December 22, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

POMA continues to monitor the rapidly changing information surrounding the spread of COVID-19.

In an effort to provide accurate and helpful information to POMA members, we have gathered some of the resources we are finding to be most useful and accurate at this time. We hope this helps you in staying on top of the latest developments in the spread of the disease and in helping your patients.

Stay safe and healthy!


New Headlines

FDA Issues EUA for Oral COVID-19 Pill

Today, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization for Pfizer's Paxlovid for the treatment of mild-to-moderate COVID-19 patients age 12 and older who are vulnerable to severe illness. Paxlovid is available by prescription only and should be initiated as soon as possible after diagnosis of COVID-19 and within five days of symptom onset. The treatment consists of 30 pills over five days.

Read the full FDA press release 

Philadelphia to Require COVID-19 Vaccination

New COVID mitigation rules are being implemented in Philadelphia in January 2022. Starting January 3, Philadelphia establishments that sell food or drink for consumption onsite will require anyone that enters to show proof they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. For the first two weeks of January, these establishments may choose to accept proof of a negative COVID test within 24 hours of entry for people who are not fully vaccinated. After January 17, negative tests will no longer be acceptable proof.

This mandate applies to the following settings that serve food: indoor restaurants, cafes within larger spaces (museums), bars, movie theaters, bowling alleys, conventions, catering halls, casinos where food and drink is allowed on the floor, entertainment sports venues and other venues that serve food or drink for onsite consumption.

This mandate will not apply in K-12 and early childcare settings, hospitals, congregate care facilities, special population providers that serve food, residential or healthcare facilities, grocery stores, convenience stores or other establishments that primarily sell food and drink for offsite use.

Read the full press release from the City of Philadelphia 

The White House Announces COVID Relief Efforts

Yesterday, President Biden announced a series of relief and mitigation efforts amid the current COVID surge:

  1. Starting this week, 10,000 new COVID-19 testing sites will open in the United States.
  2. The federal government is purchasing 500 million at-home rapid testing kits and shipping them to Americans who sign up online in January.
  3. In January and February, 1,000 military medical personnel will deploy to hospitals experiencing a surge in COVID-positive patients. FEMA will help assess supply needs for resources, including masks, gloves and ventilators.
  4. Expanding capacity to ensure people can get vaccinated and boosted, including children.

Tuesday's announcement comes a week after Governor Tom Wolf asked the federal government to send additional support to hospitals and nursing facilities facing staffing and resource shortages across the state. He also requested 1 million rapid, at-home COVID-19 tests and an increased allocation of monoclonal antibodies for rural areas.

Statewide, hospitals are struggling with increased patient volumes, capacity issues and staff burnout. According to state data, over 85% of COVID-19 hospitalizations are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated individuals.

Free COVID-19 Testing Sites Open Across the Commonwealth

The Department of Health is reminding Pennsylvanians that free outdoor drive-up COVID-19 testing sites are open for the public in Berks, Centre, Clinton, Luzerne and McKean counties. The sites are open to anyone ages 3 and older who feel they need a test. Testing is on a first-come, first-serve basis, no appointment is necessary. Registration will be completed on-site.

Other testing sites can be found on the PA DOH locator map.

Pennsylvania's COVID-19 Vaccine Update

Pennsylvania is currently administering the Comirnaty (Pfizer) vaccine, the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccination numbers for Pennsylvania do not include Philadelphia, which is its own jurisdiction, or federal facilities, which are working directly with the federal government.

According to the PA Department of Health, as of December 22nd, 16,595,739 total doses have been administered, including 2,159,011 additional doses for immunocompromised individuals and booster shots.

There are 6,863,116 fully vaccinated people in Pennsylvania. According to the CDC, as of December 20th, 70.9% of Pennsylvanians age 18 and older are fully vaccinated.

Resources for the Holiday, Travel and Flu Season

The holiday season is quickly approaching! The CDC is providing several resources to help everyone enjoy holiday traditions and protect your health: 

PA Health Alert Network (PA HAN) - Health Alerts, Advisories and Updates

Previously Published but Relevant Headlines

Become a COVID-19 Vaccine Provider

POMA is working with the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) to spread the word that YOU can become a COVID-19 vaccine provider!

Several months ago, Pennsylvania's Acting Physician General Denise Johnson, MD spoke about the DOH's current vaccine objective, pivoting from larger/mass vaccination sites to community physician practices. Enroll as a provider and administer the vaccine in your office - click here to access the enrollment form.

Read the full message from Dr. Johnson regarding this important initiative and how you can keep your community healthy.

PA DOH Video Resource About COVID Vaccine Safety

The Pennsylvania Department of Health Acting Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson and the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Director of the Vaccine Education Center and Professor of Pediatrics Dr. Paul Offit have developed a video resource for Pennsylvanians to answer questions about COVID vaccine safety. The video includes a review of the vaccine approval process through the FDA, including the Emergency Use Authorization. They also discuss information on the increasing scientific data on the safety of vaccines for children and pregnant women and the effectiveness of the vaccine against variants, with a highlighted focus on effectiveness against the delta variant.

Dr. Johnson said "With so much information and misinformation out there, access to reliable and trusted sources can help you make the best decision for you and your family... It's essential that we continue to inform and educate Pennsylvanians about the COVID-19 vaccines, because good information leads to good decisions."

Anyone can access and share this video resource on Facebook or PAcast.

Updated Pennsylvania Coronavirus Links: Press Releases, State Lab Cases, Graphics, Resources

Briefings and Updates from Pa. Governor Wolf and the Department of Health

Resources from the CDC

The CDC has provided guidance and resources for healthcare providers, healthcare facilities, laboratories, as well as information for schools and childcare, businesses and employers, community and faith-based organizations, and the general public. Visit the CDC COVID-19 webpage for more information.

POMA will continue monitoring COVID-19 and provide updates and recommendations from PA-DOH, the CDC, the WHO and local health agencies. POMA's COVID-19 webpage and social media channels will be updated as information is shared from these organizations.

If you have any comments or questions for POMA, please email us at [email protected]

Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association | 1330 Eisenhower Boulevard, Harrisburg, PA 17111
(717) 939-9318 |