Most of the respondents believe vaccination and antivirals have turned COVID-19 into manageable disease, but there is concern about long COVID-19.
Year 3 of the COVID-19 pandemic is upon us. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data tracker shows that while cases are declining, just under 4,000 deaths are occurring weekly. Only about 15% of the population is up to date with vaccination boosters, according to the CDC, and NPR reported today that the FDA is considering a major shift in the COVID-19 vaccination strategy that would position COVID-19 shots like flu shots, so the would be annual and tailored to the circulating variants.
These and other facts fit with the views of COVID-19 reflected in the Managed Health Executive® annual State of the Industry survey, which was conducted in late November and early December 2022.
Almost half (47%) of the 450 respondents agreed that COVID-19 is endemic and just over (54%) agreed that vaccines and antivirals have made it a manageable disease. A large proportion but not a majority (40%) agreed that new variants ill circulate but that the current vaccines will protect against them.
Many (46%) of the respondents said they wear a mask in indoors and more than half (54%) said they avoid crowded indoor places, such as restaurants, because of COVID-19. Only a small group (16%) said they had stopped masking, and a very small group (5%) had not been vaccinated.
Even as the federal government is preparing to step away from buying COVID-19 vaccine directly and shifting that expense to insurers and other payers, the vast majority (90%) of the respondents to the annual State of the Industry survey indicated they favor the government continuing to buy the vaccine and make it free to the public.
Most (53%) of the respondents indicated that they see long COVID-19 as a major public health issue and almost many (47%) indicated they are worried about getting long COVID-19 themselves
On the other hand, a large group (56%) indicated agreement that vaccination and COVID-19 treatments have significantly reduced the risk of long COVID-19.