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Weekly COVID-19 Update: U.S. FDA Greenlights Johnson & Johnson Vaccination for Emergency Use, an Ambassador Program to Minimize Risks, and More

3/01/2021
ANSI News

The ANSI Federation and standardization community are stepping up with guidance, resources, and initiatives to support public health, safety, and infrastructure during the COVID-19 outbreak. Suggestions for news items may be submitted to pr@ansi.org. All submissions are published at ANSI's discretion.

Abbott Releases Article: "How We're Tracking COVID-19 Variants"

In a newly released article, Mary Rodgers, Ph.D., principle scientist and head of Abbott’s Global Viral Surveillance Program, describes how Abbott scientists are helping the global effort to track known COVID-19 variants and identify new ones.

"Abbott scientists have been tracking viruses for decades and now we're using our expertise to help the global scientific community look for cases of these new variants. This information is critical to containing this pandemic," Dr. Rodgers said.

The scientist identifies a four-step process that involves a complex to-do list with a quick turnaround time. Access the process that Abbott scientists are working on as COVID-19 variants emerge, via Abbott's news article.

Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 Vaccine Authorized by U.S. FDA for Emergency Use 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the single-dose COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, to prevent COVID-19 in individuals 18 years of age and older.

The FDA has determined that the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine has met the statutory criteria for issuance of an EUA. "The totality of the available data provides clear evidence that the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine may be effective in preventing COVID-19," the FDA announced. 

Johnson & Johnson noted in a company statement that it is committed to making its COVID-19 vaccine available on a not-for-profit basis for emergency pandemic use. To that end, the company is in the process of shipping its COVID-19 vaccine and expects to deliver enough single-shot vaccines by the end of March "to enable the full vaccination of more than 20 million people in the U.S." The company also reports that it plans to deliver 100 million single-shot vaccines to the U.S. during the first half of 2021.

“We believe the Johnson & Johnson single-shot COVID-19 vaccine is a critical tool for fighting this global pandemic, particularly as it shows protection across countries with different variants. A vaccine that protects against COVID-19, especially against the most dire outcomes of hospitalization and death, will help ease the burden on people and the strain on health systems worldwide,” said Paul Stoffels, M.D., vice chairman of the executive committee and chief scientific officer, Johnson & Johnson. “We look forward to our continued efforts around the world as we collectively aim to change the trajectory of this global pandemic.”

Access the full statement and additional details via the Johnson & Johnson announcement.

National Restaurant Association Survey Reveals What Restaurant Operators Say About 'Return to Normal'

New research reveals that most restaurant operators do not expect a rapid return to a normal business environment, according to a National Restaurant Association survey conducted from February 2-10, 2021.

Feedback from 3,000 restaurant operators reveal that 32 percent think it will be 7-12 months before business conditions return to normal for their restaurant, while 29 percent think it will be more than a year. An additional 10 percent of operators say business conditions will never return to normal for their restaurant.

The association specified that 'return to normal' business conditions does not necessarily mean a full recovery to pre-coronavirus sales levels. Rather, it reflects an operational environment that doesn’t include indoor dining restrictions, as well as a vaccinated populace that feels confident going out to public places.

Access more survey feedback via the National Restaurant Association's news release.

NSF International and State of Michigan Collaboration Aims to Minimize COVID-19 Risks

NSF International ambassadors are working with Michigan businesses to help them understand and follow the appropriate workplace safety regulations, as part of the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) Ambassador program.

In February, MIOSHA added childcare centers to the list of business types eligible to participate in the state’s COVID-19 Workplace Safety Ambassador program. Up until last month, only restaurants, retail shops and fitness centers were eligible to participate.

NSF reports that the MIOSHA Ambassador program is an example of NSF’s collaborative public health services for states, provinces, and municipalities.

“With the Ambassador program, MIOSHA is taking an innovative approach to a critical need among Michigan businesses and now child care centers,” said Paul Medeiros, managing director of consulting and technical services for NSF’s North American operations. “We’ve found businesses around the world are drowning in COVID-19 guidelines, but what they really need is help operationalizing those guidelines and applying them to their specific locations.”

NSF also reveals that it expects to conduct more than 5,000 Ambassador visits in the next few months, and that employers and business owners can sign up now for an Ambassador visit.

Access more information in the NSF announcement.

See more ANSI member efforts in the ANSI COVID-19 Resource Webpage Highlighting Standardization Community Response

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