News Scan for Nov 18, 2021

News brief

CDC survey shows COVID-19 vaccine uptake stalled at 70% in HCWs

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a new comprehensive survey of vaccine uptake in healthcare workers (HCWs), showing that after initial enthusiasm, vaccine uptake stalled at 70% by Sep 15, 2021. Results of the survey are published in the American Journal of Infection Control.

The study was based on data collected by the Department of Health and Human Services Unified Hospital Data Surveillance System on COVID-19 vaccination coverage among hospital-based healthcare personnel between Jan 20 and Sep 15.

Among 2,457 hospitals reporting results, rates of vaccine coverage rose rapidly from January to April, from 36.1% (95% confidence interval [CI], 36.0% to 36.2%) to 60.2% (95% CI, 60.2% to 60.3%). But after April, the rate slowed to just 70.0% by mid-September.

HCWs in children's hospitals were the most vaccinated (77.0%), and coverage was higher in urban HCWs (71.0%), compared to HCWs working in facilities located in rural counties (65.1%).

"Our analysis revealed that vaccine coverage among U.S. hospital-based HCP stalled significantly after initial uptake," said Hannah Reses, MPH, a member of the CDC team that conducted the analysis, in an Association for Professionals in Infection Control (APIC) press release. "Additional efforts are needed now to improve HCP vaccine coverage and reduce the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission to patients and other hospital staff."
Nov 17 Am J Infect Control study
Nov 18 APIC press release


Hungary and Togo report H5N1 avian flu outbreaks in poultry

In the latest avian flu developments, Hungary and Togo reported highly pathogenic H5N1 outbreaks in poultry, according to the latest notifications from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). Also, Belgium, France, and Romania reported more H5N1 detections in wild birds.

Hungary reported two outbreaks at commercial farms in Bacs-Kiskun County in the south, one housing ducks and the other that raises foie gras geese.  Between the two outbreaks, the virus killed 107 birds, and 38,886 were culled to curb disease spread.

Togo reported an outbreak at a farm raising guinea fowl in Maritime region in the far south. The virus killed 1,105 of 3,000 birds, and the rest were destroyed.

In other poultry outbreak developments, the United Kingdom's Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) said yesterday that H5N1 has been detected at another facility, this time in Derbyshire. Tests are under way to assess the pathogenicity. And Japan reported its fourth highly pathogenic H5 outbreak, this time in Hyogo prefecture, according to a government statement translated and posted by Avian Flu Diary (AFD), an infectious disease news blog. The country has recently reported both H5N1 and H5N8 outbreaks in poultry.

Meanwhile, three European countries reported more H5N1 detections in wild birds: Belgium (wild goose, Flanders), France (wild geese and mute swans, Grand Est region), and Romania (mute swan, Calarasi County).
Nov 17 OIE report on H5N1 in Hungary
Nov 17 OIE report on H5N1 in Togo
Nov 17 DEFRA update
Nov 17 AFD post
OIE reports on wild bird H5N1 detections in Belgium, France, and Romania

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