As of December 20, 2021, Omicron has been detected in most states and territories and is rapidly increasing the proportion of COVID-19 cases it is causing.
What We Know about Omicron
CDC has been collaborating with global public health and industry partners to learn about Omicron, as we continue to monitor its course. We don’t yet know how easily it spreads, the severity of illness it causes, or how well available vaccines and medications work against it.
The Omicron variant likely will spread more easily than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and how easily Omicron spreads compared to Delta remains unknown. CDC expects that anyone with Omicron infection can spread the virus to others, even if they are vaccinated or don’t have symptoms.
More data are needed to know if Omicron infections, and especially reinfections and breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated, cause more severe illness or death than infection with other variants.
Current vaccines are expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant. However, breakthrough infections in people who are fully vaccinated are likely to occur. With other variants, like Delta, vaccines have remained effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death. The recent emergence of Omicron further emphasizes the importance of vaccination and boosters.
Scientists are working to determine how well existing treatments for COVID-19 work. Based on the changed genetic make-up of Omicron, some treatments are likely to remain effective while others may be less effective.
We have the Tools to Fight Omicron
Vaccines remain the best public health measure to protect people from COVID-19, slow transmission, and reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging.
- COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death.
- Scientists are currently investigating Omicron, including how protected fully vaccinated people will be against infection, hospitalization, and death.
- CDC recommends that everyone 5 years and older protect themselves from COVID-19 by getting fully vaccinated
- CDC recommends that everyone ages 18 years and older should get a booster shot at least two months after their initial J&J/Janssen vaccine or six months after completing their primary COVID-19 vaccination series of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna.
Masks offer protection against all variants.
- CDC continues to recommend wearing a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high community transmission regardless of vaccination status.
- Tests can show us how if we are currently infected with COVID-19
To Our PentaHealth Family
*Update on Covid Booster Vaccine for Additional Groups*
A Pfizer COVID 19 booster dose is now authorized for those who are older than 65 and for persons age 18-64 who have chronic medical conditions. The definition of chronic medical conditions is broad and includes diabetes, heart disease, asthma, other lung diseases, smokers, and people who are overweight. For these groups there should be a minimum of 6 months between the 2nd and 3rd doses.
This authorization applies only to those who received Pfizer as their initial vaccine. At this time, booster doses should be from the same manufacturer as the initial dose. Once we are informed on the updated recommendations for those who received either the Moderna or J&J vaccine, we will alert you.
Please note that Covid vaccines are readily available in most pharmacies. We, at PentaHealth, also expect to receive booster vaccines in the near future. We will keep you informed.
To Our PentaHealth Family
*Covid Vaccine Booster Update*
There has been a lot of buzz lately regarding who can get a covid vaccine booster at this time. Below should provide you with the appropriate guidance: Keep in mind that this an evolving process and we will continue to keep you updated on any new recommendation for boosters in the general population.
Who Needs an Additional COVID-19 Vaccine?
Currently, CDC is recommending that moderately to severely INNUMOCOMPROMISED people receive an additional dose. This includes people who have:
Been receiving active cancer treatment for tumors or cancers of the blood
Received an organ transplant and are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
Received a stem cell transplant within the last 2 years or are taking medicine to suppress the immune system
Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (such as DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
Advanced or untreated HIV infection
Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids or other drugs that may suppress your immune response
Can you mix and match the vaccines?
For people who received either Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine series, a third dose of the same mRNA vaccine should be used. If the mRNA vaccine product given for the first two doses is not available or is unknown, either mRNA COVID-19 vaccine product may be administered.
What should immunocompromised people who received the J&J/Janssen vaccine do?
The FDA’s recent EUA amendment only applies to mRNA COVID-19 vaccines, as does CDC’s recommendation.
Emerging data have demonstrated that immunocompromised people who have low or no protection following two doses of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines may have an improved response after an additional dose of the same vaccine. There is not enough data at this time to determine whether immunocompromised people who received the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine also have an improved antibody response following an additional dose of the same vaccine.
To Our PentaHealth Family
An Important Update Regarding Covid-19
The purpose of this message is to be informative, provide perspective, and suggest recommendations to our patients. The Delta variant is currently the most dominant Covid-19 strain impacting the United States. In an effort to maximize protection from the variant, here are a few items to keep in mind. Much of the data below was provided by Chester County Hospital/ University of Pennsylvania Health System:
- As of August 10th, 2021, new Covid-19 cases have increased 17 fold since June 21, 2021. This has been driven by the more transmissible Delta variant, largely in the unvaccinated population.
- Nationally, the Delta variant currently accounts for approximately 95% of the positive cases. Since mid-July, closer to 100% of the positive cases in your area are a result of the Delta variant.
- It is important to note that majority of positive cases in our area who are symptomatic and fully vaccinated fortunately present with mild (self-limiting) disease. That being said, while fully vaccinated individuals can still acquire (and likely transmit) Covid-19, they are far less likely to require hospitalization or become critically ill as compared to similar unvaccinated individuals.
- The Delta variant will be the common topic of discussion over the next few weeks to months. Again for those who are fully vaccinated, we generally expect the illness to be mild and self-limited. Unvaccinated individuals may be at risk for more serious outcomes. At this time, the best protection for you if you are eligible is vaccination.
COVID-19 UPDATE (5/16/2021)
Have You Been Fully Vaccinated?
In general, people are considered fully vaccinated:
- 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, OR
- 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine
If you don’t meet these requirements, regardless of your age, you are NOT fully vaccinated. Keep taking all precautions until you are fully vaccinated.
What you can start to do:
If you’ve been fully vaccinated:
- You can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic.
- You can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
- If you travel in the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.
- You need to pay close attention to the situation at your international destination before traveling outside the United States.
- You do NOT need to get tested before leaving the United States unless your destination requires it.
- You still need to show a negative test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding an international flight to the United States.
- You should still get tested 3-5 days after international travel.
- You do NOT need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States.
- If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
- However, if you live or work in a correctional or detention facility or a homeless shelter and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.
What you should keep doing:
For now, if you’ve been fully vaccinated:
- You will still need to follow guidance at your workplace and local businesses.
- If you travel, you should still take steps to protect yourself and others You will still be required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Fully vaccinated international travelers arriving in the United States are still required to get tested 3 days before travel by air into the United States (or show documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months) and should still get tested 3-5 days after their trip.
- You should still watch out for symptoms of COVID-19, especially if you’ve been around someone who is sick. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should get tested and stay home and away from others.
- People who have a condition or are taking medications that weaken the immune system, should talk to their healthcare provider to discuss their activities. They may need to keep taking all precautions to prevent COVID-19.
COVID-19 UPDATE (4/29/2021)
COVID-19 UPDATE (4/23/2021)
Important Ways to Slow the Spread
- Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth to help protect yourself and others
- Stay 6 feet apart from others who don’t live with you
- Get a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to you
- Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available
What to Do If You’re Sick
- Stay home except to get medical care. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, contact your healthcare provider, and get tested
- Isolate yourself from others, including those living in your household, to prevent spread to them and the people that they may have contact with, like grandparents
- Call 911 if you are having emergency warning signs, like trouble breathing, pain or pressure in chest
What Symptoms to Watch For
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- Fever, Cough, Headaches, Fatigue, Muscle or body aches, Loss of taste or smell, Sore throat, Nausea, Diarrhea
Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine
Authorized COVID-19 vaccines can help protect you from COVID-19
- You should get a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to you
- Once you are fully vaccinated, you may be able to start doing some things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic
If you’ve been fully vaccinated:
- You can gather indoors with fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart
- You can gather indoors with unvaccinated people of any age from one other household (for example, visiting with relatives who all live together) without masks or staying 6 feet apart, unless any of those people or anyone they live with has an increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19
- If you travel in the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel
- You need to pay close attention to the situation at your international destination before traveling outside the United States
- You do NOT need to get tested before leaving the United States unless your destination requires it
- You still need to show a negative test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the United States.
- You should still get tested 3-5 days after international travel
- You do NOT need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States
- If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms
- However, if you live in a group setting (like a correctional or detention facility or group home) and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still stay away from others for 14 days and get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms
Update on J&J COVID-19 Vaccine (4/13/21):
The FDA has paused the administration of the J&J vaccine out of an abundance of caution. There have been 6 (six) reported cases in the U.S. of blood clots in women aged 18-48, within 6-13 days after vaccination. To date, approximately 6.8 million doses of J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S. The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have not been paused.
If you develop a severe headache, abdominal pain, leg pain, or SOB within 3 weeks after getting the vaccine you must call your PCP or seek care. At this time, the risk remains extremely low.
We will continue to keep you informed of any changes.
Vaccine Update (3/19/21):
Unfortunately, as you may know, the state has again chosen to reorganize the distribution process of the COVID Vaccine. At this time, our offices are not on their list to receive vaccine in the near future. We will keep you updated as soon as we have any word that we will receive vaccine.
Pennsylvania has officially opened COVID-19 vaccination to everyone over 65 and people 16-64 with chronic illnesses.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health has the latest COVID-19 Vaccine Information on their website. This information can be found here: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Vaccine/Pages/Vaccine.aspx
People not in this group can complete a “Vaccine Interest Survey” on the Health Department website. https://chesco.org/4822/COVID19Vaccine.
Completing the survey assures that you will be notified by the health department when the vaccine is available for 1B. With that email, you will also receive information about locations and how to schedule a vaccine appointment.
At this time, it is not known when physician offices might receive the vaccine. If you have the opportunity to receive the vaccine through the health department, take it.
The website above has more details about the groupings and the process.
We will continue to keep you updated. We are here for you and your family!
Testing and Vaccine Information
As we strive to provide you with the most updated Covid-19 related information, unfortunately, we have yet to receive concrete timelines on the arrival of the Covid-19 vaccine. At this time, the guidelines for the administration of the vaccine to our patients remain unknown. As soon as the information is available, we will promptly inform you of the process put in place. We appreciate your patience.