The Future of COVID-19 Vaccinations

The FDA’s expert panel on vaccines met last week (Thursday, January 26, 2023) to discuss the future use of the bivalent COVID shot, signaling the start of the FDA’s pivot to a longer-term immunization strategy. This is an important first step in a process that could result in millions of Americans receiving an annual Covid booster, similar to the flu vaccine. Any such changes will require more discussion and decisions, but the FDA appears to be shifting from responding to the pandemic’s acute phase to a longer-term norm. Dr. Suzanne Judd, Director of the Lister Hill Center for Health Policy and a Professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, joined the podcast to discuss these topics and the future of COVID-19 vaccinations.

This podcast is presented by the Alabama Regional Center for Infection Prevention and Control Training and Technical Assistance. Thank you to our co-sponsor for this podcast, the Alabama Public Health Training Network at the Alabama Department of Public Health a community-based training partner of the Region IV Public Health Training Center.

Suzanne Judd, PhD
Director, Lister Hill Center for Health Policy, Professor, UAB School of Public Health

A Tridemic of Flu, COVID, and RSV this Winter Season (Winter 2022)

With three different respiratory illnesses circulating across communities in the U.S., are things out of the frying pan and into the fire? While COVID is still a concern and we should anticipate COVID to continue to circulate this winter, other respiratory viruses are making headlines. Hospitals throughout the country are dealing with an unprecedented, early spike in both flu and respiratory syncytial virus or RSV. The collision of these three viruses have raised concerns about a potential “tridemic” this winter. Dr. Molly Fleece, assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, joined the podcast to discuss concerns about the upcoming cold, flu, RSV and COVID season..

This podcast is presented by the Alabama Regional Center for Infection Prevention and Control Training and Technical Assistance. Thank you to our co-sponsor for this podcast, the Alabama Public Health Training Network at the Alabama Department of Public Health a community-based training partner of the Region IV Public Health Training Center.

New COVID Variants and Boosting Your Immunity (Fall 2022)

Although it’s pumpkin spice season, another pandemic winter is about to arrive. Though no completely new variants of the COVID virus have emerged yet, there are several new Omicron sub-variants. The Omicron variant first surfaced in the fall of 2021, and during the past year, various Omicron variants have primarily been responsible for COVID cases. Now there are some new variants, including BA.4.6, BQ.1, and BQ.1.1, as well as XBB. To answer some of our questions about these new variants we have invited Dr. Suzanne Judd, Director of the Lister Hill Center for Health Policy and a Professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, to join our podcast.

This podcast is presented by the Alabama Reginal Center for Infection Prevention and Control Training and Technical Assistance. Thank you to our co-sponsor for this podcast, the Alabama Public Health Training Network at the Alabama Department of Public Health a community-based training partner of the Region IV Public Health Training Center.

Back to School Q&A with an Infectious Disease Pediatrician

It’s August and it’s not just kids back in class. School is now in session for germs, viruses and bacteria that cause illnesses that can make your child (or yourself as a parent, caregiver, or guardians) sick. Back-to-school is widely recognized in the medical community as a time when many children pick up infections from their classmates. As a parent or caregiver, what do you need to watch for? Dr. David Kimberlin, Professor and Co-Director of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, joins the podcast to discuss some common illnesses found in schools, the best way to treat them, and the importance of good hygiene practices to reduce the chances of catching these illnesses.

This podcast is presented by the Alabama Reginal Center for Infection Prevention and Control Training and Technical Assistance. Thank you to our co-sponsor for this podcast, the Alabama Public Health Training Network at the Alabama Department of Public Health a community-based training partner of the Region IV Public Health Training Center.

What You Should Know About the 2022 Monkeypox Outbreak

From early May 2022 to June 13, 2022 (the date of this podcast recording), over 1,300 confirmed cases of monkeypox have been reported across 31 countries that normally don’t see any cases of monkeypox. Occasionally, outbreaks have occurred outside Africa. But, in most instances, these cases were associated with international travel or contact with individuals or animals from endemic regions. Currently, the CDC and World Health Organization are tracking multiple reported cases and monitoring several person in counties without endemic monkeypox and with no known travel links to an endemic area. 

In today’s podcast, we welcome back Dr. Rachael Lee, Associate Professor in the UAB Division of Infectious Diseases and UAB Health Epidemiologist to talk to us about monkeypox – what it is and if we should be worried?

Thank you to our co-sponsor for this podcast, the Alabama Public Health Training Network at the Alabama Department of Public Health a community-based training partner of the Region IV Public Health Training Center.

Further Reading:

For Healthcare Providers:

News Articles:

Hepatitis Outbreak in Children

Figure 1: “States and Jurisdictions Reporting at Least One Person Under Investigation (38)* as of June 1, 2022.” CDC

The State of Alabama has had a lot of firsts; the first open-heart surgery in the Western Hemisphere was performed in Montgomery in 1902, in 1968 the first 911 call was placed from Haleyville, AL, and unfortunately in 2021 amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic Alabama identified their first case of a new Hepatitis outbreak among children under the age of 10. Children in Alabama began to fall ill with symptoms of Hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver that can cause jaundice, fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, joint pain, and more symptoms. Despite the mysterious onset and widespread unconnected cases under investigation doctors and other researchers are still trying to pin down the direct cause. The onset of symptoms has not been shown to be related to COVID-19 or its vaccinations, as once thought could be the case. Now, research points to the outbreak possibly being related to a new adenovirus strain. As of June 1, 2022, the outbreak and cause are still under investigation, with 246 cases under investigation of children under the age of ten showing symptoms of hepatitis with an unknown cause across 38 different states with 6 deaths since October 2021. Unfortunately, as is frequently the case with outbreaks, cases have been seen beyond the borders of Alabama or the United States where it started, with cases of hepatitis with an unknown cause among children being reported across the globe with roughly 650 cases spread across 33 different countries. Doctors and researchers are working to determine the cause of the outbreak in order to curb the case count, but until then check out our podcast and the resources below to help you stay informed on the latest happenings in Infection Prevention and Control.

Listen to a podcast from Dr. Wes Stubblefield, District Medical Officer for the Northern and Northeastern Public Health Districts at the Alabama Department of Public Health on this recent outbreak of pediatric hepatitis.

Further Reading:

For Parents:

News Articles:

Having Conversations around Children and COVID-19 Vaccination

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends COVID-19 vaccination for most children and adolescents 5 years of age and older. However, as of April 13, 2022 only 28% of children 5-11 years old and 58% of adolescents ages 12-17 have received the 2-dose vaccination series. However, throughout the pandemic, having conversations around COVID-19 and the vaccine has been challenging, especially when it comes to our children. To share her thoughts on the COVID-19 vaccine and children and how to have conversations around the vaccine, we have invited Dr. Candice Dye, an Associate Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Academic General Pediatrician at Children’s of Alabama, to join us to share her thoughts on this important topic.

Using UV Light and Hand Sanitizer to Safely Distinct Against SARS-CoV-2

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have become hyper vigilant when it comes to disinfecting and sanitizing items around our workspace, homes, schools, and within healthcare settings. In this podcast, we welcome back Dr. Ziad Kazzi, Professor of Emergency Medicine and Director of the International Fellowship in Medical Toxicology at Emory University and Associate Medical Director of the Southern Regional Disaster Response System, to discuss the use and potential safety risks of two other methods for killing viruses like SARS-CoV-2: UV light and hand sanitizers.

Thank you to our co-sponsors for this podcast, the Alabama Public Health Training Center and the Alabama Department of Public Health.

What Parents Need To Know About The COVID Vaccine For Children Under 5

For many months, parents have been told COVID vaccines for their children under 5 were on the way. But shifting timelines, delays and misinformation have left many parents frustrated and confused. In addition, as COVID restrictions are relaxed, many parents of young children are desperate to know when they can expect a vaccine to be authorized for their young children. To bring some clarity to this conversation, we have invited Dr. Candice Dye, an Associate Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Academic General Pediatrician at Children’s of Alabama, to join us to talk about the latest updates on the COVID vaccine approval for children under 5.

Thank you to our co-sponsor for this podcast, the Alabama Public Health Training Network at the Alabama Department of Public Health a community-based training partner of the Region IV Public Health Training Center.

Using QATs, Hydrogen Peroxide and Phenol as Disinfectants Safely in Schools and Healthcare

Proper disinfectant usage is of paramount importance in the fight against COVID-19 and other viruses. Join Dr. Ziad Kazzi from Emory University as he shares with the ARC IPC his expertise on three common disinfectants: Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QATs), Hydrogen Peroxide and Phenol. Dr. Kazzi will explain how and why to learn more about and properly, safely use these chemicals to disinfect against COVID-19 and other viruses.