Combating the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Week of Oct. 18

MHA Covid-19 update

MHA Covid-19 updateThe MHA continues to keep members apprised of pandemic-related developments affecting hospitals through email updates and the MHA Coronavirus webpage. Important updates are outlined below.

CDC, FDA Approve Moderna and J&J Boosters, Mix and Match Strategy

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Oct. 21 formally endorsed the use of COVID-19 booster shots from Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) for some adults. This comes on the heels of the Oct. 20 approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The actions authorize a Moderna booster for people 65 and older and for all adults who either have underlying conditions or work in settings where they’re more likely to be exposed to the virus. Those people may obtain the Moderna booster, which is half the size of each dose used for initial vaccination, six months after completing the primary vaccine series.

The agencies also recommended all adults who received the J&J single-shot vaccine get a booster at least two months post-immunization. In addition, the agencies agreed that people who are eligible can choose any type of booster, regardless of whether they initially received the Pfizer, Moderna or J&J version. This decision may help individuals who have a higher risk of side effects with a particular brand of vaccine.

Healthcare providers are encouraged to continue monitoring for email updates from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Health Alert Network for details regarding booster dose administration. The MDHHS has also posted updated fact sheets for the vaccines on its website for vaccinating providers.

The MHA continues to promote both factual and anecdotal messaging about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines. The association is also using messaging on flu vaccines, urging people to get vaccinated and practice smart preventive measures to help avoid “twindemic” status and add to the stress on the healthcare system.

Members with vaccine questions may contact Ruthanne Sudderth at the MHA.

MHA Urges Medicaid to Cover Merck COVID-19 Treatment Pill

The MHA submitted comments Oct. 18 to state Medical Services Administration officials, urging them to add molnupiravir, Merck’s new COVID-19 treatment pill, to the Medicaid Health Plan Common Formulary if it is approved by the FDA. The medication has been shown to effectively treat COVID-19 and reduce death and hospitalization. Importantly, it comes in pill form that the patient takes at home, unlike current antibody treatments that must be administered by health and hospital professionals, using time and resources that are currently scarce. The association will keep members apprised of the FDA’s review of the treatment and any action by the state to add it to the Common Formulary.

Additional information on the COVID-19 pandemic is available to members on the MHA Community Site and the MHA COVID-19 webpage. Questions on COVID-19 and infectious disease response strategies may be directed to the MDHHS Community Health Emergency Coordination Center (CHECC).