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COVID-19 update: Jan. 6, 2022

COVID-19 update: Jan. 6, 2022

Winter 2022 regional meetings to be virtual

In order to protect the safety of our community and their patients during the wave of Omicron infections occurring right now, the OPTN has changed all regional meetings to virtual meetings. Please visit your region’s page for more information about your specific meeting.

Registration and additional meeting details are also available on your region’s webpage. Learn more about regional meetings.

Site surveys to remain virtual in January 2022

Member Quality site survey teams are monitoring pandemic conditions as they plan the slow reintroduction of onsite interactions. While Member Quality hopes to conduct all routine reviews for all member organizations onsite beginning in 2022, all January 2022 site surveys will be conducted virtually in order to ensure the health and well-being of members and their patients as well as our site survey staff. We will continue to monitor the pandemic conditions and keep you informed of any changes.

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.

Update: FDA takes multiple actions to expand use of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has amended the emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine to:

  • Expand the use of a single booster dose to include use in individuals 12 through 15 years of age
  • Shorten the time between the completion of primary vaccination of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and a booster dose to at least five months
  • Allow for a third primary series dose for certain immunocompromised children 5 through 11 years of age

For more detail, read the FDA statement.


Reminders

Report operational issues related to the COVID-19 outbreak

The OPTN is collecting information about challenges and issues created by the outbreak in order to evaluate further improvements or assistance that HHS, the OPTN and UNOS can provide. Please use this survey tool to report interruptions or issues.

Committee meetings

The health and safety of OPTN members is a priority for UNOS. The list of all scheduled meetings will be updated on the calendar of events to reflect updates related to in-person vs. virtual meetings.

FDA approves antibody-based COVID-19 prophylaxis for immunocompromised people

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an emergency use authorization for a COVID-19 pre-exposure prophylaxis that combines two different monoclonal antibodies. The therapy is approved only for immunocompromised adults and adolescents who do not currently have COVID-19 and have not been exposed recently to the virus. For more detail, read the FDA statement.

Updated CDC guidance addresses potential COVID-19 vaccine booster for some immunocompromised people

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated interim guidance regarding COVID-19 vaccination for moderately to severely immunocompromised people. The guidance says that at the discretion of the clinical team, a booster for immunocompromised adults may be provided six months or more after they have received a third dose of an mRNA vaccine, or at least two months after they have received a Johnson & Johnson vaccine. For more detail, read the CDC guidance.

Webinar on the COVID-19 vaccine and transplant recipient children

Transplant Families and the American Society of Transplantation (AST) recently held a webinar for parents of pediatric organ recipients to share information related to the COVID-19 vaccination and children. Topics included:

  • Vaccination of pediatric transplant recipients (ages 5-11) and the importance of encouraging vaccination for those around them
  • Information on what the transplant infectious diseases community has learned, and specific medical effects COVID-19 may have on pediatric patients
  • Vaccine-induced myocarditis

View the webinar

ASTS position statement on the role of COVID-19 vaccination for transplant candidates and recipients

The American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS) continues to recommend routine vaccination for all organ recipients (along with timely boosters). It also recommends vaccines for those on the waiting list (if possible within time limitations). These recommendations are consistent with ASTS’ existing “routine standards of care,” which focus on patient safety by reducing known infectious disease prior to organ transplantation. Read more here.


Resources

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

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

Updated COVID-19 FAQs for patients

As the pandemic continues to impact our lifesaving mission, find our newly updated list of frequently asked questions and answers on Transplant Living.

American Society of Transplantation Spanish language COVID-19 resources

Spanish language COVID-19 resources from AST, including a COVID-19 Vaccines for Hispanic Patients and Transplants recording.


Questions

For COVID-19 related policy and operational questions, email member.questions@unos.org

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