Registration is Now Open for the 2021 VMS Annual & Collaborative Meeting - November 5th and 6th, 2021
The VMS, in collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics Vermont Chapter, Vermont Academy of Family Physicians and the Vermont Psychiatric Association will host the 2021 VMS Annual & Collaborative Meeting on November 5 and 6, 2021 at the Topnotch Resort in Stowe, VT! We are in the midst of planning this year’s exciting meeting, but you can register now here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/208th-vms-annual-and-collaborative-meeting-tickets-164335432703. If you are a medical student or resident, use code MEDRES2021 for 100% off your ticket.
Visit the VMS website for details and updates. This year's event has been streamlined and features both in-person and virtual options to participate. Make sure to book your room today with the VMS room block by calling Topnotch at 1.800.451.8686 or visiting here with code VTMD21. To register for the meeting click here.
Deadline Extended for VMS Leadership Award Nominations – August 6th, 2021
Who do you know that should receive an award for their outstanding leadership throughout the pandemic and beyond? We have extended the deadline for accepting nominations for our Annual Leadership Awards until August 6, 2021. To view the award categories and criteria click here. __________________________________________________________________________
VMS Signs Joint National Statement Supporting COVID-19 Vaccination Mandate for All Health Care Workers
The VMS has signed onto a joint statement urging requiring COVID-19 vaccination for all workers in health care and long-term care. The joint statement was issued early last week in response to the recent resurgence of COVID-19, driven by the delta variant, and has received support from over 100 health care organizations and societies. After unanimous approval from the VMS Council, the VMS joins health care organizations from across the nation in becoming a signatory, including: the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Hospital Association (AHA), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the American Nurses Association (ANA).
With hospitalizations and deaths once again rising throughout the United States due to COVID-19, vaccination is a proven, effective path to put the pandemic behind us and to avoid a return to stringent public health measures. However, many health care and long-term care workers remain unvaccinated. By requiring all health care workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, they will better protect themselves and their colleagues from the virus, along with those who are vulnerable, like children and the immunocompromised, their families, and the patients they care for. On Tuesday, August 3rd, 2021, the Darthmouth-Hitchcock Health Network, in New Hampshire, announced they will require all 13,000 employees to be fully vaccinated by the end of September.
Click here to read the full story
Click here for the VMS Press Release
If you are interested in more information about how your institution could put a mandate in place, see:
Mildred Reardon Medical Student Scholarship Open for Applications
Do you dream of becoming a Vermont doctor? See below to apply for a $10,000 scholarship for a rising 3rd year student committed to practicing medicine in Vermont. The Vermont Medical Society’s Education and Research Foundation (VMSERF) is now accepting applications for the Mildred Reardon scholarship, which awards $10,000 to a University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine third year student committed to practicing medicine in Vermont. The scholarship is made to a student interested in any specialty, with a preference for specialties in high need in Vermont. The scholarship is tuition-linked and is paid directly to the College of Medicine towards tuition. The scholarship award is given as part of the VMS Annual Meeting Awards Banquet, which will be held at Topnotch in Stowe on November 5th, 2021. Click here for more information and details on applying for the scholarship.__________________________________________________________________________
Scott Administration Releases Details on School Reopening
At Governor Scott’s weekly press conference today, the Governor, Education Secretary Dan French and Commissioner of Health Mark Levine discussed new advisory guidance that will apply to Vermont schools as they reopen this fall. The elements cannot be required as the state is no longer under a state of emergency and will be released in writing later this week. The recommendations will include:
- Stay home when sick
- Recommend schools require that all students and staff wear masks for the first several weeks of school, regardless of vaccination status
- No distance requirements
- After the first few weeks of school, recommend schools require masks until 80% of eligible students in a specific school receive their first dose
- There will be more guidance about how schools can determine their vaccination rates
- Once a school hits 80%, recommend schools require masks only for unvaccinated students and staff
- Masks will be required for all passengers on school busses
- Contract tracing, optional testing programs will continue
When asked about schools with mixed grades, Secretary French stated that most schools in Vermont divide at grade 6 but there may need for more specific guidance for schools with unique configurations. Currently, 71% of 12-17 year olds in Vermont are vaccinated and the state will be holding a number of school based vaccination clinics in the next several weeks to help reach the 80% goal.
Commissioner Levine and others also discussed the increase in cases due to the Delta variant. Of 56 specimens sequenced in July, 48 were the Delta variant, consistent with national data showing 85-90% of cases are due to Delta. Speakers emphasized that vaccination works and avoids nearly all severe symptoms, hospitalization or death. Despite CDC data now showing Chittenden County in the category of counties where indoor masks are recommended, no state guidance is changing and Commissioner Levine added that guidance remains that those who are unvaccinated do wear a mask when indoors and anyone else may want to wear a mask based on their risk factors, such as living with someone who is immunocompromised, living with children who cannot be vaccinated or when traveling to an area with more transmission. For additional notes, click here.
__________________________________________________________________________FDA Authorizes Extension of J&J COVID-19 Vaccine
The Food & Drug Administration has provided authorization of an extension of the shelf life for the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine from 4.5 months to 6 months. Ongoing stability assessment studies have demonstrated that the vaccine is stable at 6 months when refrigerated at temperatures of 36 – 46 degrees Fahrenheit (2 – 8 degrees Celsius). Vaccine providers should visit https://vaxcheck.jnj/ to confirm the latest expiration dates of vaccine, including those currently available for administration throughout the U.S. This extension applies to refrigerated vials of J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine that have been held in accordance with the manufacturer’s storage conditions. COVID-19 vaccines that are authorized under an EUA do not have fixed expiration dates. Clinicians should always check the manufacturer’s website to obtain the most up-to-date expiration dates for COVID-19 vaccines.__________________________________________________________________________
Arkansas Anti-transgender Bill Blocked by Federal Court
On July 21, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas issued a preliminary injunction blocking HB 1570, the Arkansas SAFE Act. The Act would have prohibited health care professionals from providing gender-affirming health care to transgender minors and was scheduled to go into effect on July 28. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), on behalf of families with transgender children and their providers, had challenged the law, alleging that it violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Bi-State Primary Care Food Insecurity Survey
Bi-State Primary Care Association is seeking to better understand the landscape of food insecurity screening in Vermont as a foundation for future projects to integrate food access as part of health care. Click here for a brief survey on food insecurity screening. If there is more than one screening policy at your organization, please feel free to forward this survey to others and/or complete it for multiple departments. If you have any questions, please contact Helen Labun at Bi-State Primary Care Association (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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