COVID-19 Update
September 29, 2021
Pfizer Booster Shot Eligibility
Last week, the federal government took action to address Pfizer-BioNTech's request for approval of COVID-19 booster dose administered at least 6 months after completion of the primary series. The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control both issued recommendations on Pfizer Covid-19 booster dose eligibility. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS) published a handy summary of the recommendations
It is noteworthy that the CDC included that "occupations at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission include front line essential workers and health care workers as previously detailed by the CDC."
These occupations include:
  • First responders (healthcare workers, firefighters, police, congregate care staff)
  • Education staff (teachers, support staff, daycare workers)

New York State has also revised their COVID-19 vaccine scheduler to allow for scheduling of the COVID-19 Pfizer booster dose. The "Am I Eligible Tool" should be used when scheduling people supported or communicating the process to employees. The New York State Department of Health also published a revision to their COVID-19 Immunization Screening and Consent Form in response to the approval of the booster.

More information on booster eligibility, scheduling, safety and efficacy can be found here.
OPWDD FAQ on Mandatory Face Coverings
OPWDD published an FAQ document in response to questions received about the recently published 633.26 “Mandatory Face Coverings” regulations. The fourth bullet point will be of greatest interest to providers of residential services, as this section addresses the circumstances in which a person supported should be wearing a face covering while at home.

The FAQ document does address several of the questions we provide to OPWDD on behalf of Chapters, and affords greater clarity than was previously provided in OPWDD’s Post State of Emergency COVID-19 Guidance.

The ability to social distance remains a key factor in determining if face coverings are required within any setting, as does the current community transmission rate. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides data on community transmission rate here. Chapters should periodically monitor this data to determine what local circumstances exist and, in turn, the local face covering requirements.

The CDC’s current guide to masks can be found here.

Governor Reports Rising Vaccination Rates Among Health Care Staff
Governor Kathy Hochul's office announced today that health care staff vaccination rates continue to rise throughout New York state, according to the latest data reported by health care facilities to the Department of Health. This new information comes as the vaccination mandate for health care staff in hospitals and nursing homes is now in effect. The full announcement and summary data can be found here.

CDC Releases Health Advisory on Vaccination for Pregnant People
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a health advisory today recommending urgent action to increase COVID-19 vaccination among people who are pregnant, recently pregnant, or might become pregnant.

Pregnant and recently pregnant people with COVID-19 are at increased risk for severe illness when compared with non-pregnant people, yet uptake of COVID-19 vaccination by pregnant people has been lower than that of non-pregnant people. Risk of pregnancy complications is also elevated following COVID-19 infection. The CDC's advisory came out following evolving data on the risk of COVID-19 and the safety of the vaccine for pregnant people.

This and all related updates will be cataloged on The Arc New York COVID-19 Resource Page for future reference. Please contact us if you have questions regarding any of this information.
CONTACT: Josh Christiana, Director for Quality, Compliance & Chapter Relations
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