October 27, 2022
SPANISH / PORTUGUESE
Rhode Island COVID-19 Partner Update
CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices Votes to Add COVID-19 to Childhood and Adult Immunization Schedule
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) voted to add COVID-19 to their schedule of routinely recommended vaccines for children (and adults). ACIP makes recommendations that help healthcare providers and policy makers provide evidence-based care. However, there is no new vaccine requirement, either at the state or federal level.
Like the CDC, we continue to urge full COVID-19 vaccination for all children who are eligible. However, there is no discussion right now of amending Rhode Island’s school immunization schedule to include COVID-19 vaccine.
CDC press release: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2022/s1020-immunization-vote.html
Novavax Receives Authorization for Use as Booster Dose
Novavax’s monovalent COVID-19 vaccine is now available for use as a booster dose for people age 18 or older. It is only recommended for people who cannot or will not get an mRNA (Pfizer or Moderna) bivalent booster.
Last week, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine to be used as a booster dose. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a statement allowing the use of the Novavax booster by people who cannot or will not get the updated, mRNA bivalent boosters.
“Bivalent” means that these boosters protect against two strains of COVID-19—the original virus that causes COVID-19 and a strain of the Omicron variant. Novavax is a monovalent booster, meaning it is designed to protect against one strain.
There are some people who may not be able to get mRNA vaccines because of allergies or a lack of availability in their area. Sometimes, the protection offered by a vaccine decreases over time. Booster doses are doses of vaccine that increase your protection. Getting a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine and staying up to date with your vaccines is the best way to stay protected against COVID-19. The Novavax booster provides an option for people who might not otherwise get a booster dose.
FDA and CDC recommend that people age 18 or older who got their primary vaccine series and who cannot or will not get an mRNA bivalent booster should get a Novavax booster at least six months after their last dose.
CDC Media Statement: https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2022/s1019-novavax.html
Getting Your Flu Shot? Get a COVID-19 Booster, too!
Flu season is here! Flu shots are important for everyone older than six months. They are especially important for certain people, including older adults, younger children, healthcare workers, pregnant women, people with a weakened immune system, and people with chronic medical conditions like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and asthma.
If you are going to your doctor or to a pharmacy to get your flu shot, save yourself a trip and ask about getting a COVID-19 booster, too. You can get COVID-19 vaccines (including booster doses) at the same time as most other vaccines, including the flu shot.
Find flu clinics in Rhode Island at: https://health.ri.gov/flu/
Q: I read that mRNA vaccines and boosters are not effective and are not recommended in some states. Is that true?
A: COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at preventing serious illness and death from COVID-19. Serious side effects after vaccination are rare. The benefits of getting vaccinated are more than the risks of experiencing a serious side effect.
There have been reports of myocarditis and pericarditis (swelling of heart muscles) among adolescent and young adult males after receiving an mRNA COVID-19 vaccination. These reports have been rare. Most patients who had myocarditis or pericarditis and who received health care felt better quickly. Further, studies suggest that the risk of heart complications, like myocarditis and pericarditis, is higher after COVID-19 infection than it is after COVID-19 vaccination with mRNA vaccines. People who are concerned about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines should talk to their healthcare providers. Males between the ages of 12 and 39 may consider waiting up to eight weeks between their first and second dose of mRNA vaccine to decrease risk of a heart complication.
Experts around the world continue to recommend these mRNA vaccines because they have published and reviewed research to show that they are safe, effective, and that the benefits outweigh the risks.
You can also find flu and COVID-19 vaccines near you at: Vaccines.Gov
Substance Use and Overdose Prevention Update
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is October 29 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Prescription medicines, like opioids and antibiotics, should never be shared. If you have any unused prescriptions around the house, it’s important to dispose of them safely. You can drop off any medicines at a local drug take back location near you. Check out this listing of locations: bit.ly/3ENnDqN
Governor’s Task Force Newsletter for October
The Governor’s Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force Newsletter for October includes meeting highlights, the latest report on alcohol-related overdose deaths, information from CDC on para-fluorafentanyl, a reminder about Prescription Drug Take Back Day, an invitation to a CODE workshop for municipal leaders, and other news. Read the newsletter and please share across your networks. https://bit.ly/3erGnkU
testRI Findings Reveal Fentanyl in Xylazine
Recent testRI samples revealed fentanyl, xylazine, and fentanyl analogs in five drug samples sold as “Percocet” pills. All five samples contained both fentanyl and xylazine. RIDOH issued a Provider Advisory about these findings on Monday, October 24.
RI is a two-year research study that looks at what is in the local drug supply in Rhode Island and its impacts on people who use drugs in Rhode Island communities. The study is a partnership between the Rhode Island Department of Health and the Brown University School of Public Health.
To find out what is in the local drug supply, the research team tests used equipment, like pipes and syringes, that are collected from the community or donated by individuals and local organizations. Samples are tested and data is posted to Rhode Island’s overdose information website and data dashboard, PreventOverdoseRI.org.
Public Health Alert: Increased Drug Overdose Activity in Cranston, Warwick, West Warwick, and Coventry
Today, RIDOH issued a Public Health Alert due to increased opioid overdose activity in Cranston, Warwick, West Warwick, and Coventry (Region 7) during the seven-day period of October 16-October 22, 2022. In addition, Region 3 (Cumberland, Lincoln, Smithfield, North Smithfield) reached pre-established opioid overdose threshold activity for ED visits. Read the full Alert here: https://bit.ly/3svTXaj