID-19 Vaccines May Have Prevented 39K Deaths Among Medicare Beneficiaries From January To May.
The New York Daily News (10/6, Schladebeck) reports COVID-19 vaccines “likely prevented the hospitalizations and deaths of tens of thousands of older and more vulnerable American residents in the last five months, according to a new study from the Department of Health and Human Services.” The analysis, “released on Tuesday, used individual Medicare claims and county-level vaccination rates to estimate the net reduction in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths among the 62.7 million Medicare beneficiaries across the country.” Data indicate “vaccinations fended off an estimated 265,000 infections, 107,000 hospitalizations and 39,000 deaths between January and May.” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said, “This report reaffirms what we hear routinely from states: COVID-19 vaccines save lives, prevent hospitalizations and reduce infection.”
Patient Engagement HIT (October 4)—ACL mentioned as receiving funding from CDC to address
Individuals with disability said they experience COVID-19 vaccine care access barriers both related to online appointment scheduling and care site navigation.
Many Philadelphia Home Healthcare Aides Unlikely To Receive COVID-19 Vaccine By October 15 Deadline.
The Philadelphia Inquirer (10/1, Laughlin) reported, “Thousands of Philadelphia’s home health care aides remain unvaccinated, making it unlikely many in the industry will get shots in time to meet the city’s Oct. 15 [COVID-19] vaccination mandate for health care workers.” Due to the low numbers, the industry asked the Philadelphia Department of Public Health for an extension. According to spokesperson James Garrow, “it’s a possibility.” However, “he questioned whether more time would make a difference.”