COVID-19 Resources

Due to the continuous developments regarding the virus, TAG is offering COVID-19 Retainer Packages to businesses concerned with the impact of this outbreak.

Request a quote below or call us: 1-800-401-2239

For the food industry

  • Regular Updates

  • Advice for Food Industry

  • What can you (we) all do?

 
Key Points

December 18, 2020

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  • In today’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss answer some COVID-19 FAQs, including (a) what to do if an employee displays COVID-19 symptoms post-vaccine; and (b) is the vaccine safe for pregnant women.

  • The FDA has recommended Moderna’s vaccine for an EUA. If approved, the Moderna vaccine may be ready to distribute starting next week. As discussed in last Friday’s Vaccine Q&A, there are some differences between the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, including less stringent temperature requirements (-20C (-4F).

  • The EEOC has added a Vaccines section (K) to its COVID-19 FAQ page, which includes discussion on  ADA and Title VII issues in relation to mandatory vaccination policies for employers.

  • Today, Dr. David Acheson will be rounding up the year with SafetyChain Software for a final FSMA Friday 2020, “Navigating COVID Complexity in 2021 to Stay Resilient,” to discuss up-to-the-minute facts, the truth about vaccines, ways you can minimize disruption, and what to expect from COVID-19 in the new year. Sign up now!

  • To address skepticism over the vaccine’s safety and show its safety, Vice-President Mike Pence received his COVID-19 vaccine live on TV.

 
Recommendations for Industry

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs: Symptomatic Work Exclusion and Pregnancy Safety

In today’s newsletter, we continue to answer questions on the COVID-19 vaccine. Despite this gradual availability of the vaccine, however, it is critical that business continue with all the protections that have been put in place, and continue to advise and encourage employees to do so when not at work as well.

Q. Is the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine safe for pregnant women?

A. Although Pfizer is conducting surveillance studies in this area, there are currently insufficient data to make conclusions about the vaccine's safety in pregnant and lactating women. According to the Pfizer/FDA Briefing Document, Pfizer studies will be submitting plans for a clinical study to assess safety and immunogenicity in pregnant women and has proposed active surveillance studies designed to monitor vaccination during pregnancy within populations expected to receive the vaccine under EUA.

 

While noting the lack of available data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant people, CDC states, “Observational data demonstrate that while the absolute risk is low, pregnant people with COVID-19 have an increased risk of severe illness, including illness resulting in ICU admission, mechanical ventilation, or death. Additionally, they might be at an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth.”

 

Given that, however, CDC notes that if a pregnant woman is among a group recommended for the vaccine (e.g., healthcare personnel), she may choose to be vaccinated. While a conversation with their healthcare provider could be helpful, it is not required prior to vaccination. In making the decision, the following considerations are recommended: the level of COVID-19 community transmission, the patient’s personal risk of contracting COVID-19, the risks of COVID-19 to the patient and potential risks to the fetus, the efficacy of the vaccine, the side effects of the vaccine and the lack of data about the vaccine during pregnancy.

 

Q. If a person who has received the COVID-19 vaccine begins showing symptoms of the virus, should they be allowed to work, under the assumption that the symptoms are simply a reaction to the vaccine? Or should they be excluded?

A. If a person who has been vaccinated shows symptoms, TAG recommends that they be excluded from work. There is overlap between post-vaccination symptoms and those of the virus, so the two cannot be differentiated. It also is possible that the person could have been infected just prior to being vaccinated, so would have the virus and be infectious to others.

 

TAG recommends that any symptomatic persons be tested, as only the virus itself, not the vaccine, would cause a positive result. As stated by CDC, “Vaccines currently in clinical trials in the United States won’t cause you to test positive on viral tests, which are used to see if you have a current infection.” However, this is not true of antibody tests (which indicate you had a previous infection), as the immunities developed in the body through the vaccine may result in a positive.

 

The most common reaction to the Pfizer vaccine has been injection site reactions (84.1%), with other generally mild to moderate symptoms including: were fatigue (62.9%), headache (55.1%), muscle pain (38.3%), chills (31.9%), joint pain (23.6%), fever (14.2%). Severe adverse reactions occurred in 0.0% to 4.6% of participants, were more frequent after Dose 2 than after Dose 1, and were generally less frequent in adults ≥55 years of age (≤2.8%) as compared to younger participants (≤4.6%).

 

Among adverse events of particular interest, which could be possibly related to the vaccine, lymphadenopathy was reported in 64 participants (0.3%): 54 (0.5%) in the younger (16 to 55 years) age group; 10 (0.1%) in the older (>55 years) age group; and 6 in the placebo group. The average duration of these events was approximately 10 days, with 11 events ongoing at the time of the data cutoff.

In Case You Missed It...
 
  • In Wednesday’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss TAG’s COVID-19 Risk Matrix. Overall, while the rate of COVID-19 in the US has slowed, there has not been much of a decline. TAG recommends that preventive measures be continued and that employers encourage employees to “stay put” and not travel this upcoming holiday season.

  • The FDA is set to meet to discuss the Moderna vaccine. Data submitted by Moderna to the FDA shows the vaccine to be highly effective. Read the report here.

  • In Monday’s Recommendations for Industry, we discuss a new COVID-19 county-level data set for predictive analyses – and address the vaccine question: What does FDA say about the safety of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for those with allergies?

  • Last Friday, the FDA issued its first Emergency Use Authorization for Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 Vaccine to be distributed in the U.S. The vaccine is currently on its way to locations around the world. In many locations in the U.S., the first doses will go to healthcare workers. 

  • The CDC hosted a “What Every Clinician Should Know about COVID-19 Vaccine Safety” webinar this past Monday, December 14, to discuss the safety of the vaccine, including how to enroll people into the vaccine and methods of checking-up on patients, afterward. Watch the recording here.

  • As the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine is underway, the CDC has released on “What to Expect at Your Vaccine Appointment”.

  • On Sunday, the CDC updated its list of vaccine-related references. Refer to these resources on the CDC’s website

  • A biotech conference held in February 2020 in Boston, MA, is shown to be tied to more than 300,000 national and international COVID-19 infections, a recent Science article finds.

  • While much of the world’s focus has been on COVID-19, with the food industry incorporating a range of worker protections, beneath this, momentum has built in the realm of food-related litigation. Not only were criminal convictions a focus of the USDA FSIS’s most recent quarterly enforcement report, but class-action lawsuits have continued to be of focus with Stericycle Expert Solutions anticipating lawsuits “to pass 2019’s total.” What lawsuits and actions happened in 2020 and what do they mean for you?

  • As COVID-19 cases in the US top15 million and continue to surge, the CDC put out thoughts on travel related to the upcoming Holiday Travel Season:

    • Travel can increase your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19. Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.

    • You and your travel companions (including children) may feel well and not have any symptoms, but you can still spread COVID-19 to family, friends, and community after travel.

    • Don’t travel if you are sick or test positive for COVID-19. Don’t travel with someone who is sick.

Keep up to date with COVID-19:

Please send us any questions, comments, and/or concerns! We are happy to talk with you. 

 

OR call us at 1-800-401-2239

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