COVID-19 Updates: FDA Expected to Review Booster Shots, Healthcare Workers in New Jersey Must Vaccinate or Test Often

Male doctor hand wears medial glove holding covid 19 corona virus vaccine vial bottle for injection on medical pharmacy background

At least 203 million cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been diagnosed worldwide as of Monday evening, August 9, 2021, including at least 4.3 million deaths. Healthcare officials in the United States have reported at least 35.8 million positive COVID-19 cases and approximately 617,000 deaths. Source: Johns Hopkins University & Medicine

At least 4.46 billion individual doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered worldwide as of Monday evening, including at least 351 million in the United States. Source: GitHub

Want to learn more about COVID-19? Explore essential learning for nurses.

FDA could soon green-light boosters

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is soon expected to review data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that reportedly support the need for additional vaccine doses for those patients with compromised immune systems.

According to a recent report by the Washington Post, the data could lead the FDA to authorize extra shots for roughly 7 million people, including transplant organ recipients and cancer patients. The boosters could be authorized in the coming days or weeks.

The FDA also recently announced additional actions being taken in its ongoing response effort to the pandemic:

  • Certain lots of the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured at the Emergent facility in Baltimore, MD, are acceptable for use for potential export. The AstraZeneca vaccine is not yet authorized for use in the U.S.
  • The agency has issued a warning letter to Blue Willow Biologics for selling an unapproved product with unproven COVID-19 claims.
  • Dexamethasone sodium phosphate injections have been given an approved abbreviated new drug application. This drug is included in the FDA Drug Shortage Database and in the Temporary Policy for Compounding of Certain Drugs for Hospitalized Patients by Outsourcing Facilities During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.

Polls show more people support more masking

A majority of Americans would support mandates to require masks being worn in public in response to rising cases of the Delta variant.

According to a poll by Yahoo News/YouGov, the survey of 1,552 adults conducted from July 30 to August 2, found that 55% of people support mask regulations. In June, however, 60% of people opposed mask mandates. Additionally, 56% of survey respondents are in favor of a return to wearing masks indoors in regions of high virus transmission.

Other poll findings include:

  • One-third of Americans believe “the worst of the U.S. pandemic is still to come.”
  • 44% of Americans say most of their peers “are underestimating the risks of COVID-19.”
  • Two-thirds of Americans say they are “very” or “somewhat” worried about the Delta variant spreading in the U.S.

Learn more about new and breakthrough diseases in our course, Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Healthcare workers in New Jersey must vaccinate or test frequently

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has signed an order that requires all workers in certain state and private healthcare facilities and high-risk congregate settings to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by September 7 or be subject to testing at a minimum of 1-2 days per week.

According to a press release by the governor’s office, healthcare and high-risk congregate settings for this ruling include:

  • Acute, pediatric, inpatient rehabilitation, and psychiatric hospitals, including specialty hospitals, and ambulatory surgical centers
  • Long-term care facilities, including the state Veterans’ Homes
  • Intermediate-care facilities, including the state developmental centers
  • Residential detox, short-term and long-term residential substance abuse disorder treatment facilities
  • Clinic-based settings such as ambulatory care, urgent care, dialysis centers, Federally Qualified Health Centers, family-planning sites, and opioid treatment programs
  • Community-based healthcare settings including Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, and pediatric and adult medical day care programs
  • Licensed home health agencies and registered healthcare service firms
  • State and county correctional facilities
  • Secure-care facilities operated by the Juvenile Justice Commission
  • Licensed community residences for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and traumatic brain injury
  • Licensed community residences for adults with mental illness; and
  • Certified day programs

Workers are defined as:

  • Full- and part-time employees
  • Contractors
  • Other individuals working in the covered setting, including individuals providing operational, custodial, or administrative support

This order will not impact a setting’s ability to impose more stringent vaccination or testing requirements on workers, including any requirement for more frequent testing, for testing of both vaccinated and unvaccinated staff, and for mandatory vaccinations without a testing alternative, according to the governor’s office.

Unlock unlimited CE with the Elite Nursing Passport.

About The Author