In Case You Missed It: MMWR and COVID

The Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL) maintains a collection of the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), which collects and analyzes data from the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on epidemiology and public health. Each issue of the MMWR is packed with raw and analyzed public health data and scientific studies from some of the top minds in the United States. In light of the COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) epidemic, we are highlighting some of the most current and informative COVID-related studies included in their weekly reports. 

Here are some important articles you may have missed from Volume 70, Issues 50-52 and Volume 71, Issues 1-2 of the Centers for Disease Control’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Series. 

January 14, 2022 / No. 2 Featured Articles: 

“Effectiveness of BNT162b2 (Pfizer-BioNTech) mRNA Vaccination Against Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children Among Persons Aged 12–18 Years — United States, July–December 2021”

Previously unknown was whether the Pfizer vaccination helped prevent Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS-C) in children ages 12-18.  This study observed patients from 24 pediatric hospitals in 20 states from July-December and determined that the vaccination does indeed provide protection against MIS-C.  While some vaccinated patients did develop the syndrome, all the children who needed life support were unvaccinated.

“Risk for Newly Diagnosed Diabetes >30 Days After SARS-CoV-2 Infection Among Persons Aged <18 Years — United States, March 1, 2020–June 28, 2021”

While it is already well known that pre-existing morbidities such as diabetes create more complications and increased likelihood of severe cases or death for people who become infected with COVID-19, this study found a surprising trend that persons younger than 18 years “with COVID-19 were more likely to receive a new diabetes diagnosis >30 days after infection than were those without COVID-19 and those with prepandemic acute respiratory infections.”

January 07, 2022 / No. 1 Featured Article: 

“Risk Factors for Severe COVID-19 Outcomes Among Persons Aged ≥18 Years Who Completed a Primary COVID-19 Vaccination Series — 465 Health Care Facilities, United States, December 2020–October 2021”

This study was done to assess risk factors for severe outcomes of COVID-19 infected adults who were fully vaccinated. From the article: “Among 1,228,664 persons who completed primary vaccination during December 2020–October 2021, severe COVID-19–associated outcomes (0.015%) or death (0.0033%) were rare. Risk factors for severe outcomes included age ≥65 years, immunosuppressed, and six other underlying conditions. All persons with severe outcomes had at least one risk factor; 78% of persons who died had at least four.”

December 31, 2021 / No. 51 & 52 Featured Articles: 

“COVID-19 Vaccine Safety in Children Aged 5–11 Years — United States, November 3–December 19, 2021”

This study determined that Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines are generally safe for children ages 5-11.  From the article: “After authorization of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5–11 years during October 2021, and administration of approximately 8 million doses, local and systemic reactions after vaccination were commonly reported to VAERS and v-safe for vaccinated children aged 5–11 years. Serious adverse events were rarely reported.”

“Characteristics and Clinical Outcomes of Children and Adolescents Aged <18 Years Hospitalized with COVID-19 — Six Hospitals, United States, July–August 2021”

This study reviewed risk factors and characteristics of children who had to be hospitalized between July and August 2021, and who were positive for COVID-19. From the article: “Among children and adolescents with SARS-CoV-2 infection admitted to six hospitals during July–August 2021, 77.9% were hospitalized for acute COVID-19. Among these patients, approximately one third aged <5 years had a viral coinfection (approximately two thirds of which were respiratory syncytial virus) and approximately two thirds of those aged 12–17 years had obesity; only 0.4% of age-eligible patients were fully vaccinated.”

“Investigation of a SARS-CoV-2 B.1.1.529 (Omicron) Variant Cluster — Nebraska, November–December 2021”

This article provides epidemiological details in regards to one of the first determined cluster cases of the Omicron variant in the United States.  The unvaccinated individual had recently returned from Nigeria, where he had been exposed, unmasked, to a coughing individual on November 20, 2021.  He initially tested negative on November 21, 2021 before his return trip home, exposed five household members on November 23, 2021 while asymptomatic, and started experiencing symptoms on November 24, 2021.  Due to the circumstances surrounding the infection, the local Department of Health and Human Services was notified and all exposed individuals were tested and found to be positive for the Omicron variant.  Further details of the persons involved including previous infections, vaccination status, and severity of infection are also provided.

December 17, 2021 / No. 50 Featured Articles: 

“Booster and Additional Primary Dose COVID-19 Vaccinations Among Adults Aged ≥65 Years — United States, August 13, 2021–November 19, 2021”

This article provides data on the amount of boosters/additional doses that were administered from August 13 – November 19, 2021 and suggests that more needs to be done to encourage and provide boosters to eligible individuals.  From the article: “During August 13–November 19, 2021, 18.7 million persons aged ≥65 years received a booster or additional primary dose of COVID-19 vaccine, constituting 44.1% of eligible persons aged ≥65 years. Coverage differed by primary series vaccine product and race/ethnicity.”

Notes from the Field: COVID-19–Associated Mucormycosis — Arkansas, July–September 2021

Mucormycosis, “an uncommon but severe invasive fungal infection,” is being discovered in individuals in Arkansas who have recently been diagnosed with COVID-19 infections.  Generally, this condition is more likely to occur in people who have “immunocompromising conditions.”  All of the discovered positive cases were in unvaccinated individuals and most also had diabetes.  The amount of cases is higher than what would normally occur in the studied area. The article notes that “reported COVID-19–associated mucormycosis cases might have occurred because of COVID-19–induced immune dysregulation or medical treatments.”

For a look into how the CDC determines its guidelines, please view this newly released Supplement: “Standards Required for the Development of CDC Evidence-Based Guidelines.”

For more information on COVID, visit our Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Resource Archive. You can also find pandemic-related resources in our HSDL In Focus on Pandemics and Epidemics, and public health statistical resources in our Research Tools. Please note that an HSDL login is required to view some of these resources. 

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