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Maine Medicine Weekly Update
October 18, 2021

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FDA Advisory Committee Recommends Moderna, J&J Boosters. What You Need to Know

A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory committee voted unanimously in favor of a lower-dose Moderna COVID-19 vaccine booster on Thursday.

The recommendation from the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) was for a half booster of Moderna. Eligibility criteria was identical to eligibility criteria approved for Pfizer last month.

On Friday, the advisory committee voted unanimously on Friday to recommend a booster dose for the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.

Unlike the authorizations for boosters for the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, no restrictions were put on the J&J booster. Johnson & Johnson representatives told the panel that a second dose given to persons 18 and older either two months or six months after the first shot increased antibody levels.

More COVID Guidance & News

Maine CDC Memos: Planning Efforts for Moderna Booster and Pfizer Vaccine for 5-11-year-olds

Planning is underway in anticipation of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) decision regarding Moderna booster vaccines. As we await ACIP’s decision next week, we are continuing to work on our planning and preparedness efforts ahead of the final decision.


Maine CDC is also preparing for the potential approval of an EUA for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for youth ages 5-11 years old by outlining the key differences between the adult/adolescent formulation and the pediatric formulation. Read More

Draft Study Shows Moderna & Pfizer May Be Better Boost for J&J Recipients

A new National Institutes of Health (NIH) study suggested Moderna's or Pfizer's vaccine also work as a booster for J&J recipients and may benefit more from getting a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as their booster instead of another J&J shot. The study is preliminary and hasn't been peer reviewed.

People who received an mRNA-based booster vaccination had a four-fold increase in their neutralization response more frequently than those who were boosted with J&J's adenovirus vaccine. Read More

FDA Schedules Advisory Committee Meeting to Discuss COVID-19 Oral Treatment

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced an upcoming meeting of its Antimicrobial Drugs Advisory Committee (AMDAC) to discuss Merck and Ridgeback’s request for an emergency use authorization (EUA) for molnupiravir, an investigational antiviral drug to treat COVID-19.

On Nov. 30, the advisory committee will meet to discuss the available data supporting the use of molnupiravir to treat mild-to-moderate coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in adults who have tested positive for COVID-19, and who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death. Read More

Federal COVID Vaccine Mandate Rules Have Been Drafted

The federal COVID vaccine mandate for employers with 100 or more workers testing has moved one step closer to enforcement. OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) sent a finalized initial draft of the emergency order to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. A department within OMB will conduct a standard review of the regulation.

Officials did not provide a time frame, but they have 90 days to review the rule or send it back to OSHA for revision. There is no public text of the draft. It won’t be published until OMB completes its review. Read More

Maine Health System News

Central Maine Healthcare Services, Staffing, Vaccine Mandate, CEO Appointment

Central Maine Medical Center announced early in the week that is was suspending pediatric and trauma admissions due to “acute nursing staffing shortages in key areas.”

State health officials signaled Wednesday that they do not plan to ease the state requirement that all health care workers at designated facilities must get vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of the month, but said they will continue to help Central Maine Medical Center work through its staffing issues in any way they can.

Maine Republican leaders issued a media release this week after meeting with members of the leadership team at Central Maine Healthcare and members of the Androscoggin Delegation calling for the Legislature to reconvene and amend the Governor’s mandate to allow for a testing exemption.

Governor Janet Mills issued the following statement in response to Republicans in the State Legislature pushing to weaken the state’s requirement that health care workers be vaccinated against COVID-19.

People should not delay seeking emergency care at Central Maine Medical Center, the chief medical officer for the hospital’s parent company said Thursday, even as the hospital works through what its CEO called “acute staffing shortages.” Read More

Clinical News

New Draft Recommendation Statement on Aspirin Use to Prevent Heart Disease and Stroke

Draft guidelines from the United States Preventative Service Task Force advises physicians to stop prescribing regular low doses of aspirin to patients at risk of a first heart attack or stroke. The new information amends the task force’s 2016 recommendation of initiating low-dose aspirin use for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Read More

Top JAMA, JAMA Network, and New England Journal of Medicine Articles

JAMA Network Open: COVID-19 Vaccine Acceptance, Access Among Black, Latinx Communities

JAMA Network Open: Birth Volume, Geographic Distribution of U.S. Hospitals With Obstetric Services

JAMA Network Open: Electronic Health Record Messaging During Pandemic

JAMA Cardiology: Preterm Delivery and Long-term Risk of Hypertension in Women

NEJM: Myocarditis after BNT162b2 mRNA Vaccine against Covid-19 in Israel Read More

Physician Well Being

Using Electronic Health Records to Predict Physician Departure

A new Yale study published Oct. 12 in JAMA Network Open examined whether electronic health records (EHRs), which aim to improve efficiency in healthcare but also have been associated with physician burnout, can be used to identify physicians at risk of leaving.

Researchers looked for measures associated with physician turnover. They found two:

The amount of time spent managing the EHR inbox and the portion of a physician’s orders that were placed by other team members.

Evidence of fewer contributions from team members was associated with higher rates of physician turnover Read More


Preventing Stimulant Misuse Among College-Aged Students

Date: October 19, 2021

Time: 9:00 - 11:00 AM ET

Topic: This Maine CDC webinar will examine psychostimulant misuse among college and college-aged students:  the prevalence, the reasons for use and misuse, and effective prevention and educational strategies to address this issue. Read More


Upcoming Specialty Society Meetings

Below you will find an on-going list of Upcoming Specialty Society Meetings. Any questions should be referred to the contact person listed for each specialty.

  Read More

AAP EQIPP Course: Immunizations - Strategies for Success (for RURAL Health Providers)

The recently revised EQIPP immunization course is designed to identify immunization rates in your practice, uncover barriers to immunization delivery systems, and provide techniques to overcome those barriers using clear aims that reflect expert principles and proven quality improvement methods and tools.

Read More

SUPPORT for ME Training and Technical Assistance Initiative

The Maine Medical Association- Center for Quality Improvement, in partnership with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, launched the SUPPORT for ME Training and Technical Assistance initiative.

  Read More

SUPPORT For ME Training and Technical Assistance Initiative Webinars on November 3 & December 1

Register now for webinars on Wednesday, November 3rd and Wednesday, December 1st from 12:00-1:00pm. Read More

Maine Independent Clinical Information Service: MICIS presentations & Academic Detailing

Schedule a 1-hour presentation at your medical practice or hospital, or request an individual Academic Detailing session. Read More


Physician (BC/BE in Family Medicine) - Mt. Abram Regional Health Center, (Kingfield, Maine)

Mt. Abram Regional Health Center, (Kingfield, Maine) seeks aPhysician (BC/BE in Family Medicine) with outstanding clinical and interpersonal skills to provide primary care to patients of all ages in a family practice with integrated behavioral health services.
Read More

Physician (BC/BE in Family Medicine) - Bingham Area Health Center

Bingham Area Health Center seeks a Physician (BC/BE in Family Medicine) with outstanding clinical and interpersonal skills to provide primary care to patients of all ages in a family practice with integrated behavioral health services. Read More

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