CDC/CMS/HHS/OSHA COVID-19 Updated Information – Last Week of January 2021

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HHS Amends PREP Act Declaration to Increase Workforce Authorized to Administer COVID-19 Vaccines was issued January 28, 2021.

“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today issued a fifth amendment to the Declaration under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) to add additional categories of qualified persons authorized to prescribe, dispense, and administer COVID-19 vaccines authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.”

“To respond to the nationwide public health emergency caused by COVID-19, the Biden Administration is broadening use of the PREP Act to expand the vaccination workforce quickly with additional qualified healthcare professionals,” said HHS Acting Secretary Norris Cochran. “As vaccine supply is made more widely available over the coming months, having additional vaccinators at the ready will help providers and state health departments meet the demand for vaccine and protect their communities more quickly.”

Among other things, the amendment:

  • Authorizes any healthcare provider who is licensed or certified in a state to prescribe, dispense, and/or administer COVID-19 vaccines in any other state or U.S. territory.
  • Authorizes any physician, registered nurse, or practical nurse whose license or certification expired within the past five years to prescribe, dispense and/or administer COVID-19 vaccines in any state or U.S. territory so long as the license or certification was active and in good standing prior to the date it went inactive.
  • Requires any healthcare professional described above to complete Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Vaccine Training and, for healthcare providers who are not currently practicing or whose license or certification is expired, requires an on-site observation period by a currently practicing healthcare professional.

Under the PREP Act and the Declaration, a qualified person is a covered person. Subject to certain limitations, a covered person is immune from suit and liability under federal and state law with respect to all claims for loss resulting from the administration or use of a covered countermeasure if a declaration under the PREP Act has been issued with respect to such countermeasure.


US Department of Labor issues stronger workplace guidance on coronavirus was issued by OSHA on January 29, 2021.

Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace” provides updated guidance and recommendations, and outlines existing safety and health standards. OSHA is providing the recommendations to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace.

“More than 400,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and millions of people are out of work as a result of this crisis. Employers and workers can help our nation fight and overcome this deadly pandemic by committing themselves to making their workplaces as safe as possible,” said Senior Counselor to the Secretary of Labor M. Patricia Smith. “The recommendations in OSHA’s updated guidance will help us defeat the virus, strengthen our economy and bring an end to the staggering human and economic toll that the coronavirus has taken on our nation.”

Implementing a coronavirus prevention program is the most effective way to reduce the spread of the virus. The guidance announced today recommends several essential elements in a prevention program:

  • Conduct a hazard assessment.
  • Identify control measures to limit the spread of the virus.
  • Adopt policies for employee absences that don’t punish workers as a way to encourage potentially infected workers to remain home.
  • Ensure that coronavirus policies and procedures are communicated to both English and non-English speaking workers.
  • Implement protections from retaliation for workers who raise coronavirus-related concerns.

“OSHA is updating its guidance to reduce the risk of transmission of the coronavirus and improve worker protections so businesses can operate safely and employees can stay safe and working,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Jim Frederick.

The guidance details key measures for limiting coronavirus’s spread, including ensuring infected or potentially infected people are not in the workplace, implementing and following physical distancing protocols and using surgical masks or cloth face coverings. It also provides guidance on use of personal protective equipment, improving ventilation, good hygiene and routine cleaning.

This guidance is not a standard or regulation, and it creates no new legal obligations. It contains recommendations as well as descriptions of existing mandatory safety and health standards. The recommendations are advisory in nature, informational in content and are intended to assist employers in recognizing and abating hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm as part of their obligation to provide a safe and healthful workplace.


CDC requires wearing of face masks while on public transportation and at transportation hubs was issued January 30, 2021 with the corresponding order in effect on February 1, 2021 at 11:59 pm (EST).

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge in the United States, CDC is implementing provisions of President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel and will require the wearing of masks by all travelers into, within, or out of the United States, e.g., on airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares. The mask requirement also applies to travelers in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and seaports; train, bus, and subway stations; and any other areas that provide transportation.  Transportation operators must require all persons onboard to wear masks when boarding, disembarking, and for the duration of travel. Operators of transportation hubs must require all persons to wear a mask when entering or on the premises of a transportation hub.

This action is to further prevent spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 and to further support state and local health authorities, transportation partners, and conveyance operators to keep passengers, employees, and communities safe.”

For more information on the Order or to view frequently asked questions, visit: Federal Register Notice: Wearing of face masks while on conveyances and at transportation hubs.


Vaccinate with Confidence looks to be a great CDC website to promote trust and confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines.

“Vaccine confidence is the trust that patients, their families, and providers have in:

  • Recommended vaccines
  • Providers who administer vaccines
  • Processes and policies that lead to vaccine development, licensure or authorization, manufacturing, and recommendations for use

Many factors influence vaccine decision-making, including cultural, social, and political factors; individual and group factors; and vaccine-specific factors. However, confidence in the vaccines, the vaccinator, and the system all support the decision to get vaccinated.”

There’s a lot of information on this website, including:


Mary Madison, RN, RAC-CT, CDP
Clinical Consultant | Briggs Healthcare

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