Current updates on association response to the global COVID-19 crisis, along with a roundup of conference, travel, and business news and information.

DISPELLING VACCINE MISINFORMATION

With misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine development process circulating, the American Medical Association’s House of Delegates adopted new policy this week that will educate physicians on speaking with patients about COVID-19 vaccination, keeping in mind the historical context of “experimentation” with vaccines and other medication in communities of color.

In addition, the policy calls for AMA to form a coalition of healthcare and public health organizations to develop and implement a joint public-education program promoting the facts about, and encouraging the acceptance of, COVID-19 vaccination. Another aspect of the program will be developing culturally appropriate patient-education materials.

“It is essential that we speak together as a strong unified voice across healthcare and public health, inclusive of organizations respected in communities of color, to use scientific, fact-based evidence to help allay public concerns and build confidence in COVID-19 vaccine candidates that are determined to be safe and effective,” said AMA President Susan R. Bailey, M.D., in a statement. “We will continue to monitor the scientific data regarding safety and effectiveness during and after the vaccine development process to ensure the proper safeguards are in place to deliver a safe and effective vaccine.”

This new policy builds on AMA’s advocacy efforts over the past several months calling for a transparent COVID-19 vaccine development process. As part of this, AMA launched a webinar series in October to inform physicians about the federal review process for COVID-19 vaccine candidates.

RECENT HEADLINES

A COVID-Fighting Tool Is Buried in Your Phone. Turn It On. (Washington Post, 11/18/20) “So why aren’t our phones a big part of America’s coronavirus response? For starters, each state’s local health department has to develop and operate its own system (though they’ve recently begun making them work across borders). Privacy concerns about similar-sounding—but actually very different—contact-tracing apps have needlessly scared people away. And frankly, Apple and Google buried the settings and apps you’ll need, bungling what could have been the year’s most-helpful tech launch.”

CEOs Say the Pandemic Hasn’t Paused Their Focus on Purpose—It’s Accelerated It (Fortune, 11/17/20) “One theme that dominated the conversation [on a Fortune-hosted call this week] was the importance of transparent and open communication between corporate leadership and frontline workers. According to MassMutual chairman, president, and CEO Roger Crandall, videoconferencing technology has allowed for more authentic conversations with employees. ‘The days of sending a memo and never hearing back are gone. One way or another, you’re going to hear back,’ he said.”

How to Reduce (But Not Eliminate) COVID Risk at Holiday Gatherings (Wired, 11/17/20) “The public health experts we spoke to say testing is no get-out-of-jail-free card for holiday travel. Instead, it should be seen as a complement to quarantining, physical distancing, mask-wearing, and symptom monitoring. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, adds that some symptoms of allergies and COVID-19 can look similar. If you wake up on the morning of planned travel not feeling great, he says, rethink the trip.”

CURRENT INCIDENCE STATISTICS

Source: Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering. Data sources include the World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, and National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China, as well as local authorities, medical sources, and news reports.