269: Urging COVID-19 Booster Uptake

Dr. Steven Stack, ASTHO President-Elect, discusses the new COVID-19 booster designed to protect against the latest variants; Dr. Anne Zink, ASTHO President, explains the need to bring health care and public health closer together in an ASTHO blog...


Dr. Steven Stack, ASTHO President-Elect, discusses the new COVID-19 booster designed to protect against the latest variants; Dr. Anne Zink, ASTHO President, explains the need to bring health care and public health closer together in an ASTHO blog article; Carolyn Wester, Director of the Division of Viral Hepatitis with the CDC, looks at a new CDC report that says not enough people diagnosed with Hepatitis C receive timely treatment; and The National Center for Healthy Housing and Regional Asthma Management and Prevention has released a new report to support home-based asthma services.

ASTHO Blog Article: A Q&A with Anne Zink, ASTHO’s New President

CDC Webpage: New CDC Data Reveal Less Than a Third of People Diagnosed with Hepatitis C Receive Timely Treatment

National Center for Healthy Housing Webpage: Unlocking the Power of Home-Based Asthma Services: Model Health Benefit Packages

ASTHO Webpage: Be in the Know

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Transcript

ROBERT JOHNSON:

This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Friday, September 23rd, 2022. I'm Robert Johnson.

Now, today's news from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

 

STEVEN STACK:

I would hope that most Americans would be open to going out and getting vaccinated so they can protect themselves and keep society in motion, and we can go through what I hope will be more normal holidays this holiday season

JOHNSON:

ASTHO president-elect Dr. Steven Stack of Kentucky on the new COVID-19 booster, an updated formula designed to protect against the latest variants.

STACK:

That's just like what we do with the flu shot every year. Every year, it changes to try to accommodate the newer strains in circulation. So, I think that the Food and Drug Administration and the Center for Disease Control were very thoughtful, and that experts made a thoughtful consideration of the evidence available. And I agree with their recommendation

JOHNSON:

Stack says Kentucky, like many jurisdictions, will promote COVID boosters and seasonal flu shots together.

STACK:

Our current plan is to do a focus campaign using social media, working with other partners in healthcare, both public health, hospitals, federally-qualified healthcare centers, and others.

And, of course, the opportunities we have to do press releases and activities with the governor, or when I or others are out communicating with the public to do a focused campaign from October 1st to about November 30th, urging all people in Kentucky to go out and get both their flu shot and their COVID booster.

 

JOHNSON:

ASTHO's new president Dr. Anne Zink of Alaska is thinking about the future as well. She talks about the need to bring healthcare and public health closer together in an ASTHO blog article, now online. You can read it using the link in the show notes.

 

A new CDC report says not enough people diagnosed with hepatitis C receive timely treatment.

Carolyn Wester is director of the CDC's Division of Viral Hepatitis.

CAROLYN WESTER:

Nearly a decade after this highly effective curative treatment was approved, that less than one in three people who are diagnosed and are continuously enrolled in insurance actually initiate treatment for hepatitis C within a year of diagnosis. And those numbers are even worse for individuals who are insured with Medicare or Medicaid.

JOHNSON:

Wester says the cost of treatment and restrictions imposed by insurance providers continue to pose challenges for patients.

WESTER:

Basically, everyone with Hepatitis C should have access to the treatment that cures this deadly infection. But we are seeing a lot of barriers. And we're seeing not only that not all insurance is equal when it comes to treating hepatitis C, but that treatment is missing certain key groups.

JOHNSON:

Wester adds public health leaders can help by urging policies that improve access to treatment.

WESTER:

Public health leaders, they have opportunities to work with policy makers, insurance commissioners, their Medicaid programs, and their infectious disease programs to make sure that, number one, CDC hepatitis C testing recommendations are implemented. And that includes universal testing among all adults at least once in a lifetime and pregnant persons during every pregnancy. But also working with those other parties to make sure that treatment eligibility restrictions and prior authorization requirements are removed.

JOHNSON:

You can read the CDC's report using the link in the show notes.

 

Another report just released promotes asthma home visiting services. O'Keyla Cooper has more.

O'KEYLA COOPER:

The National Center for Healthy Housing and Regional Asthma Management and Prevention have released a new report to support home-based asthma services. This new health benefits package will help equip healthcare plans and providers with the information needed to improve asthma management among their enrollees. You can find the full report in the show notes.

 

JOHNSON:

Also remember to sign up for ASTHO's Public Health Weekly email newsletter. It's the place to get more information about the news we report here on the newscast. There's a link to sign up in the show notes.

 

That'll do it for today's newscast. We're back Monday morning with more ASTHO news and information.

I'm Robert Johnson. You're listening to Public Health Review Morning Edition. Have a great weekend.

Steven Stack MD

Kentucky Commissioner for Public Health

Carolyn Wester MD MPH

Director, Division of Viral Hepatitis, CDC