BCHHS Public Health Provider Update: NCDHHS COVID-19 Update Webinar Tuesday; minor consent; ivermectin risks

August 30, 2021

State and Local COVID-19 Update

  • As of 8/27/2021, there have been 21,594 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 343 COVID-19-related deaths in Buncombe County residents since the start of the pandemic.
  • Buncombe County continues to experience an increase in cases and percent positivity, up to 361 cases per 100,000 population in the last 7 days and a percent positivity of 10%.
  • Per the NCDHHS dashboard, the county’s vaccination rates continue to increase slowly with 63% of the total Buncombe County population vaccinated with at least 1 dose of COVID-19 vaccine and 59% fully vaccinated. Demographic details on cases, deaths and those vaccinated can be found on the dashboard.
  • The NCDHHS weekly Respiratory Disease Surveillance Report contains a wide variety of data on COVID-19, including post-vaccination surveillance data (starting on page 12).
    • COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19, including from the Delta variant. Even with highly effective vaccines, the number of post-vaccination cases is expected to rise as virus transmission goes up and as more people are vaccinated. However, for the week ending August 21, 2021, unvaccinated individuals in NC were almost 4.5 times more likely to get COVID-19 and 15.4 times more likely to die of COVID-19 when compared to vaccinated individuals.


NCDHHS COVID-19 Update Webinar

  • NCDHHS will hold a COVID-19 update webinar on Tuesday, August 31st, from 6:00 - 7:30pm to physicians and other clinicians. Topics covered will include recent developments related to vaccines, boosters, and monoclonal antibody therapy treatment, as well as the spread of the Delta variant in North Carolina. There will also be a Q&A opportunity.
  • Click this link to join the webinar: https://zoom.us/j/131899801
  • Phone dial-up:  (312) 626-6799 or (646) 558-8656 
  • Webinar ID: 131 899 801 


FDA Approves Pfizer Vaccine for Those 16 Years of Age and Older

  • On 8/23/2021, the FDA provided full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. The drug will be marketed as Comirnaty (koe-mir’-na-tee) for the prevention of COVID-19 in individuals 16 years of age and older.
  • For individuals 12-15 years of age, the vaccine remains under emergency use authorization (EUA). Administration of the vaccine to 12-15 year old individuals was not included in the Pfizer-BioNTech EUA until May 2021 and will require additional time prior to full FDA approval.
  • Administration of an additional dose in moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals was recently added to the Pfizer-BioNTech EUA and will also remain under EUA for those 12 years of age and older.


Update on Minor Consent for COVID-19 Vaccine Since Approval of Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine

  • As I mentioned in my last COVID update email, NC statute changed on 8/20/2021 to require written consent from a parent/legal guardian prior to administration of any vaccine to a minor, if that vaccine has been granted EUA and is not yet fully approved by the FDA.
  • Now that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been fully approved by the FDA for administration to those 16 and older, adolescents who are 16 and 17 years of age can consent for the vaccine if they demonstrate decisional capacity – the ability to understand and make decisions about their health.
  • Because the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine remains under EUA for 12–15 year-olds and for additional doses in those who are moderately to severely immunocompromised, written consent from a parent or a legal guardian is required for minors in these categories to receive the vaccine.
  • For minors who are receiving a COVID-19 vaccine under EUA, separate written consent should be obtained for each dose administered.
  • Moderna and J&J COVID-19 vaccines are not currently authorized for individuals under 18 at this time.


CDC Health Advisory on the Rapid Increase in Ivermectin Prescriptions & Reports of Severe Illness Associated with Use of Products Containing Ivermectin to Prevent or Treat COVID-19

  • Ivermectin is not authorized or approved by the FDA for prevention or treatment of COVID-19. NIH’s COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel has also determined that there are currently insufficient data to recommend ivermectin for treatment of COVID-19.
  • Adverse effects associated with ivermectin misuse and overdose are increasing, as shown by a rise in calls to poison control centers reporting overdoses and more people experiencing adverse effects.
  • Recommendations for Clinicians
    • Do not recommend or prescribe ivermectin for the prevention or treatment of COVID-19.
    • Educate patients about the risks of using ivermectin without a prescription, or ingesting ivermectin formulations that are meant for external use or ivermectin-containing products formulated for veterinary use.
    • Advise patients to immediately seek medical treatment if they have taken any ivermectin or ivermectin-containing products and are experiencing symptoms. Signs and symptoms of ivermectin toxicity include gastrointestinal effects (nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea), headache, blurred vision, dizziness, tachycardia, hypotension, visual hallucinations, altered mental status, confusion, loss of coordination and balance, central nervous system depression, and seizures. Ivermectin may increase sedative effects of other medications such as benzodiazepines and barbiturates. Call the Poison Control Center hotline (1-800-222-1222) for medical management advice.
    • Educate patients to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and to use COVID-19 prevention measures including wearing masks in indoor public places, physical distancing by staying at least six feet from other people who don’t live in the same household, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and frequent handwashing and use of hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.


New NCDHHS website for teens on COVID-19 vaccines

  • NCDHHS has launched TeenVaxFacts.com in English and Spanish – a website dedicated to providing teens with the information, tools, and resources they need to educate themselves, their friends, and their family members about the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines.


BCHHS COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic

  • Our COVID-19 vaccine clinic continues at the BCHHS building at 40 Coxe Ave. in downtown Asheville. The clinic is open Mon-Fri from 9a-4p to walk-ins. We continue to vaccinate those 12 years of age and older and will administer 3rd doses of Pfizer or Moderna to those who self-attest to being moderately or severely immunocompromised. We have all 3 authorized vaccines available onsite.
  • While supplies last, until the end of August, $100 incentive cards are available to those 18 years of age and older who are getting their 1st dose of COVID vaccine through the BCHHS COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic. ­­­­­­­­­­­­A limited number of $25 incentive cards also are available to those providing a ride to individuals getting a first dose of vaccine. Due to limited physical supply, we may run out of incentive cards, however, we are able to offer individuals the option to sign up for an electronic version or have an incentive card mailed to them.


Help get folks vaccinated against COVID-19!