The NSH Board of Directors signed on to a coalition letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention initiative coordinated by the American Dental Association and the American Society for Clinical Pathology requesting CDC clarification that non-physical laboratory staff is covered under the Phase 1a COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
The CDC workgroup charged with making vaccine rollout recommendations, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, has considered two primary goals in its deliberations; the prevention of morbidity and mortality, and the preservation of societal functioning. With this in mind, on December 1, 2020, the CDC announced that Phase 1a of vaccine rollout should include long term care facility residents and health care personnel. The goal of the coalition letter NSH signed, was to receive clarification that dental, laboratory, and autopsy personnel are among the health care providers recommended for inclusion in Phase 1a, under the broad term of “health care personnel”.
The good news is that the CDC confirmed that dental offices and medical laboratories are included in their Phase 1a recommendations – and they have posted a web page identifying each by the NAICS code(s). Of concern is that CDC did not specifically address non-physician autopsy personnel. Upon reviewing the NAICS codes referenced in CDC’s clarification, it seems plausible that at least some of these professionals might be covered under the medical laboratory umbrella. ASCP is reaching out to CDC to learn more, and we will report back with any updates as we receive them.
As identified in the NAICS codes, the next phases of the CDC’s proposed rollout plan include persons 75+ and frontline essential workers in Phase 1b. Phase 1c will include persons 65-74, persons 16-64 with high risk medical conditions, and other essential workers.
To further understand the impact of COVID-19 in 2021, NSH is conducting a follow up to its 2020 COVID surveys. This updated survey will address the impact of COVID on histology work, whether you plan on receiving the vaccine, and any limitations on travel. Please complete this survey to help NSH provide our histology community with education and resources that best meet their needs.
Access the coalition letter HERE.
Access the CDC response HERE.