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Wasted COVID-19 vaccine doses exceed 50% for some Erie County providers

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UPMC Hamot and Albion Pharmacy wasted almost the same number of COVID-19 vaccine doses. Hamot disposed of 384 unused doses while Albion Pharmacy disposed of 376 doses.

The difference is that Hamot received 66,105 doses of vaccine, which is only 0.6% of its vaccine wasted, while Albion Pharmacy received 550 doses of vaccine, of which 68.4% was wasted.

“When we first ordered the vaccine, the only way to order it was to get 450 doses from Pfizer,” said Megan Dreher, manager of Albion Pharmacy. “We didn’t have any special refrigeration to store it, so the vaccine was only good for six weeks. There just wasn’t much demand. We even tried to get to schools.”

COVID-19 vaccine waste was a major issue earlier this year when demand was high and the vaccine was in short supply. Hamot and other providers have taken exceptional measures to use each dose, including driving to people’s homes after a vaccine clinic closed for the day to give extra doses.

Now there are enough vaccines and the demand has decreased. Still, vaccine providers don’t want to waste doses.

“I continue to believe that vaccine waste is a big deal,” said Melissa Lyon, director of the Erie County’s Department of Health. “This is a very powerful vaccine and we don’t even want to waste a single dose.”

More:COVID-19 vaccine required for Penn State Behrend faculty, staff until December 8th

The county health department disposed of 4,192 of its doses – 14.4% of the 29,060 received – without administering them. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, this is the highest number of wasted doses of any vaccine supplier in Erie County.

A total of 1,414 of these doses were spoiled, while a further 2,771 doses were not administered after opening the vial. Other ways to waste doses are if the vial is broken or if the vaccine is drawn but not given within a period of time, usually two to 12 hours, depending on the type of vaccine.

“One thing that happened was when the state ordered walk-ins to be accepted in vaccination clinics,” Lyon said. “That took control out of you to avoid any waste. If someone wanted a dose, you had to open a vial (with six or ten doses), even if no one else got a syringe. “

More:Erie Hospitals See More Breakthrough COVID-19 Patients, With Nearly 30% Fully Vaccinated

Officials from Adagio Health, a Pittsburgh-based health organization whose clinics primarily serve women and low-income residents, offered a similar explanation for the high percentage of wasted vaccine doses in their Erie County offices.

Its Erie and Edinboro offices disposed of 1,695, or 59.2%, of their combined 2,860 cans.

“When we completed our training with the state health department about the vaccine, they emphasized the importance of putting doses in people’s arms,” ​​said Natalie Crouse, senior director of clinical operations at Adagio Health. “Vaccinating one person and having to dispose of the other five doses in one vial is better than leaving the vial in the refrigerator and letting all six doses expire.”

Larger vaccine providers have wasted little vaccine

Other providers have been able to staff clinics and complete walk-in appointments without wasting a lot of vaccine.

Saint Vincent has set up remote clinics in addition to providing COVID-19 vaccines in the hospital and recently in its doctor’s offices and emergency centers. It wasted 894, or 1.3% of its 70,205 doses.

“Remember, some of those doses weren’t actually wasted,” said Steve Henderson, director of Saint Vincent Pharmacy. “If you look at the ‘other’ category of wasted cans, it includes inexplicable ones. The Food & Drug Administration approved six doses from each Pfizer vial, but none of them contain six doses, so you had to report one as unaccountable. “

Hamot has kept the percentage of doses wasted low, in part because it has the vast majority of its vaccination clinics in one location – the UPMC Health Plan Operations Center, 380 E. Bayfront Parkway.

“But we have held remote clinics and have been very vigilant from the start,” said Jason Chenault, Hamot’s director of emergency, hospital and critical care services. “We continue to focus precisely on the dosages and how many are planned. When we have additional doses, we reach out to the appropriate people to administer them.”

Here’s a look at the number and percentage of wasted vaccine doses from Erie County vendors who disposed of at least 200 doses without administering them:

  • Albion Pharmacy – 376 doses wasted, 68.4% of all doses received
  • Adagio Health, Erie, and Edinboro offices – 1,695, 59.2%
  • Erie County Jail – 269, 22.8%
  • Millcreek Manor Pharmacy – 1,601, 19.4%
  • Erie County Department of Health – 4,192, 14.4%
  • Millcreek Community Hospital – 1,450, 13.7%
  • St. Vincent Hospital – 894, 1.3%
  • UPMC Hamot – 384, 0.6%

Nationwide, vaccine providers wasted 0.28% of their doses, according to the state health ministry.

One way to avoid waste in the future is for vaccine manufacturers to sell syringes filled with a single dose of the vaccine, Lyon said.

“It’s more expensive to make, but it would reduce waste,” said Lyon.

Contact David Bruce at dbruce@timesnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ETNBruce.

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Pandemic

Judge blocks U.S. COVID-19 vaccine rule for health workers in 10 states

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Nov. 29 (Reuters) – A federal judge on Monday blocked a Biden government vaccine request in 10 states, ruling that the agency that made the rule requiring healthcare workers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus was likely theirs Has exceeded powers.

The St. Louis District Judge Matthew Schelp’s ruling prevents the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from enforcing their medical personnel vaccination mandate until the court can hear legal challenges from the 10 states.

CMS said in a statement that it was reviewing the ruling, adding that unvaccinated health workers pose a threat to patient safety.

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The ruling marks the second legal setback for President Joe Biden, who has focused on vaccines to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, a point he emphasized on Monday amid concerns over the spread of the new variant of COVID-19 Omicron . Continue reading

A federal appeals court in New Orleans blocked a comprehensive workplace mandate earlier this month requiring companies with at least 100 employees to vaccinate or test their employees weekly. Continue reading

Republican attorneys general sued the government in early November over the CMS rule and tried to block the request on the grounds that it would worsen health staffing shortages.

Schelp, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, said CMS underestimated the “overwhelming” cost of its mandate and, by refusing to comment publicly on the rule, the agency fueled vaccine reluctance the rule is designed to counter.

Schelp also said the CMS rule changed the balance of power between the federal and state governments.

“Congress has not given clear authority to CMS to issue this politically and economically large, federalism-changing, and cross-border mandate that the Supreme Court precedent requires,” he wrote.

Schelp’s verdict was in the 10 states pending: Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas, Kansas, Iowa, Wyoming, Alaska, South Dakota, North Dakota, and New Hampshire.

On November 4th, CMS issued the preliminary final rule, which includes over 10 million people and applies to approximately 76,000 healthcare providers, including hospitals, nursing homes and dialysis centers.

The regulation requires healthcare facilities that all employees, volunteers, and contractors receive an initial dose of vaccine by December 6th and be fully vaccinated by January 4th. Providers who fail to comply could lose access to Medicare and Medicaid funds.

Medicare serves people 65 and over and the disabled. Medicaid serves the poor.

In addition to the CMS rule and workplace vaccine requirement, the Biden government has placed coronavirus vaccine regulations on government contractors, military personnel and federal employees, all of which will be challenged in court.

Courts have upheld mandates from private employers and state governments, which has helped increase COVID-19 vaccination rates in the United States.

On Wednesday, the Biden government announced that a total of 92% of US federal employees have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

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Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware; additional reporting from Ahmed Aboulenein in Washington; Editing by Bill Berkrot

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Andrew Cuomo uses old briefing to push COVID-19 precautions

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Like in the old days!

Disgraced ex-governor. Andrew Cuomo shamelessly tried to resume his role as the man in charge on Sunday, using one of his famous COVID-19 press conferences to remind New Yorkers to remain vigilant amid the proliferation of the Omicron variant.

“Let’s take to heart the lessons we learned in the early, terrible days of this pandemic and not go backwards,” he said in a tweet that included a slide used during one of his pandemic briefings.

The presentation reads: “Lesson to be learned: an outbreak everywhere is an outbreak everywhere.”

“Enter [mask] in public indoor spaces, get yourself vaccinated AND your booster, take care of each other, ”added the former governor, who resigned in August amid scandals. “And be #NYTough.”

During the pandemic, Cuomo delivered daily briefings that revealed the Empire State’s COVID-19 metrics – along with meandering comments and show-off stunts.

In June 2020, Cuomo revealed a $ 415 mountain of COVID-19 that allegedly represented New York’s battle against the virus. Along with Anthony Fauci, the nation’s best infectious disease doctor, he compared the Italian compatriot and himself in a bizarre way to actors Al Pacino and Robert De Niro.

His younger brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, also dialed into the briefings to describe his symptoms of being infected with the virus.

“Let’s take heed of the lessons we learned in the terrible early days of this pandemic,” tweeted former Governor Andrew Cuomo.Twitter / @andrewcuomo

Andrew Cuomo.During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, what was then Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been recognized and recognized for his daily briefings.David Dee Delgado / Getty Images

The governor received a temporary Emmy for “Using Television Effectively During the Pandemic” in November 2020 – but the Academy quickly withdrew the award after Attorney General Letitia James discovered that Cuomo had sexually molested several women.

Cuomo’s tweet on Sunday morning came after former top aide Melissa DeRosa boldly shot her boss’s successor, Governor Kathy Hochul.

“Time to move with the times – cutting tapes and photo ops drinking maskless beer in UES bars won’t do this job,” said the former governor’s secretary on Friday night in a since-deleted tweet, referring to the current CEO’s October visit to the Manhattan Sports Bar.

Andrew Cuomo.Then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo was awarded an Emmy for “Using Television Effectively During the Pandemic” in November 2020, but the award was withdrawn when his harassment allegations came to light.Don Pollard

The scandal-ridden public service announcement of the ex-politician comes after the World Health Organization identified a new variant of COVID-19, Omicron, on Friday.

The discovery prompted Hochul to sign an executive order postponing unnecessary operations in hospitals with limited capacity.

The Omicron variant has yet to be identified in New York state, although two cases of the coronavirus variant were discovered in Canada on Sunday.

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US Covid-19: Omicron variant is a reminder that coronavirus ‘is still in control,’ medical professor says

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“But it’s pretty likely we’ll see cases,” said Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.

“It should redouble our efforts to use the tools we have at our disposal, namely vaccinations and booster vaccinations – and to make sure we get them out to the rest of the world,” Collins told CNN on Sunday.

“It also means that we have to pay attention to the mitigation strategies that people are simply fed up with, such as wearing masks when you are indoors with other people who may not have been vaccinated, and to maintain this social distance,” he said.

“I know America – you are really tired of hearing these things. But we are not fed up with the virus. And it changes itself. ”

Why Omicron “looks different” than other variants

As the coronavirus continues to spread, new mutations – and new variants – are expected.

“We’ve seen a lot of variations in the last five or six months, and most of them haven’t done much. It looks different,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University School of Public Health.

The Omicron variant has an unusually high number of mutations, with more than 30 mutations in the spike protein alone, South African genome scientists said last week. Spike proteins are the structures that a virus uses to enter the cells that it attacks.

And “10 or more” of the mutations are in the receptor binding domain, which “binds to the cells in your nasopharynx and in your lungs,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday opposite NBC.

“In other words, the profile of the mutations strongly suggests that it will have an advantage in communicability,” said the director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases.

When experts looked at other variants, Jha said, it usually took several months for those strains to become dominant – in other words, the most common strain of the virus to spread to an area.

“In South Africa, this has established itself very quickly in the regions where it was found – within days to weeks instead of months,” said Jha.

“Now the number of cases in South Africa is pretty low, so there could be other reasons as well – not just because it’s more easily transferable.”

The new Omicron variant is a pandemic bowel check

Collins said it was not yet clear whether the Omicron variant was more contagious than the Delta variant.

“It certainly shows the signs that it can spread quickly,” he said. “What we don’t know is whether it can compete with Delta.”

It’s also too early to tell if the Omicron variant causes more severe illness, Collins said.

In short, “There is still a lot we don’t know about Omicron,” said epidemiologist and infectious disease expert Dr. Celine Gounder.

“We’re still learning,” said Gounder on Sunday. “As we said very early in the pandemic, pandemics are not about panic. It is about guidelines, protocols and practices. And in this case that means characterizing the virus. “

Do not be surprised by renewed Covid-19 restrictions, says the expert

A growing number of countries have confirmed cases of the Omicron variant. Canada joined that list on Sunday when health officials confirmed two cases in Ottawa, Ontario. The Omicron variant is spreading across EuropeBoth people recently traveled from Nigeria and are in isolation, Canadian health officials said.

If the Omicron variant isn’t available in the US yet, it will be “soon,” said Dr. William Schaffner, professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

“It will go around the world. This is how it looks,” said Schaffner on Saturday.

And that could lead to a return to stricter Covid-19 containment efforts.

“I think we are indeed facing a phase with a lot more masks, a lot more social distancing and more restrictions and vaccination requirements,” said Schaffner.

News of the variant spread as Americans filled airports near pre-pandemic levels for Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday season: The Transportation Security Administration said it screened about 2.3 million people at airports across the country on Wednesday which makes it the busiest day to see security checkpoints since March 2020.

All the more reason to get vaccinated or boosted

About 59% of Americans are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, and about 19% of those fully vaccinated have received a booster dose, according to CDC data. NIH Director: New Variation

As vaccine manufacturers test their vaccinations against the new Omicron variant, health experts said it is important for everyone to get a Covid-19 vaccine or a booster vaccine now.

“The most important thing people can do now to protect themselves is to get vaccinated if you are not vaccinated,” said Gounder. “If it turns out to be an immune defense variant, it may also be beneficial to receive an additional dose or a booster vaccination.”

Fauci gave similar advice: “If there was ever a reason to be vaccinated who were vaccinated and those who weren’t vaccinated, it is now,” he told NBC.

“When you’re six months or more away from your second dose of an mRNA (vaccine) – either the Pfizer or the Moderna – you get a boost. “

Fauci said he believes the current vaccines – and the booster doses in particular – will at least help something against the Omicron variant.

“When you get a boost, your antibody levels go way above the maximum after the second dose,” Fauci told NBC.

“And that’s why, even with variants like Omicron, we feel that when you get boosted, you’re getting antibody levels high enough that you can probably reach at least a certain level – and maybe a lot – Protection from it. “

Moderna said it is testing its Covid-19 vaccine’s ability to neutralize Omicron and data is expected in the coming weeks.

The company said it is also testing a larger dose booster and an Omicron-specific booster in case the current vaccine and booster don’t work well enough against the new variant.

When scientists determine that an Omicron-specific vaccine dose is required, “we think we could have an Omicron-specific vaccine booster available for testing within weeks to maybe two to three months,” said Dr. Paul Burton, Chief Medical Officer of Moderna Sunday.

BioNTech, the German company that has partnered with Pfizer to make a Covid-19 vaccine, is also studying the effects of Omicron on its vaccine. The dates are expected in the coming weeks.

Johnson & Johnson is also testing the effectiveness of its vaccine against Omicron.

Moderna said the Omicron variant could be challenging.

“The combination of mutations presents a significant potential risk of accelerating the decline in natural and vaccine-induced immunity,” the company said on Friday.

But Jha said he doesn’t think the new variant “makes vaccines unusable”.

“I think that’s extremely unlikely,” he said. “The question is, is there a tiny hit to vaccine effectiveness or is there a big hit?”

“A couple of weeks of uncertainty”

With the Omicron variant, the world is in a

Before scientists can say how well the current vaccines against Omicron might work, “we have to go through a few more weeks of uncertainty,” Burton said.

“There are three questions to which we really need answers: How transferable is this variant? How heavy is she? And will the antibodies produced in response to the current vaccines be effective? And we won’t know (answer to) the last question for a couple of weeks, “Burton told CNN on Sunday.

“But what we do know is that the best protection is to get vaccinated. If you stand on the fence when you haven’t been vaccinated, get vaccinated. And now everyone over 18 in this country is entitled to at least one Refresher. So if you are eligible for a boost now, you will get a boost, too, ”he said.

“At least that way, we know you’re getting the first line of critical protection. And then of course there are other, simpler things you can do – hand washing, social distancing, possibly wearing masks.Two together, for now – until we know exactly what’s going on – will be crucial on our line of defense . ”

“The virus is still in control … tighten your seat belts”

With or without the Omicron tribe, the US is still struggling with the Delta variant.

Covid-19 hospital stays in 16 states increased more than 50% in the past week compared to the previous week, according to the U.S. Department of Health.

“I think we just have to remember that the virus is still in control. I don’t care about your Covid fatigue, ”said Schaffner.

“We’re going to have to deal with this very, very seriously. … Tighten your seat belts.”

Contributors to this report are Dakin Andone, John Bonifield, Jacqueline Howard, Virginia Langmaid, Michael Nedelman, Christina Maxouris, and Kaitlan Collins of CNN.

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