August 13, 2021 Edition

Legislature Set to Return from Summer Recess, Four Weeks Remain in Year’s Legislative Session

On Monday, the California State Senate and Assembly will return to Sacramento from their month-long summer recess. Our four weeks will remain in the first year of the two-year legislative session upon lawmakers’ Monday return to the capital city.

The next two weeks will be largely dedicated to fiscal committee deliberations and actions; fiscal committees face a deadline of August 27 to meet and report measures to the Senate and Assembly floors. Lawmakers will then have two weeks of floor session only, during which no committees may meet for any purpose.

Legislators, during these remaining weeks, will be working busily to advance priority measures through the legislature and to the desk of Governor Gavin Newsom. The Senate and Assembly are set to adjourn for the remainder of the calendar year on September 10.

Upon the Legislature’s return next week, CHEAC will resume publication of the CHEAC Weekly Bill Chart, providing updates on tracked legislative bills of interest to CHEAC Members and California local health departments.

California Requires School Personnel to be Vaccinated or Tested Regularly for COVID-19

This week, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued a new state public health officer order requiring all public and private TK-12 school personnel to either verify proof of full vaccination or submit to at least once-weekly testing for COVID-19. The order does not apply to home schools, childcare, or higher education.

The step, lauded as the first in the country for school personnel, took effect on Thursday and provides schools until October 15, 2021, to come into full compliance. Notably, the state’s announcement on school personnel follows a recent similar order from CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás Aragón requiring health care workers to receive the COVID-19 vaccine or submit to regular testing for the virus.

Additional information from the Governor’s Office on the state’s new public health order for school personnel is available here. Dr. Aragón’s full public health order is available here.

FDA Authorizes Additional COVID-19 Vaccine Dose for Immunocompromised Individuals

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended its emergency use authorizations (EUAs) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine to allow for the administration of an additional vaccine dose in certain immunocompromised individuals, including solid organ transplant recipients or those diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise.

The FDA evaluated available data on the use of a third dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines in immunocompromised individuals, finding that the administration of an additional dose may increase protection in this vulnerable population. Patients should be counseled to maintain physical precautions to help prevent COVID-19, according to the FDA.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) convened a meeting today to review clinical recommendations relative to the additional COVID-19 vaccine dose among immunocompromised individuals. The CDC ACIP, following FDA’s amended EUA, unanimously recommended that an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine be administered to people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems after an initial two-dose vaccination series. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed off on the ACIP recommendation this afternoon.

Additional information from the FDA on additional doses for immunocompromised persons is available here.

CDC Finds COVID-19 Vaccination Safe for Pregnant Persons

On Wednesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released new data demonstrating the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnant persons. The CDC continues to recommend all individuals ages 12 and older get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The CDC’s analysis focused on current data from the v-safe pregnancy registry and found that vaccination early in pregnancy was not associated with an increased risk of miscarriage among nearly 2,500 pregnant women who received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine before 20 weeks of pregnancy. Miscarriage typically occurs in about 11-16 percent of pregnancies, and the CDC’s study found miscarriage rates after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine were around 13 percent, similar to the expected rate of miscarriage in the general population.

Previously, data from multiple safety monitoring systems did not identify any safety concerns for pregnant persons who were vaccinated late in pregnancy or for their babies. Combined, these data and the known severe risks of COVID-19 during pregnancy demonstrate that the benefits of receiving a COVID-19 vaccine for pregnant people outweigh any known or potential risks, according to the CDC.

Additional information from the CDC is available here.

DHCS to Hold CalAIM ECM and ILOS Webinar on August 25

The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) will convene a webinar, the second in a two-part series, to educate community providers about fundamental aspects of the California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal (CalAIM) Enhanced Care Management (ECM) and In Lieu of Services (ILOS), including managed care plan and provider roles, provider expectations, and an overview of the payment process.

The webinar will be held on Wednesday, August 25 at 12:00 pm and will be tailored to health and social service providers, counties, and other organizations participating in a Whole Person Care (WPC) Pilot or Health Homes Program (HHP) that may be interested in or are in the process of becoming an ECM or ILOS provider. Information presented during the webinar will also be useful to non-HHP or WPC providers seeking additional information on ECM and ILOS.

CHEAC strongly encourages its Members to register and attend this webinar. Additional information on the webinar, including registration, is available here.

CDPH Launches Campaign to Combat Youth Vaping

On Monday, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) launched a new advertising campaign entitled, “Tell Your Story,” in response to the latest high school vaping data from the 2019-20 California Student Tobacco Survey.

The survey, which includes data from September 2019 to March 2020, found that California’s high school vaping rate is at its lowest in four years (8.2 percent) while the number of California teens trying to quit vaping more than doubled since 2018. During this same time, numerous youth and young adults were hospitalized due to e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI), and California implemented a large-scale public awareness campaign about EVALI cases to protect its residents and young people.

The “Tell Your Story” campaign features real stories from young people and highlights their journey to quit vaping. The campaign educates youth and young adults about the harmful impacts of vaping and connects them with evidence-based resources to quit. The campaign promotes the “I Can Quit” text message program to support the quitting process and emphasize how to develop and successfully practice coping strategies.

Additional information on the state’s new campaign is available here.

Coalition Formed to Modernize and Advance the U.S. Public Health System

The Bipartisan Policy Center, a prominent national thinktank, recently announced the formation of a new coalition of organizations working together to develop a five-year roadmap for public health leaders and elected officials to influence strategic investments and decision-making to build a more robust and sustainable public health system.

Members of the coalition include the de Beaumont Foundation, the CDC Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Sunflower Foundation, the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), the Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC), and the Public Health Accreditation Board (PHAB).

The project, Public Health Forward: Modernizing the U.S. Public Health System, will define the vision and capabilities for a 21st century governmental public health system that promotes health, prevents disease, and protects all communities across the country. The coalition’s recommendations will be focused on the six core issue areas:

  1. Creating an interoperable and modern data and technology infrastructure
  2. Building workforce capacity
  3. Addressing health equity and promoting racial healing and transformation
  4. Strengthening public health law and governance to support a modern system
  5. Effectively and efficiently financing local, state, and territorial governmental public health functions
  6. Catalyzing cross-sectoral partnerships and community engagement

To inform this work, the coalition invites all state and local public health employees, community-based organization leaders, staff, and constituents to complete a short survey, which is being conducted in partnership with Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The survey deadline is Friday, August 20.

The Bipartisan Policy Center, in partnership with coalition members, will conduct research, interviews, town halls, listening sessions, and multiple roundtable discussions with federal, state, and local partners as well as public health professionals from other sectors to develop a shared vision and operational framework for a robust public health system. The project will also be influenced by a public health advisory committee composed of national public health leaders.

A bipartisan task force comprised of current and federal, state, and local government officials and representatives from the health care and private sectors will review all input and develop a set of recommendations to be released in a final report by the end of the year.

Additional information about this work is available here.

Newsom Proclaims State of Emergency in Trinity, Tehama, and Shasta Counties Due to Fires

On Tuesday, Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency for Trinity County due to the McFarland and Monument fires; Tehama County due to the McFarland and Dixie fires; and Shasta County due to the McFarland Fire. According to the Governor’s Office, the fires have collectively burned nearly 100,000 acres, destroyed homes, and caused the evacuation of thousands of residents.

Additional information is available here.