Much had been made of the CDC’s waffling on testing asymptomatic individuals. The problem is testing supplies are still very limited and we have to figure out which asymptomatic individuals to test to prevent asymptomatic individuals from spreading the disease. New, better tests and testing strategies will become available, but as of today these are the guidelines. This is a commentary from Physician’s First Watch followed by the guidelines.
CDC testing guidance change: The CDC has reversed course and again recommends testing asymptomatic contacts of people with COVID-19. The new guidance says, “Because of the potential for asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic transmission, it is important that contacts of individuals with SARS-CoV-2 infection be quickly identified and tested.” The agency had pulled back its initial recommendation on testing asymptomatic patients in August, saying that they only needed a test if they were at high risk for COVID-19 complications.
The main difference is if you have a significant exposure to someone with Covid-19, you do need a test. If the test is negative, you still need to isolate for 14 days after the exposure. Ideally, the test should be done 8 days after exposure to avoid a false negative test. Antibody testing is still not recommended to diagnose an acute infection.
Flu vaccines are recommended by health experts to avoid a “Twindemic”. I have not seen demand for flu vaccine this high since the the 2009 H1N1″Swine flu” pandemic. We have given more flu vaccine in the last 3 weeks than the all of last year. As a result, we are waiting more vaccine. The good news is that the vaccine is readily available from the big buyers like CVS and Walgreens. We will get ours, but it will take a few weeks. If you have an opportunity to get the vaccine, go ahead and get it. Many of our patients have preferred getting the vaccine at our office because our nurse, Amber, walks out and gives it to them at curbside and they don’t have to stand in a pharmacy line.
Will I get a Covid-19 vaccine when available? Yes. I got the H1N1 vaccine when it became available. These vaccines will be the most heavily scrutinized vaccines in history. Additional steps have been announced to insure that short cuts are not taken. The following is a summary from Physician’s First Watch followed by a link to the New York Times article.
Stricter vaccine authorization guidelines: The FDA plans to release stricter guidelines for the emergency authorization of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, the New York Times reports. In particular, the guidance will require that people in phase 3 trials be followed for a median of 2 months after their last dose before authorization can be considered. In addition, a group of independent experts will need to review the data. The guidelines could be released as early as this week. In related news, Johnson & Johnson announced on Wednesday the launch of the phase 3 trial of its one-dose vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 (other vaccines in phase 3 trials require 2 doses).