February 16, 2024
This message includes updates on respiratory viruses from CDC.
Vaccine Effectiveness and COVID-19
New data from CDC show that the updated (2023-2024) COVID-19 vaccines were effective against COVID-19 during September 2023 – January 2024, including against variants from the XBB lineage, which is included in the updated vaccine, and JN.1, a new variant that has become dominant in recent weeks. To estimate vaccine effectiveness of the updated COVID-19 vaccine, CDC analyzed data from the Increasing Community Access to Testing (ICATT) COVID-19 pharmacy testing program. The protection provided by the updated vaccine was compared to not receiving an updated vaccine, regardless of a person’s infection history or the number of previous COVID-19 vaccines received.
People Who Get a 2023-2024 Updated COVID-19 Vaccine Can Now Register in V-Safe
Vaccine safety monitoring is a top priority at CDC. V-safe is one of several systems CDC uses to closely monitor the safety of vaccines in the United States. V-safe registration is now open to anyone who gets a 2023-2024 updated COVID-19 vaccine or an RSV vaccine. Participants who enroll in V-safe within 6 weeks of vaccination will receive confidential health check-ins via text message or email to share how they feel after vaccination. You can sign up for V-safe using your smartphone, tablet, or computer at vsafe.cdc.gov.
RSV Transmission and Prevention
You can take everyday prevention measures to help reduce the spread of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and other respiratory illnesses. RSV immunizations are recommended for certain groups. People infected with RSV are usually contagious for 3 to 8 days and may become contagious a day or two before they start showing signs of illness. RSV can survive for many hours on hard surfaces such as tables and crib rails. It typically lives on soft surfaces such as tissues and hands for shorter amounts of time.
COVID-19 Testing: Is It Really Expired?
If you have an expired COVID-19 test kit, don’t throw it away. Your test kit may have a U.S. FDA–approved extended expiration date. Use FDA’s table to find out if your home test kit can still be used past the original expiration date. Home COVID-19 test kits are designed to detect all variants of COVID-19.
Patient Support Program: Cost Savings Options Available with PAXCESS™
COVID-19 antiviral treatment can reduce the risks of hospitalization and death if you’re at increased risk of getting very sick, regardless of your vaccination status. If you get COVID-19, you should consider treatment if it is recommended for you. For patients prescribed Paxlovid, the PAXCESS Patient Support Program provides insurance verification, live PAXCESS support representatives who can help with program eligibility, and help with identifying financial assistance. Enrollment takes about 5 minutes. You can enroll online by visiting the PAXCESS website, or by phone by calling 1-877-C19-PACK (1-877-219-7225).
CDC Tracks New SARS-CoV-2 Variant, BA.2.87.1
BA.2.87.1, a new variant of the virus that causes COVID-19, was detected in South Africa by the country’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases. CDC is closely tracking this variant because of the large number of mutations when compared to previous variants. At this time, BA.2.87.1 has not been identified in clinical specimens outside South Africa. Because this is a newly emerging variant, there is not as much additional data about its potential impact. So far, the public health risk for this new variant appears low. CDC continues to track the appearance and spread of new variants around the world through national genomic surveillance. CDC is monitoring this new variant closely and will provide updates as more information becomes available.
Notes from the Field: Long COVID Prevalence Among Adults
Long COVID continues to impact millions of people, increasing health care needs in every U.S. state and territory. A new report shows that the percentage of U.S. adults in 2022 who reported ever experiencing Long COVID varied by U.S. state and territory, from 2% in the U.S. Virgin Islands to 11% in West Virginia. The percentage tended to be lower in New England and the Pacific, and higher in the South, Midwest, and West. Check the report to find data for your state. Clinicians and public health professionals should consider these data to inform health care and public health policy, strategy, and action to reduce the impact of Long COVID.