News

CDC panel endorses COVID-19 vaccine boosters for all adults

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BY NATHANIEL WEIXEL - 11/19/21 03:21 PM EST

A key outside advisory group to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has endorsed the use of COVID-19 booster shots for all adults, a one-size-fits-all approach designed to simplify eligibility.

If CDC Director Rochelle Walensky signs off on the broader use, as expected, the extra shots will be available immediately to all adults, as long as they are six months past the final dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two months after a Johnson & Johnson dose.

The recommendation from the panel comes just hours after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized both Pfizer and Moderna’s booster shots for everyone over the age of 18.

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Pfizer applied to the FDA earlier this month for an expansion of the emergency authorization for its booster shot to make it available to anyone 18 or older. Moderna announced just this week that it too had asked the FDA to allow its booster to be given to all adults.

Boosters for everyone has always been the Biden administration’s goal, but until now federal health authorities have stopped short of such a policy, and instead recommended boosters for only specific populations — those over age 65, anyone at high risk because of work or where they live, or those with an underlying medical condition.

The primary COVID-19 vaccination continues to provide good protection against severe disease and death, even as effectiveness against milder infection has waned. But cases have been steadily rising across the country, and authorities have said they want to stave off another winter surge.

The current recommendations, while fairly broad, have caused confusion. While people over the age of 65 are most at risk from waning vaccine immunity, fewer than 40 percent of them have received a booster, according to CDC data.

“The current guidelines, though well-intentioned and thoughtful, generate an obstacle to uptake of boosters. In pursuit of precision, they create confusion,” Nirav Shah, president of Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, told the panel.

The panel did not make a distinction in their recommendation between the two types of mRNA vaccines, despite the potential for increased risk of myocarditis — a type of heart inflammation — in young men after receiving Moderna’s vaccine.

CDC officials told the panel it’s too early to draw conclusions on the risk of myocarditis after the third dose of mRNA vaccines, because teens and younger adults haven’t yet been boosted in large enough numbers.

Several other countries have discouraged use of the Moderna vaccine in people younger than 30 because of that risk.

Press Release from Hawaiʻi Public Health Institute (HIPHI)

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Communities RISE Together Partnership to Support Community-Based Organizations in Local COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts in Over 25 States.

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Hawaiʻi Public Health Institute to focus on Education and Equitable Access in Areas of Hawaiʻi that have been hard hit by the pandemic.

Honolulu, HI – In response to inequities in the rate of COVID-19 vaccinations in many communities of color compared to white areas, and with the surge in cases due to the more transmissible Delta variant, Hawaiʻi Public Health Institute (HIPHI) is partnering with Communities RISE Together and local partners Project Vision Hawaiʻi and Kaʻū Rural Health Community Association Inc. (KRHCAI) with a focus on COVID-19 outreach in targeted low-vaccination areas on Oʻahu and Hawaiʻi Island.

Communities RISE Together is an initiative funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services to promote vaccinations in Black, Asian-American/Pacific-Islander, Latinx, Native-American, rural, immigrant/migrant and low-income older adult populations in more than 220 counties in over 25 states and territories* with low vaccination rates. Partners WE in the World, which convenes the Well Being In the Nation (WIN) Network, and the Public Health Institute are coordinating and administering this initiative.

The COVID pandemic has revealed and worsened persistent racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic health inequities, with vastly different rates of COVID cases, vaccination rates, and health and life outcomes in communities of color, and evident in Hawaii’s current surge in cases. The Communities RISE Together initiative aims to address these gaps through trusted messengers who are already on the ground and have deep trust in communities.

Over the six month project, some of the activities supported in Hawaiʻi will include:

  • Partner with community organizations to provide new and critical information regarding COVID-19 to increase awareness and confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Support the coordination of vaccination and testing sites in targeted zip codes including promotion of events and recruitment of volunteers and community leaders.
  • Utilize Hawaiʻi State Department of Health data as guidance to target outreach efforts.
  • Connect residents to community resources to ensure equitable access to information and resources that promote overall health and well-being for all of Hawaii’s people.

In a direct response to COVID-19, HIPHI has made intentional efforts to keep communities safe and informed with rapidly emerging science, including alerting the public when new and crucial information is released. According to Jessica Yamauchi, CEO of HIPHI, “As the impacts of the pandemic evolved over time, tapping into a vast network of connections and expertise was necessary to motivate communities and mobilize resources to hardest hit areas. Collaborating with integral community partners such as Project Vision Hawaiʻi and Kaʻū Rural Health Community Association Inc. will leverage access and resources to residents in hard-to-reach communities.”

For more information on events and volunteer opportunities happening near you or how you can volunteer, please visit these resources:

Other partners in Communities RISE Together include CHROMATIC BLACK, the Center for Popular Democracy, Latino Health Access, the Migrant Clinicians Network, Meals on Wheels America, National Councils on Aging, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, the Public Health Institute’s Center to Advance Community Health and Equity, and WE in the World/WIN Network.

Follow #CommunitiesRISE on social media to see work as it happens across the country. Find out more about Communities RISE Together and or the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services press release on the Communities RISE award.

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*The states and territories are Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Federated States of Micronesia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

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NEWS RELEASE: DOH Authorizes Pfizer Booster Doses, Prioritizes First Shots & Kupuna (24-Sep-2021)

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From: Vanessa Carlson <vcarlson@communityfirsthawaii.org>
To: Vanessa Carlson <vcarlson@communityfirsthawaii.org>
Sent: Friday, September 24, 2021, 01:19:18 PM HST
Subject: FW: NEWS RELEASE: DOH Authorizes Pfizer Booster Doses, Prioritizes First Shots & Kupuna

Aloha All,
Sharing with you today’s press release from the DOH in case you haven’t seen it yet.

Mahalo and have a fantastic Friday!
Vanessa


Attention all DOH employees, the following is provided for your information and sharing. You are encouraged to send out this information widely to all community partners, and others that may be interested in DOH activities. E-mail administrators please distribute. This e-mail address does not reply to inquiries.

  

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

DAVID Y. IGE
GOVERNOR

ELIZABETH A. CHAR, MD
DIRECTOR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 24, 2021                                                                                                   21-137

DOH authorizes Pfizer booster doses,
prioritizes first shots & Kupuna

First priority remains providing access to unvaccinated
individuals 65+, 50-64 with underlying conditions prioritized for booster

HONOLULU – The Hawai‘i Department of Health is issuing prioritization guidelines for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in order to implement the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) recommendations on COVID-19 booster doses.

  1. First and second doses should have priority over any booster doses. The best way to protect Hawai‘i families and communities is to ensure that unvaccinated Hawai‘i residents complete their primary vaccine series.
  2. DOH recommends vaccination providers give priority to individuals age 65 and older and individuals age 50-64 with underlying medical conditions. The CDC’s strongest recommendations were to provide boosters to these groups, as waning immunity in these populations puts them at highest risk for severe illness.
  3. As supply allows, providers should consider booster doses for additional populations recommended by the CDC.

“As the science and the virus evolves, DOH will continue to make evidence-based decisions to ensure those at highest risk for severe illness have access to vaccines,” said Director of Health Dr. Elizabeth Char, FACEP. “We will have enough booster shots for everyone, but please allow those at highest risk for severe illness to receive their shots first. DOH’s first priority will remain encouraging unvaccinated Hawai‘i residents to complete their primary vaccine series.”

Individuals who received their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago and fall into the prioritization guidelines should receive a booster dose. Protection provided by the first two vaccinations continues after the six-month mark. Eligible individuals can get vaccinated any time at least six months after their second Pfizer vaccination. There is no need to rush vaccination sites.

While DOH recommends individuals 65 and older and those 50-64 with underlying conditions be given priority, other groups are also eligible to receive booster shots and should be accommodated as vaccine allocation allows. They are:

  • Individuals age 18-49 with underlying medical conditions, based on individual benefits and risks.
  • Individuals age 18-64 and at high risk for occupational or institutional exposure, based on individual benefits and risks.

Pfizer vaccine recipients unsure if they qualify for a booster should check with their healthcare provider.

These recommendations apply only to those who received the Pfizer vaccine. There are no changes at this time for those who received Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Providing a Pfizer booster dose to those who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine is not authorized or recommended at this time.

Individuals are still considered fully vaccinated 14 days after their second dose. Booster doses provide additional protection, but the primary two-dose series continues to protect vaccinated individuals against severe illness, hospitalization and death.

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COVID-19 Status (from Sep-21-2021)

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210921 Case Count for Week

210921 Data

210921 HMC Data

Alzheimer’s Association – September 2021 Programs

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September is HERE!!!That means it’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s month for Hawai‘i Island! In addition to our Walk, check out the Alzheimer’s Association’s programs going on this month as well as some COVID-19-related resources. Please reach out to me if you have any questions about our care and support programs or the upcoming Walk to End Alzheimer’s. 
Mahalo,

Nic


Online Education Programs and Support Groups

Attached is our team’s schedule of Online Education Programs for this month. These programs are all via Zoom and require registration. We can also bring our programs to specific organizations or groups, so please reach out to me if this is something you may be interested in. We also continue to provide Online Support Groups for caregivers of persons living with Alzheimer’s or other dementia. If you are interested in attending our Hawai‘i Island caregiver group, please let me know.


2021 Walk to End Alzheimer’s

With the safety of our Hawai‘i Island community in mind, our Hilo Walk to End Alzheimer’s committee has decided to make this year’s Walk a “Walk wherever you are” event. We will be displaying a Walk Flower Promise Garden in town and connecting with participants through our social media platforms on September 18There’s still time to join the fight to #ENDALZ by starting or joining a Walk team for ourHawaii Island walkMore information will be out soon, so stay tuned!

COVID-19, Alzheimer’s and Dementia

 I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy as the surges in COVID-19 on Hawai‘i Island continue–especially those of us who are caregivers for loved ones with Alzheimer’s or other dementia. I wanted to remind everyone about the Alzheimer’s Association’s COVID-19, Alzheimer’s and Dementia resource websiteClick here to learn more.
Also, a big mahalo to our partners at Community First Hawai‘i for letting me share a little of my family’s personal caregiving experiences in this pandemic with my 96-year-old Nana who is living with dementia. You can check it out in last Sunday’s Hawaii Tribune Herald.

Nicolas K. Los Baños 
Hawai‘i Island Regional Coordinator | Alzheimer’s Association, Aloha Chapter | direct (phone/text): 808.518.6649 | nklosbanos@alz.org | alz.org/hawaii | Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 Helpline: 800.272.3900

DVAC – Domestic Violence Action Center – September 2021

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See you in September….oh, that would be now! That’s why we are in touch. Too much time passing by, and you may overlook the invitation to light a candle as part of our community wide “Be a Torch for Change” initiative.
Every Wednesday in September, TONIGHT, 8:30 to 9:30 pm, your LIGHT symbolizes your solidarity in support of survivors of domestic violence. #itsgonnatakeallofus
Be a Torch for Change
We are busy at the Domestic Violence Action Center. Domestic Violence Awareness Month follows right on the heels of September…
October is our opportunity to keep the spotlight on the community challenge, the threat to community well being, the risk to safety and hope for adult and children suffering the harm of abuse.
This year’s theme is “e Ho’okanaka,”
which means to be a man of worth,
to mature and see one’s obligations clearly, while behaving appropriately
with others. 500 of these masks will
be distributed in October.
The annual Men’s March Against Violence, which was cancelled ast year, due to coronavirus restriction, is being planned for this year in a different format. We will feature several Living808 segments focused on the month and the imperative for men to live as allies in this work.
DVAC is also in discussion about the design and production of a mural, with art created by Solomon Enos. Stay tuned for more information about that!
City Mill is devoting their Spare Change campaign to DVAC from October 1 – 17. Be sure to shop and support local business, and round up with change, helping to fill up our bank account! 😊
Offsite retreat at Elks Lodge Waikiki
Our management team spent a day in Retreat to reflect on this past year, and vision the way forward, with persistent challenges and many opportunities presenting themselves.
Our staff, in devotion to island families achieved remarkable things in 2020-21, and new dreams, hard work and brilliant ideas for our agency’s unduplicated service to island families will be rolled out.
We are nine (9) months into the celebration of the organization’s 30th Anniversary. Of course we had to pivot, adapt and alter our original plans.
But we have accomplished a variety of things in honor of the collective effort made in service to island families.
  • Breakfast Briefings, Island Voices (featured monthly in the Star Advertiser), Council of Allies featured in videos posted regularly on DVAC’s social media platforms
  • Development and sale of Pegge Hopper designs on merchandise – still available on our website
  • Mahalo to Moms – honoring those who dedicate themselves to the best interests of their children
  • #HawaiiRadDads – to recognize the good fathers we see
  • Sign-waving opportunities to create awareness throughout our community
  • And we still have four more months to go!
DVAC has begun developing some ideas for consideration in the upcoming legislative Session. The system in place, to offer support is lacking in strategic effectiveness. This needs some collective attention, focus and reform. We will have a new section on our website focused on the public policy work – watch for it…
If you or your company would like to sponsor a table,
please click on the link below:
Donate what you can! Please consider making a donation to DVAC today. Each contribution helps us to provide invaluable support and resources to Hawaii’s women and children. We can’t do this without you.
Domestic Violence Action Center
Domestic Violence Action Center | PO Box 3198, Honolulu, HI 96801

Kukui Gram – September 2021

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SMP Hawaii (Senior Medicare Patrol), has published the September edition of Kukui Gram. Read about Grandparent Scams and their calendar of events that are open to the public.

SMP Hawaii’s mission is to help Kupuna PREVENT, DETECT, and REPORT MEDICARE Fraud and Abuse.