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1.
J Adolesc Health ; 71(6): 673-678, 2022 Dec.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2105242

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: The first vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) for adolescents 16 years and older in the United States received Emergency Use Authorization in December 2020. Soon after its approval, parents expressed concerns about vaccine safety for adolescents. Similar concerns about vaccine safety partially explain suboptimal human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine uptake. This qualitative study explores similarities and differences in parents' attitudes about these two vaccines. METHODS: Parents were recruited through social media and at health centers in Alabama. Semi-structured interviews with parents of adolescents aged 9-17 years were conducted before and after Alabama expanded age eligibility to those 16 and older. Topics included knowledge about HPV and COVID-19 vaccines, and parents' intentions to have children vaccinated. Interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis. RESULTS: From March 11, 2021 to April 24, 2021, 21 in-depth interviews were conducted. Parents discussed the importance of HPV and COVID-19 vaccines for protecting their children's health but differences between the two related to community protection. Parents were concerned about vaccine safety but media coverage about the COVID-19 vaccine led to more favorable attitudes about the benefits of vaccination, which was not observed for HPV vaccines. Instead for HPV vaccination, parents wanted their healthcare providers' opinions about the vaccine before making a vaccination decision. DISCUSSION: Parents had similar concerns about HPV and COVID-19 vaccines. Although provider recommendations can improve vaccine uptake, local news reports were seen to have a positive impact on COVID-19 vaccine acceptance in lieu of provider recommendation. Disseminating information online could be beneficial to promote HPV and COVID-19 vaccines.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Papillomavirus Infections , Papillomavirus Vaccines , Adolescent , Child , Humans , United States , COVID-19 Vaccines , Papillomavirus Infections/prevention & control , COVID-19/prevention & control , Patient Acceptance of Health Care , SARS-CoV-2 , Parents , Vaccination , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
2.
BMC Public Health ; 22(1): 1963, 2022 10 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2089181

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Low engagement in contact tracing for COVID-19 dramatically reduces its impact, but little is known about how experiences, environments and characteristics of cases and contacts influence engagement. METHODS: We recruited a convenience sample of COVID-19 cases and contacts from the New Haven Health Department's contact tracing program for interviews about their contact tracing experiences. We analyzed transcripts thematically, organized themes using the Capability, Opportunity, Motivation, Behavior (COM-B) model, and identified candidate interventions using the linked Behavior Change Wheel Framework. RESULTS: We interviewed 21 cases and 12 contacts. Many felt physically or psychologically incapable of contact tracing participation due to symptoms or uncertainty about protocols. Environmental factors and social contacts also influenced engagement. Finally, physical symptoms, emotions and low trust in and expectations of public health authorities influenced motivation to participate. CONCLUSION: To improve contact tracing uptake, programs should respond to clients' physical and emotional needs; increase clarity of public communications; address structural and social factors that shape behaviors and opportunities; and establish and maintain trust. We identify multiple potential interventions that may help achieve these goals.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Contact Tracing , Humans , Contact Tracing/methods , Qualitative Research , Public Health , Motivation
3.
The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine ; 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-2045480

ABSTRACT

Purpose The first vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) for adolescents 16 years and older in the United States received Emergency Use Authorization in December 2020. Soon after its approval, parents expressed concerns about vaccine safety for adolescents. Similar concerns about vaccine safety partially explain suboptimal human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine uptake. This qualitative study explores similarities and differences in parents’ attitudes about these two vaccines. Methods Parents were recruited through social media and at health centers in Alabama. Semi-structured interviews with parents of adolescents aged 9–17 years were conducted before and after Alabama expanded age eligibility to those 16 and older. Topics included knowledge about HPV and COVID-19 vaccines, and parents’ intentions to have children vaccinated. Interviews were analyzed using thematic analysis. Results From March 11, 2021 to April 24, 2021, 21 in-depth interviews were conducted. Parents discussed the importance of HPV and COVID-19 vaccines for protecting their children’s health but differences between the two related to community protection. Parents were concerned about vaccine safety but media coverage about the COVID-19 vaccine led to more favorable attitudes about the benefits of vaccination, which was not observed for HPV vaccines. Instead for HPV vaccination, parents wanted their healthcare providers’ opinions about the vaccine before making a vaccination decision. Discussion Parents had similar concerns about HPV and COVID-19 vaccines. Although provider recommendations can improve vaccine uptake, local news reports were seen to have a positive impact on COVID-19 vaccine acceptance in lieu of provider recommendation. Disseminating information online could be beneficial to promote HPV and COVID-19 vaccines.

4.
JAMA Netw Open ; 5(3): e220935, 2022 03 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1849927

ABSTRACT

Importance: The emergence of the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant of SARS-CoV-2 has led to increases in both infections and hospitalizations among adolescents. Little is known about the effectiveness of the BNT162b2 vaccine in adolescents in the general population, as opposed to a clinical trial population. Objective: To estimate the effectiveness of the BNT162b2 vaccine in adolescents aged 12 to 18 years. Design, Setting, and Participants: This was a matched case-control study among adolescents (aged 12-18 years) who had results from a SARS-CoV-2 reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test. Immunization histories, relevant clinical data, and RT-PCR test results were obtained from the Yale New Haven Health System's medical records between June 1, 2021, and August 15, 2021, when the Delta variant caused 92% of infections in Connecticut. Case participants were defined as adolescents who had a positive test result and an associated medical encounter. Control participants were defined as those who had a negative test result and were matched to a case participant by age, county of residence, and date of testing. Exposures: Adolescents were defined as fully immunized if they had received 2 doses of vaccine at least 14 days before focal time. Main Outcomes and Measures: The primary outcome measured was SARS-CoV-2 infection confirmed by RT-PCR. The vaccine's effectiveness (VE) was estimated using matched odds ratios from conditional logistic regression models. Secondary measures included estimated VE by clinical symptoms, number of vaccine doses received, and elapsed time from immunization. Results: A total of 6901 adolescents were tested for SARS-CoV-2. The final sample comprised 186 case participants and 356 matched control participants. The median age was 14 (IQR, 13-16) years, 262 (48%) identified as female, 81 (15%) as Black, 82 (15%) as Hispanic, and 297 (55%) as White. Overall, 134 (25%) were fully immunized (case participants, 10 [5%]; control participants, 124 [35%]). The median time between immunization and the SARS-CoV-2 test was 62 days (range, 17-129 days). Within 4 months of receiving 2 doses, VE against any infection was estimated to be 91% (95% CI, 80%-96%); against asymptomatic infection, 85% (95% CI, 57%-95%). Effectiveness after a single dose was estimated to be 74% (95% CI, 18%-92%). Conclusions and Relevance: In this retrospective case-control study of US adolescents, 2 doses of BNT162b2 vaccine appeared to provide excellent protection for at least 4 months after immunization against both symptomatic and asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections.


Subject(s)
BNT162 Vaccine/administration & dosage , COVID-19/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Vaccine Efficacy , Adolescent , COVID-19/diagnosis , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , Case-Control Studies , Connecticut , Female , Humans , Male , Retrospective Studies , United States/epidemiology
5.
Commun Biol ; 5(1): 439, 2022 05 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1839575

ABSTRACT

SARS-CoV-2 variants shaped the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic and the discourse around effective control measures. Evaluating the threat posed by a new variant is essential for adapting response efforts when community transmission is detected. In this study, we compare the dynamics of two variants, Alpha and Iota, by integrating genomic surveillance data to estimate the effective reproduction number (Rt) of the variants. We use Connecticut, United States, in which Alpha and Iota co-circulated in 2021. We find that the Rt of these variants were up to 50% larger than that of other variants. We then use phylogeography to show that while both variants were introduced into Connecticut at comparable frequencies, clades that resulted from introductions of Alpha were larger than those resulting from Iota introductions. By monitoring the dynamics of individual variants throughout our study period, we demonstrate the importance of routine surveillance in the response to COVID-19.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , COVID-19/epidemiology , Genomics , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , United States/epidemiology
6.
Journal of behavioral medicine ; : 1-10, 2022.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-1698097

ABSTRACT

Health care provider recommendations are among the most important factors influencing parents’ decisions to vaccinate their adolescents. However, delivery of high-quality health care provider recommendations for vaccination is not universal. There is wide variation in the strength, timeliness and consistency of the delivery of recommendations for all adolescent vaccines. The factors that influence health care providers’ recommendations are multi-level and can be conceptualized in much the same way as vaccine acceptance among parents. Health care providers are influenced by their own attitudes and beliefs about a vaccine and also by the patient they are treating and by the community in which they practice as well as state and national level vaccine policy. We propose a multi-level framework for understanding the factors that influence health care providers’ recommendations at the individual, interpersonal and community level to both develop and adapt interventions to improve providers’ recommendations.

7.
JMIR Form Res ; 5(10): e31086, 2021 Oct 28.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1443993

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Many have proposed the use of Bluetooth technology to help scale up contact tracing for COVID-19. However, much remains unknown about the accuracy of this technology in real-world settings, the attitudes of potential users, and the differences between delivery formats (mobile app vs carriable or wearable devices). OBJECTIVE: We pilot tested 2 separate Bluetooth contact tracing technologies on a university campus to evaluate their sensitivity and specificity, and to learn from the experiences of the participants. METHODS: We used a convergent mixed methods study design, and participants included graduate students and researchers working on a university campus during June and July 2020. We conducted separate 2-week pilot studies for each Bluetooth technology. The first was for a mobile phone app ("app pilot"), and the second was for a small electronic "tag" ("tag pilot"). Participants validated a list of Bluetooth-identified contacts daily and reported additional close contacts not identified by Bluetooth. We used these data to estimate sensitivity and specificity. Participants completed a postparticipation survey regarding appropriateness, usability, acceptability, and adherence, and provided additional feedback via free text. We used tests of proportions to evaluate differences in survey responses between participants from each pilot, paired t tests to measure differences between compatible survey questions, and qualitative analysis to evaluate the survey's free-text responses. RESULTS: Among 25 participants in the app pilot, 53 contact interactions were identified by Bluetooth and an additional 61 by self-report. Among 17 participants in the tag pilot, 171 contact interactions were identified by Bluetooth and an additional 4 by self-report. The tag had significantly higher sensitivity compared with the app (46/49, 94% vs 35/61, 57%; P<.001), as well as higher specificity (120/126, 95% vs 123/141, 87%; P=.02). Most participants felt that Bluetooth contact tracing was appropriate on campus (26/32, 81%), while significantly fewer participants felt that using other technologies, such as GPS or Wi-Fi, was appropriate (17/31, 55%; P=.02). Most participants preferred technology developed and managed by the university rather than a third party (27/32, 84%) and preferred not to have tracing apps on their personal phones (21/32, 66%), due to "concerns with privacy." There were no significant differences in self-reported adherence rates across pilots. CONCLUSIONS: Convenient and carriable Bluetooth technology may improve tracing efficiency while alleviating privacy concerns by shifting data collection away from personal devices. With accuracy comparable to, and in this case, superior to, mobile phone apps, such approaches may be suitable for workplace or school settings with the ability to purchase and maintain physical devices.

8.
Front Public Health ; 9: 721952, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1399196

ABSTRACT

Background: Contact tracing is a core element of the public health response to emerging infectious diseases including COVID-19. Better understanding the implementation context of contact tracing for pandemics, including individual- and systems-level predictors of success, is critical to preparing for future epidemics. Methods: We carried out a prospective implementation study of an emergency volunteer contact tracing program established in New Haven, Connecticut between April 4 and May 19, 2020. We assessed the yield and timeliness of case and contact outreach in reference to CDC benchmarks, and identified individual and programmatic predictors of successful implementation using multivariable regression models. We synthesized our findings using the RE-AIM implementation framework. Results: Case investigators interviewed only 826 (48%) of 1,705 cases and were unable to reach 545 (32%) because of incomplete information and 334 (20%) who missed or declined repeated outreach calls. Contact notifiers reached just 687 (28%) of 2,437 reported contacts, and were unable to reach 1,597 (66%) with incomplete information and 153 (6%) who missed or declined repeated outreach calls. The median time-to-case-interview was 5 days and time-to-contact-notification 8 days. However, among notified contacts with complete time data, 457 (71%) were reached within 6 days of exposure. The least likely groups to be interviewed were elderly (adjusted relative risk, aRR 0.74, 95% CI 0.61-0.89, p = 0.012, vs. young adult) and Black/African-American cases (aRR 0.88, 95% CI 0.80-0.97, pairwise p = 0.01, vs. Hispanic/Latinx). However, ties between cases and their contacts strongly influenced contact notification success (Intraclass Correlation Coefficient (ICC) 0.60). Surging caseloads and high volunteer turnover (case investigator n = 144, median time from sign-up to retirement from program was 4 weeks) required the program to supplement the volunteer workforce with paid public health nurses. Conclusions: An emergency volunteer-run contact tracing program fell short of CDC benchmarks for time and yield, largely due to difficulty collecting the information required for outreach to cases and contacts. To improve uptake, contact tracing programs must professionalize the workforce; better integrate testing and tracing services; capitalize on positive social influences between cases and contacts; and address racial and age-related disparities through enhanced community engagement.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Contact Tracing , Aged , Humans , Prospective Studies , Public Health , SARS-CoV-2
9.
PLoS One ; 16(5): e0251033, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1216959

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Contact tracing is an important tool for suppressing COVID-19 but has been difficult to adapt to the conditions of a public health emergency. This study explored the experiences and perspectives of volunteer contact tracers in order to identify facilitators, challenges, and novel solutions for implementing COVID-19 contact tracing. METHODS: As part of a study to evaluate an emergently established volunteer contact tracing program for COVID-19 in New Haven, Connecticut, April-June 2020, we conducted focus groups with 36 volunteer contact tracers, thematically analyzed the data, and synthesized the findings using the RE-AIM implementation framework. RESULTS: To successfully reach cases and contacts, participants recommended identifying clients' outreach preferences, engaging clients authentically, and addressing sources of mistrust. Participants felt that the effectiveness of successful isolation and quarantine was contingent on minimizing delays in reaching clients and on systematically assessing and addressing their nutritional, financial, and housing needs. They felt that successful adoption of a volunteer-driven contact tracing model depended on the ability to recruit self-motivated contact tracers and provide rapid training and consistent, supportive supervision. Participants noted that implementation could be enhanced with better management tools, such as more engaging interview scripts, user-friendly data management software, and protocols for special situations and populations. They also emphasized the value of coordinating outreach efforts with other involved providers and agencies. Finally, they believed that long-term maintenance of a volunteer-driven program requires monetary or educational incentives to sustain participation. CONCLUSIONS: This is one of the first studies to qualitatively examine implementation of a volunteer-run COVID-19 contact tracing program. Participants identified facilitators, barriers, and potential solutions for improving implementation of COVID-19 contact tracing in this context. These included standardized communication skills training, supportive supervision, and peer networking to improve implementation, as well as greater cooperation with outside agencies, flexible scheduling, and volunteer incentives to promote sustainability.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , Contact Tracing , Program Evaluation , Adult , COVID-19/pathology , COVID-19/virology , Female , Focus Groups , Humans , Interviews as Topic , Male , Public Health , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , United States , Volunteers/psychology
10.
Emerg Infect Dis ; 27(5): 1288-1295, 2021 05.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1202175

ABSTRACT

Nursing homes house populations that are highly vulnerable to coronavirus disease. Point prevalence surveys (PPSs) provide information on the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 infection status of staff and residents in nursing homes and enable isolation of infectious persons to halt disease spread. We collected 16 weeks of public health surveillance data on a subset of nursing homes (34/212) in Connecticut, USA. We fit a Poisson regression model to evaluate the association between incidence and time since serial PPS onset, adjusting for decreasing community incidence and other factors. Nursing homes conducted a combined total of 205 PPSs in staff and 232 PPSs in residents. PPS was associated with 41%-80% reduction in incidence rate in nursing homes. Our findings provide support for the use of repeated PPSs in nursing home staff and residents, combined with strong infection prevention measures such as cohorting, in contributing to outbreak control.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Connecticut/epidemiology , Humans , Nursing Homes , Prevalence
11.
Vaccine ; 39(20): 2731-2735, 2021 05 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1193499

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has significantly affected utilization of preventative health care, including vaccines. We aimed to assess HPV vaccination rates during the pandemic, and conduct a simulation model-based analysis to estimate the impact of current coverage and future pandemic recovery scenarios on disease outcomes. The model population included females and males of all ages in the US. The model compares pre-COVID vaccine uptake to 3 reduced coverage scenarios with varying recovery speed. Vaccine coverage was obtained from Truven Marketscan™. Substantially reduced coverage between March-August 2020 was observed compared to 2018-2019. The model predicted that 130,853 to 213,926 additional cases of genital warts; 22,503 to 48,157 cases of CIN1; 48,682 to 110,192 cases of CIN2/3; and 2,882 to 6,487 cases of cervical cancer will occur over the next 100 years, compared to status quo. Providers should plan efforts to recover HPV vaccination and minimize potential long-term consequences.


Subject(s)
Alphapapillomavirus , COVID-19 , Papillomavirus Infections , Papillomavirus Vaccines , Uterine Cervical Neoplasms , COVID-19 Vaccines , Female , Humans , Male , Papillomavirus Infections/epidemiology , Papillomavirus Infections/prevention & control , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology , Uterine Cervical Neoplasms/epidemiology , Uterine Cervical Neoplasms/prevention & control , Vaccination , Vaccination Coverage
12.
Am J Public Health ; 111(1): 54-57, 2021 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-937306

ABSTRACT

Contact tracing was one of the core public health strategies implemented during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic. In this essay, we describe the rapid establishment of a volunteer contact tracing program in New Haven, Connecticut. We describe successes of the program and challenges that were faced. Going forward, contact tracing efforts can best be supported by increased funding to state and local health departments for a stable workforce and use of evidence-based technological innovations.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/transmission , Contact Tracing , Public Health/economics , Volunteers/education , Connecticut , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Humans
13.
MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep ; 69(15): 458-464, 2020 04 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-42192

ABSTRACT

Since SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), was first detected in December 2019 (1), approximately 1.3 million cases have been reported worldwide (2), including approximately 330,000 in the United States (3). To conduct population-based surveillance for laboratory-confirmed COVID-19-associated hospitalizations in the United States, the COVID-19-Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network (COVID-NET) was created using the existing infrastructure of the Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Network (FluSurv-NET) (4) and the Respiratory Syncytial Virus Hospitalization Surveillance Network (RSV-NET). This report presents age-stratified COVID-19-associated hospitalization rates for patients admitted during March 1-28, 2020, and clinical data on patients admitted during March 1-30, 2020, the first month of U.S. surveillance. Among 1,482 patients hospitalized with COVID-19, 74.5% were aged ≥50 years, and 54.4% were male. The hospitalization rate among patients identified through COVID-NET during this 4-week period was 4.6 per 100,000 population. Rates were highest (13.8) among adults aged ≥65 years. Among 178 (12%) adult patients with data on underlying conditions as of March 30, 2020, 89.3% had one or more underlying conditions; the most common were hypertension (49.7%), obesity (48.3%), chronic lung disease (34.6%), diabetes mellitus (28.3%), and cardiovascular disease (27.8%). These findings suggest that older adults have elevated rates of COVID-19-associated hospitalization and the majority of persons hospitalized with COVID-19 have underlying medical conditions. These findings underscore the importance of preventive measures (e.g., social distancing, respiratory hygiene, and wearing face coverings in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain)† to protect older adults and persons with underlying medical conditions, as well as the general public. In addition, older adults and persons with serious underlying medical conditions should avoid contact with persons who are ill and immediately contact their health care provider(s) if they have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html) (5). Ongoing monitoring of hospitalization rates, clinical characteristics, and outcomes of hospitalized patients will be important to better understand the evolving epidemiology of COVID-19 in the United States and the clinical spectrum of disease, and to help guide planning and prioritization of health care system resources.

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