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COVID-19 update: Feb. 17, 2022

COVID-19 update: Feb. 17, 2022

Resources for members to share with patients

To help you share updates and resources about COVID-19 prevention with your patients, please see the new “patient-friendly information” section below. We encourage you to copy and use this resource in your communications about COVID-19 prevention.

Even in a time of evolving clinical understanding of COVID-19 precautions, it is important for transplant programs to communicate proactively and systematically with transplant candidates and recipients on ways to prevent COVID-19 transmission and to monitor themselves for potential exposure. Many patients are particularly seeking guidance on vaccination, in light of new recommendations for COVID-19 vaccination for immunocompromised individuals.

UNOS is working with medical and scientific organizations and public health agencies to provide transplant hospitals with updated information to guide patient care. We will continue to update the COVID-19 resource pages on the OPTN and UNOS websites, so please check back frequently for news and updates you can use to help keep your patients informed.

As always, individual transplant programs are in the best position to advise patients in their care regarding vaccination, masking and social distancing.

Site surveys to gradually transition to in-person visits starting in March

After two years of successful virtual site surveys since the start of the pandemic, UNOS Member Quality is preparing for the community’s phased return to onsite review visits.

The site survey teams are planning a slow reintroduction of onsite interactions, with transplant hospitals beginning in late March. Member Quality hopes to conduct all routine reviews for member organizations onsite by mid-2022. However, during this time we will continue to monitor the pandemic conditions and will be prepared to pivot back to our virtual survey model if needed.

UNOS site survey teams received overwhelmingly positive feedback about the virtual site survey experience, while also getting feedback that members miss the relationship-building opportunities offered by in-person visits. While COVID-19 continues to present us with enormous challenges in terms of connecting with members, it also offers new lessons. Member Quality is working to develop a hybrid model that will let the highest-impact work be conducted at the member facility.

Please email MQfeedback@unos.org with any questions about site surveys.

AST updates COVID-19 vaccine FAQ sheet

The American Society of Transplantation (AST) has updated their COVID-19: Vaccine FAQ Sheet with the latest information and data.

FDA advisory committee postpones meeting to discuss authorizing the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for young children

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has been notified by Pfizer (FDA) that new data have recently emerged regarding its emergency use authorization request for the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine in children 6 months through 4 years of age. Therefore, the FDA is postponing the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee meeting originally scheduled for Feb. 15 to allow the agency to consider the additional data.

Read more about this update here.


Reminders

Winter 2022 public comment is open

Reinstatement of updates to candidate data during the COVID-19 emergency is open for public comment. Read all the public comment proposals and provide feedback on the OPTN website.

FDA gives full approval to the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, which had been widely available under an emergency use authorization granted Dec. 2020, has now been given full approval by the FDA. This approval means the vaccine meets the FDA’s standards for safety, effectiveness and manufacturing quality. Read the news release from the FDA here.

NIH releases new COVID-19 treatment guidelines

The National Institute of Health (NIH) has updated their Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Guidelines with the latest developments in COVID-19 treatment for health care providers and patients.

Some recent additions:

  • Guidance on the prioritization of patients for outpatient therapeutic COVID-19 treatments when there are supply constraints
  • Updates to the statement on therapies for high-risk, non-hospitalized patients with mild to moderate COVID-19
  • Statement on the prophylaxis Evusheld for COVID-19 prevention

Read all of the NIH COVID-19 treatment guidelines here.

The latest data on organ donation and transplant in the U.S.

Find high-level data on transplants, deceased donors recovered, patients added to the waitlist and patients temporarily moved to inactive waitlist status.


Questions

  • For COVID-19 related policy and operational questions, email member.questions@unos.org
  • For information about winter 2022 virtual regional meetings and registration details, click here.
  • For information and updates about the status of in-person vs. virtual OPTN committee meetings, check the OPTN calendar of events.

 

Patient-friendly information for members to share

To help you share updates and resources about COVID-19 prevention with your patients, here is information you can copy and add to your regular communications. Find more information at TransplantLiving.org.


Transplant patients: Looking for answers to questions about COVID-19 and transplant?

Go to TransplantLiving.org for the latest news and resources, including:

Frequently asked questions and answers

  • What does it mean to be “immunocompromised”?
  • Why are transplant recipients considered more vulnerable to illness like COVID-19?
  • What COVID-19 treatments are available for those who are immunosuppressed?

Vaccine information

  • American Society of Transplantation (AST) updates COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ Sheet
  • National Institute of Health (NIH) offers statement on the prophylaxis Evusheld for COVID-19 prevention
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine

Webinars

  • The COVID-19 Vaccine: What does it mean for our transplant recipient children? Presented by Transplant Families and the American Society of Transplantation (AST)
  • COVID-19 and Transplant: Patient questions answered. Hosted by UNOS Chief Medical Officer, David Klassen, M.D.

Spanish language resources

  • Information about COVID-19 vaccines for Hispanic patients from the American Society of Transplantation (AST)

 

This information is not intended as specific health advice. If you have more detailed questions, contact your medical provider.

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