COVID-19 Prevention Guidance Gets Another Boost

  • Published
  • 18 August 2021
  • Category
  • News

There are new developments in COVID-19 protection measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that affect U.S. workplaces and all Americans.

CDC

Public health officials announced in a joint statement today that booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be offered to all fully vaccinated adults (over age 18) beginning the week of Sept. 20, subject to the Food and Drug Administration “conducting an independent evaluation and determination of the safety and effectiveness of a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccines, and CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices issuing booster dose recommendations based on a thorough review of the evidence.”

People who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will also likely need an additional shot to prolong effectiveness against coronavirus infection and reduce the severity of COVID-19 symptoms, officials said.

Effective Aug. 13, the CDC recommended that vaccinated adults who are moderately to severely immunocompromised receive a third dose of an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine at least 28 days after their second shot to provide greater resistance to infection.

In addition, the CDC has updated its guidance for COVID-19 prevention in K-12 schools to recommend universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff, students and visitors to K-12 schools, regardless of vaccination status. The CDC’s face mask order requiring masks on public transportation conveyances and inside transportation hubs has not changed.

OSHA

On Aug. 13, OSHA adopted guidance to help protect both fully vaccinated and unvaccinated employees from COVID-19 exposure in the workplace in response to evidence suggesting that fully vaccinated people are at risk of infection by the highly contagious Delta variant and can spread the virus to others.

OSHA’s recommendations are the same as those issued by the CDC for fully vaccinated people:

  • Wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission
  • Choose to wear a mask regardless of level of transmission, particularly if individuals are at risk or have someone in their household who is at increased risk of severe disease or not fully vaccinated
  • Get tested 3-5 days following a known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and wearing a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days after exposure or until a negative test result

OSHA said its recommendations are “advisory in nature and informational in content and are intended to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious physical harm.” The agency’s emergency temporary standard that applies to health care settings remains subject to enforcement.

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