November 09, 2020
In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss if a vaccine is coming soon and what you should know in the meantime!
Global cases of COVID-19 have exceed 50 million cases.
OSHA has released a new infographic guidance for “COVID-19 Guidance on Ventilation in the Workplace” [English] [Spanish]. Much of this guidance is parallel to what TAG has discussed previously and encouraged.
A recent CDC MMWR highlights teleworking's protective measures (or working from home) and not onsite. In fact, “adults who received positive test results for SARS-CoV-2 infection were more likely to report exclusively going to an office or school setting in the 2 weeks before illness onset.” This is compared to those who tested negative, even among those working in a profession outside of the critical infrastructure. These findings highlight the importance, even now, of “promot[ing] alternative work site options, such as teleworking, where possible, to reduce exposures to SARS-CoV-2. Where telework options are not feasible, worker safety measures should continue to be scaled up to reduce possible worksite exposures.”
In Case You Missed It:
On Friday’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss the similarities and differences between COVID-19, the flu, the common cold, and allergies in a chart form!
This will be available for online download, soon. However, if you want a copy now, please email Lily Yang (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Last Monday, in Recommendations for Industry we answered questions on asymptomatic COVID-19 cases and what that might mean. Read more here.
If your household includes one or more vulnerable individuals, then all family members should act as if they, themselves, are at a higher risk. Learn more about protecting yourself and your family, especially when you live in close quarters, including limiting errands, keeping vulnerable members from caring for children and those who are ill, separating a sick household member, etc.
As states are slowly re-opening dine-in services in restaurants, OSHA has released Guidance for Restaurants to protect their businesses, their employees, and their customers. Find the downloadable infographic in English (link) and Spanish (link).
Did you miss Dr. Ben Miller’s discussion on utilizing Assurance Testing as part of your COVID-19 preventive protocols? Catch the recorded webinar on Youtube, here.
If you have been wondering what’s happening with vaccines, TAG will be putting out a short perspective on this soon. For a longer, comprehensive run-down on vaccines' current status, the New York Times has provided a thorough interactive summary.
Recommendations for Industry
Is a Vaccine Coming Soon? What You Need to Know
You have likely read that Pfizer, a drug company also producing vaccines, has announced that early analysis of its coronavirus vaccine trial suggests its vaccine is more than 90% effective in preventing the disease. The study was of the 44,000 person trial (half of whom received two doses of the vaccine and half a placebo). According to the New York Times article, after it has collected the recommended two months of safety data, Pfizer will be asking the FDA for emergency authorization of the two-dose vaccine later this month. By the end of the year, the company said it will have manufactured enough doses to immunize 15 to 20 million people.
What does this mean for the food industry?
This news is excellent news, especially since a 90% efficacy rate is on par with highly effective childhood vaccines for diseases such as measles. However, this news does not mean that the vaccine will be available in the short-term. The company still needs to complete the trial, after which the vaccine will still need to be approved by the FDA. All of this can take several months.
Even at that point, the food industry will not be the first to receive the vaccine; however, as a critical infrastructure industry, it likely will not be the last. First responders and health care workers are likely to be the first to receive the vaccine before it is made available to other critical industries. Unfortunately, even as the vaccine is disseminated by priority groups, the 15-20 million doses that Pfizer expects to produce by the end of the year will not go too far with the 7.8 billion people in the world.
So, as cases continue to increase across the U.S. – with more than 100,000 cases logged at least three times last week and the approaching holidays likely to further that increase – it is critical that businesses continue all the protections and preventive measures already implemented, continue testing, and continue reinforcing COVID-19 preventive messaging with employees.
Additionally, if you have or expect to be using temporary workers, TAG advises that you initiate a conversation with your staffing agency once a vaccine is available. You should let your staffing agencies know that you will want only workers who have received the vaccine to work. This will require some new thinking and management strategies, so thinking ahead and working through the needed steps will be highly beneficial in the long run.
If you have any questions or need any assistance on protections, testing, or vaccine preparation, give TAG a call.
As of November 09, 2020 (16:07 ET), there are over >50,766,000 cases (>1,260,000 deaths) worldwide.
Due to the increasing number of cases in the United States, TAG will move from reporting counts per country to focus on the United States, please see here for the data. For further information regarding worldwide numbers, please refer to John Hopkin University’s aggregate map.
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