COVID-19 2022-01-12T07:59:57-05:00

COVID-19 Update

 

OMICRON VARIANT

The Omicron Variant of COVID-19 appears to possess multiple mutations that may both increase its transmissibility and allow it to evade some of the protection provided by vaccinations. The overall recommendations we are providing to travelers are as follows:

1) Check the US State Department, CDC, or individual country websites for travel restrictions (see below).

2) Get vaccinated (if you have not had it already). Get boosted (if you are due).

3) Wear masks indoors (particularly in crowded areas).

4) Do not panic. COVID will likely be around for a long time. This recent variant is only one of many large COVID “speed bumps” we may experience in the coming months and years.

 

TRAVEL RECOMMENDATIONS

-At this time, international travel needs to be carefully considered, even if you are fully vaccinated. 

All international travelers arriving in the US are now required to have a COVID-19 test ONE CALENDAR DAY before they begin travel to the US.  For more detailed information, visit the CDC site: International Traveler’s Testing Requirements.

-Please check for updated specific information regarding entrance requirements (testing and COVID vaccination) through your destination country’s official website. You may also go to the US Department of State for country-specific travel advisories related to COVID.

-Unpredictable border-closings, testing positive before a return-home flight (forcing you to isolate in a destination country!), and severe limitations of medical resources outside the US if you should become ill are only some of the current issues involved with international travel. 

(Dr. Klapowitz will review COVID information with you further on your travel medicine consultation visit.)

 

VACCINATION INFORMATION

-Multiple countries have developed vaccinations. Moderna, Pfizer/Biontech, and Johnson & Johnson have all received EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) by the FDA in the United States. An excellent review of the components (“ingredients”) of these three COVID-19 vaccinations can be found here: Vaccine Ingredients.

-BOOSTERS: For people vaccinated with Pfizer or Moderna, a booster vaccine with either shot is recommended after 5 months for all adults (age 16 and over). Everyone who has had a J & J vaccine should get a booster 2 months afterwards. Moderate to severely immunocompromised patients should receive a booster dose of Pfizer or Moderna 4 weeks after their second dose. For these patients, a fourth dose six months after the third is also now recommended (CDC Recommendations for Immunocompromised Patients).

-Life-threatening allergic reactions, called anaphylaxis, are rare (about 5 in a million vaccines administered), but still several times more frequent than the flu vaccine. A history of anaphylaxis to vaccines, bee stings, or other medications/substances increases the likelihood of anaphylaxis to the COVID-19 vaccine.

-Moderna and Pfizer shots appear to be over 80% effective at preventing hospitalization and death from COVID-19. “Breakthrough” cases (COVID-19 disease in vaccinated people) can occur, but are usually mildly symptomatic (cold-like or flu-like symptoms).

-If you have not had one of the US EUA COVID vaccinations but had vaccines abroad (SINOVAC, SPUTNIK, and others), you likely will benefit from receiving one of the US vaccinations.

 

ISOLATION/QUARANTINE GUIDELINES as of January, 2022

  • Regardless of  your vaccination status: If you are positive for COVID, isolate yourself for 5 days. You may end your isolation after 5 days if you have had no fever for >24 hours and your COVID symptoms have improved (if you had symptoms). Finally, masking for at least 5 days after ending isolation when around other people is recommended.
  • If you have had a significant exposure and you are vaccinated AND boosted, no quarantine is needed. However, you should wear a mask around others for 10 days and test on day #5, if possible.
  • If you have had a significant exposure and you are not boosted or not vaccinated at all, you should quarantine for 5 days then wear a mask around others for 5 days. Also, test on day #5, if possible.
  • Health care worker guidelines, back-to-work guidelines, and other specific recommendations can be found at www.cdc.gov.

 

TREATMENT

Treatments for COVID are constantly evolving (and availability is often an issue).  You can find updated information in the NYT website. (NYT Treatment Tracker).

 

For more information regarding coronavirus, please go to the CDC or the NY Department of Health.

Keep safe!

Julian Klapowitz, MD

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