MarkeTouch COVID-19 Clinical and Operations Pharmacy Newsletter (June 10)

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Yale Medicine Report Looks at How Being Vaccinated May Help Long COVID Symptoms

Being vaccinated against COVID-19 may have additional benefits besides protecting you, your loved ones and your community from the virus.  Physicians and researchers at Yale Medicine are looking at a surprising revelation.  The COVID-19 vaccines appear to be providing some relief for some “long COVID” patients. 

“Long COVID” (or long-haul COVID) is when COVID-19 symptoms persist for weeks or even months. Long COVID symptoms may include shortness of breath, gastrointestinal problems, issues with memory and sleep problems, and in the most severe cases, organ damage.

What the researchers are learning is that up to 40% of Long COVID patients who get the vaccine have reported improvements to their symptoms. 

Currently, doctors still don’t know much about what causes long-term COVID-19 symptoms.  The CDC reports that older people and those with compromised immune systems are more likely to be affected by Long COVID, it has also been seen in people who had mild cases and never were hospitalized. There are multiple studies currently underway that are looking at the reasons why people continue to have post-COVID symptoms.  One theory is that it may be the result of residual infection or an autoimmune reaction. 

There are many questions still to be answered about the reported Long COVID improvements seen with the vaccines, however, researchers recommend that Long COVID patients get vaccinated.  The vaccines will protect then from reinfection and it may make them feel better.  

Read the full story from Yale Medicine here. #sleeveup

Rounding Second – Combating Vaccine Hesitancy

50% of the U.S. vaccine eligible population is now fully vaccinated (see stats below).  We are now rounding second base and heading towards herd immunity.  Barriers to herd immunity, in many situations do not include vaccine supply, it is the reluctance of some patients to get vaccinated.

Experts tell us that vaccine hesitancy is a delay in deciding whether or not to accept a vaccine. These are not people in the ‘anti-vaxxer’ community.  Anti-vaxxers generally oppose all vaccines by rejecting scientific information, disregarding verifiable experiences of those who have been vaccinated, or believe unsupported stories about the vaccine.  Right now, we can move the needle towards herd immunity by focusing on those who are open to being vaccinated but are taking a “wait and see” approach. There are many reasons why a patient may be hesitant including; concerns about side effects, fear that the vaccine may cause the disease or distrust of the medical establishment. As healthcare providers, positive vaccine communication is one of several starting places that may contribute to increased vaccine confidence. People look to their health care professionals for information when deciding whether and when to get a vaccine.  Pharmacists are well trained on how to use motivational interviewing to increase medication adherence, applying this technique to COVID-19 vaccinations is likely to help.

Also, consider how you are currently utilizing data and technology to identify and reach patients who have not been vaccinated or  those who have not completed a needed second dose?

There are many helpful resources to assist with your strategy to reduce vaccine hesitancy, below is one program from the CDC.

Vaccine Updates

Pfizer-BioNTech – Pfizer vaccine has announced it’s beginning the next phase of studying its vaccine safety on kids ages 5 to 11 years old

Moderna – Moderna’s CEO said its COVID-19 vaccine will likely be available to children as young as five by the early fall.  It also stated that it is testing its vaccine on children as young as six months.

Vaccine Tracker

According to the CDC, as of 6/8/2021, 372 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been delivered. 304 million doses of vaccine have been administered. This accounts for the following percentages of fully vaccinated people in the U.S.:

  • Total population = 42.3% 
  • 12+ years = 50.1%
  • 18+ years = 53.1% 
  • 65+ years = 75.6% 

Scruples and Drams

News and Notes from Around Pharmacy

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease has enrolled patients in a universal influenza vaccine clinical trial that would provide long lasting immunity for multiple strains of influenza in a single formulation that targets the “stem” of the influenza viruses.  This vaccine would eliminate the need for annual reformulation and could potentially prevent a future influenza pandemic.  

More than 1 million New Yorkers have downloaded the state’s vaccine passport, Excelsior Pass. Excelsior Pass provides secure, digital proof of COVID vaccination or negative test results. Other state governors, including Florida, Texas and South Carolina, have signed executive orders that prevent vaccine passports entirely or from businesses requiring vaccine passports. California has stated that they will not create a vaccine passport, but will allow large events to request proof of COVID vaccination or test.

Have You Checked Out Lapis Lazuli, MarkeTouch’s New Blog?

First of all, this blog is for you, it is a place where you can find expertise, comments and deep-dives from the MarkeTouch team and the occasional guest blogger. We will try to keep our posts relatively short, but sometimes we may not be able to resist writing a bit longer read, but only when the topic clearly deserves it.

What we do promise, is that we will keep the content relevant, timely, related to what is going on in the world of pharmacy and healthcare, and it will likely contain an opinion or two or three…

Please do not hesitate to let us know when you find a blog post interesting or if you have your own take or a question.  We look forward to hearing from you.  You can view and comment using our LinkedIn page.

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