Findings that COVID-19 vaccines are effective in preventing illness from variants have come as welcome news.
Researchers in Scotland and England confirmed what many had hoped for. The effectiveness of widely used coronavirus vaccines against variants is now known.
As one of the most common bloodborne pathogens, COVID-19’s most deadly days may finally be a thing of the past.
COVID-19: A Stark Reminder of the Cost of Pandemics
Of gravest concern for British scientists is the so-called Delta variant of COVID-19. The new variant was recently identified in India and has spread to at least 60 countries. Around 374,000 people have died from COVID-19 in India.
The easily transmissible variant caused the sharp rise of infections in India. Dr. Anthony Fauci recently said that variant makes up around 6% of local infections.
The spread of variants prompted Biden to state that vaccinations must continue. Especially among older children and young adults, he said.
The Case for Vaccinating 12+ Children
A recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation is a reminder of the challenges of getting the spread of COVID-19 under control. While around 60% of adults in the United States have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vax, children continue to lag in that critical area.
Children and teenagers rarely develop significant symptoms. But they can spread the virus to vulnerable populations.
Taking a “Wait and See” Approach
One-quarter of parents polled said they are taking a “wait and see” approach before having their children vaccinated. Around 18% stated that they will have their children vaccinated if required to do so by schools. Another quarter of parents said they do not intend to vaccinate their children.
Pharmaceutical Missteps Lead to Public Doubt
Possible links between blood clots and the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine have raised concerns about the safety of the vaccine. The New York Times recently reported on another misstep by the prominent vaccine manufacture.
The Food and Drug Administration recently required Johnson and Johnson to dump as many as 60 million COVID-19 vaccine doses. This happened after the FDA determined that the doses may be contaminated.
Children fare much better with infections than adults. Public health officials still urge parents to have their children vaccinated against COVID-19. Doing so prevents children from contracting the disease and spreading the bloodborne pathogen.
Will the United States Every Reach Herd Immunity?
Much hope was placed in herd immunity in 2020. Herd immunity relies on enough people in the United States becoming immune to protect those who are not immune.
Unfortunately, herd immunity remains elusive, and human behavior is partly to blame. Discussions on herd immunity can even motivate some people to avoid getting the vax.
“Why should I get vaccinated if herd immunity is coming?” some are asking.
Other barriers to herd immunity include the spread of virus variants. There are currently five identified variants in the United States, according to the CDC.
Vaccine hesitancy continues to be a significant barrier to attaining herd immunity in the United States. Polls vary, but around one-quarter of Americans say they will not undergo vaccination against COVID-19
Fighting the COVID-19 Pathogen: A Global Effort
Third-world countries continue to struggle to find adequate doses of COVID-19 vaccines. The leaders of the G7 group recently pledged nearly $1 billion to help poorer countries.
Stark Vaccination Rates Predicted for 2021
The Joint United Nations Program on HIV predicts that 3% of the world’s poorest nations can expect to be vaccinated by mid-2021. The group predicts that 20% of people in poor countries will be vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of the year. Those figures likely mean continued struggling for those nations.
COVAX: Leading the Global Fight Against COVID-19
Leading the effort to add equity to the vaccination effort is COVAX, which is working to provide free vaccinations to the world’s poor.
COVAX’s work will save around $375 billion in lost global revenue once vaccines are distributed on a large scale. The group recently announced an ambitious goal to provide 2 billion COVID-19 vaccinations in 2021.
Much Work to be Done to Vaccinate Poorer Countries
COVAX is calling on world leaders to continue funding COVAX initiatives. The group is asking countries to share excess doses immediately. Vaccine supply chains should be free of trade barriers and other restrictions.
Politics Plays Key Role in Vaccine Rollout
Brazil offers a stark reminder of the role that local politics plays in public health matters. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly downplayed the dangers of COVID-19. He has also questioned the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines.
He was recently fined for not wearing a facemask at a motorcycle rally, even as infection rates in his country surge. He is also committed to hosting the upcoming soccer tournament Copa America, despite criticism. Brazil has had 487,000 deaths related to COVID-19.
Will COVID-19 Ever Become Fully Eradicated?
For the same reason that flu seasons return every year, it is highly unlikely that the COVID-19 virus will ever completely disappear. While eradicating the virus may be unrealistic, a return to normal is now within sight, according to disease expert Anthony Fauci.
When 80% of the United States population is vaccinated, he recently stated, Americans can expect a return to pre-pandemic life by the end of 2021. That realization can’t come soon enough for struggling local businesses.
Most Common Bloodborne Pathogens Besides COVID-19
While the world’s attention remains on COVID-19, other diseases continue to circulate in the United States and abroad. Many were worried about a deadly blend of seasonal viruses, but the 2020-21 flu season was surprisingly light.
2021’s Mild Flu Season that Surprised Many
The typical flu season that began in late 2020 and continued through early 2021 was mild when COVID-19 cases were removed from the data. Scientists believe those surprising findings are due to mask-wearing and social distancing.
The absence of non-COVID-19 virus data may make predicting next year’s flu season more difficult. There will also be ramifications for the effectiveness of next year’s flu vaccines.
According to the CDC, the hospitalization rate for the 2020-2021 flu season (which did not factor in COVID-19 infections) was 0.7 per 100,000 people. That amounts to a 15-year low. While that trend is promising, it will likely not last.
Non-COVID-19 Pathogens Remain a Deadly Threat
Bloodborne pathogens besides COVID-19 remain a serious public health risk. Hepatitis B, for example, kills around 300,000 Americans per year. An estimated 1.2 million Americans have the disease, and many don’t even know it.
Like COVID-19, effective vaccines against Hepatitis B are available. Individuals who are at risk of contracting the virus should consult with their doctor about whether to get the vaccine.
The three most common bloodborne pathogens in the United are:
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Hepatitis B virus (HBV)
- Hepatitis C virus (HCV)
Healthcare workers are at particular risk of contracting a bloodborne pathogen. Infections can occur through injury while on the job (puncture wound) or exposure to infectious bodily fluids. This is one reason why frontline medical works are given bloodborne pathogens training.
What Is Bloodborne Pathogens Certification?
Worldwide attention on the COVID-19 pandemic has increased interest in bloodborne pathogens certification. The specialized training teaches practical steps to prevent the spread of infectious diseases. The certification is not limited to medical professionals.
Career Options that Reqire Bloodborne Pathogens Certification
Jobs that need some level of certification include tattoo artists and medical professionals. Other common jobs that need this training include:
- Nurses (all types)
- Medical assistants
- Dental assistants
- Facility cleaners
Any job that has the risk of exposure to infectious materials or blood will need this type of certification. Where there is blood, there is a need for professionals who can safely handle body fluids.
Any person who comes into contact with infectious materials risks contracting that disease. Proper training can save lives by preventing the spread of diseases. The certification process trains individuals to reduce their potential exposure to diseases. Lessons include tips on how to properly wear PPE and to take other preventative measures.
The OSHA sets standards for what must be taught as part of any bloodborne pathogens certification process.
Learn More About Bloodborne Pathogens Certification
Anywhere that has the potential for exposure to blood has the potential to spread dangerous infectious diseases. COVID-19 has been a reminder that bloodborne pathogens are not simply a threat to healthcare workers.
Fulfilling regulator requirements can be challenging. Fulfilling regulator requirements can be challenging. Our experts can teach you about common pathogens and other important facts.