ONR Vaccine Policy Changes

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By now you have received information about recent changes to ONRs vaccination policy. All ONR employees are expected to get the COVID vaccination as soon as it is made available to them. We require that all employees are in compliance by 3/31/21. If you feel that you qualify for a medical waiver, please discuss with your EDO. If you need a letter identifying you as an essential worker, please discuss with your EDO.

Don’t hesitate to schedule a meeting with me via https://calendly.com/jwilkins-onr if you want to discuss anything related to the vaccination policy.

A Third Vaccine Approved

Vaccination of patients in hospital against covid-19 pandemic. Hands of african american doctor in protective gloves puts band aid to inculcate site to patient in clinic, close up, free space, cropped

Over the weekend, the FDA approved the Johnson and Johnson (J&J) vaccine as the third emergency use authorized (EUA) vaccine. This vaccine differs from the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in several ways, including it being a single-dose vaccine and requiring normal refrigeration. Additionally, it is not a mRNA vaccine. Instead, the J&J vaccine uses a weakened cold virus to carry instructions into the body to trigger the immune response. This is a more traditional method developed a decade ago and used for an ebola vaccine. It is unclear at this point how soon this vaccine will be available to healthcare workers.

Article: Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine is safe and effective, FDA analysis finds, CNN Health.

Here is an article comparing the three vaccines: Comparing the Covid-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson, STATNews.

CDC Changes

A few weeks ago, the CDC made some changes to their Clinical Considerations for Use of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.

The full changes can be found here: Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Authorized in the United States, CDC.

For our purposes, here is a summary of relevant changes:

  • Persons with a known (diagnosed) allergy to PEG or polysorbate, an mRNA vaccine component, have a contraindication to vaccination. Persons with a reaction to a vaccine or injectable therapy that contains multiple components, one of which is PEG, or polysorbate, and it is unknown which component elicited the immediate allergic reaction have a precaution to vaccination, but it is not contraindicated.
  • For individuals who have a local, injection site reaction to the first dose, this reaction is neither a contraindication or precaution to the second dose.
  • TB testing can be done before or at the same time as mRNA COVID-19 vaccination, or otherwise delayed for ≥4 weeks after the completion of mRNA COVID-19 vaccination
  • Vaccination of persons with known current SARS-CoV-2 infection should be deferred until the person has recovered from the acute illness (if the person had symptoms) and criteria have been met for them to discontinue isolation. This recommendation applies to persons who experience SARS-CoV-2 infection before receiving any vaccine doses as well as those who experience SARS-CoV-2 infection after the first dose but before receipt of the second dose.
  • Persons with autoimmune conditions who have no contraindications to vaccination may receive an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. 
  • Vaccinated persons with an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are not required to quarantine if they meet all of the following criteria:
    • Are fully vaccinated (i.e., ≥2 weeks following receipt of the second dose in a 2-dose series, or ≥2 weeks following receipt of one dose of a single-dose vaccine)
    • Are within 3 months following receipt of the last dose in the series
    • Have remained asymptomatic since the current COVID-19 exposure

 Persons who do not meet all 3 of the above criteria should continue to follow current quarantine guidance after exposure.