Vaccinated medical conference attendees had low rates of COVID-19Today JAMA Network Open published a study showing a 1.8% COVID-19 infection rate among in-person attendees at a February 2022 Academic Surgical Congress conference in Florida in which 100% of participants were vaccinated and 92% were boosted.In addition to requiring vaccination, in-person attendees were encouraged to take an at-home test before the conference and asked to wear a surgical mask or an N95 or KN95 respirator at the meeting.
Notably, the conference was held during the Omicron variant peak in the United States. The event contained only outdoor eating and socialization, and all indoor meetings were held with socially distant spacing.In-person attendees and those who attended virtually had similar rates of COVID-19.Among 682 survey respondents of 1,617 meeting attendees, 12 reported a SARS-CoV-2–positive test the week after the meeting, with no significant differences between the 10 of 546 in-person attendees infected and the 2 of 135 virtual attendees (1.8% vs 1.5% [95% confidence interval for the difference, −0.2% to 0.3%]).
All COVID-19–positive attendees had received a booster."These data suggest that among highly vaccinated clinicians with high risk of occupational exposure, cautious strategies to mitigate COVID-19 transmission during a surge were effective, and in-person meeting attendance posed no greater risk than professional hazards," the authors wrote."The scientific consensus is that we can safely reestablish indoor scientific conferences, but there are many arguments to support hybrid conferences becoming the new standard," said Winfried V.
Kern, MD, PhD, and Daniel Morgan, MD, in a commentary. Sep 7 JAMA Netw Open study Sep 7 JAMA