What We're Reading: South Africa Suspends AstraZeneca Vaccine Use; Mask Mandates Reduced Hospitalizations; VBID Office Hours

February 8, 2021
AJMC Staff

South Africa suspends inoculations with AstraZeneca's coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine; mask mandates linked with reduction in COVID-19 hospitalizations; VBID's monthly office hours to be held this week.

South Africa Suspends AstraZeneca Vaccinations

After preliminary data from a small study suggested that the AstraZeneca coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccine provided minimal protection against mild to moderate disease caused by the B.1.351 variant in South Africa, the country suspended plans to vaccinate its health care workers. Reported by The Associated Press, South Africa received its first 1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine last week, but will now transition to vaccinating its frontline workers with the vaccine manufactured by Johnson & Johnson. More than 90% of new cases in South Africa have the more contagious variant.

Mask Mandates Associated With Reduction in COVID-19 Hospitalizations

According to a study published last Friday by the CDC, states and counties that implemented mask mandates exhibited a significant decline in hospitalizations due to COVID-19 symptoms in the weeks after the requirements became active. Reported by The Hill, hospitalization growth rates dropped slightly in the first 3 weeks after the mandates took effect, and after 3 weeks, they declined by nearly 5%, dropping most significantly among Americans aged 18 to 64. They declined the least for those over the age of 65.

VBID Office Hours to Be Held This Week

This week, the Value-Based Insurance Design (VBID) Model team will host its monthly office hours, in which presenters will provide technical and operational support on the VBID Model, as well as the Hospice Benefit Component and the application cycle for eligible Medicare Advantage (MA) organizations seeking to participate in the MA VBID Model in 2022. Set for Thursday, February 11, at 4:00 pm EST, the session will answer questions received in advance to the VBID mailbox and attendees will be able to ask additional questions.