Providers should account for extra doses of COVID-19 vaccines in their vaccination plans


covid-19 vaccine

Ohio has been receiving shipments of COVID-19 vaccines since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted authorization for emergency use in December 2020. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Ohio Department of Health (ODH) want these vaccines to be distributed to enrolled vaccination providers as efficiently as possible in order to vaccinate as many people as possible, as rapidly as possible.

Both the CDC and ODH are also focused on minimizing potential waste of limited supplies. Given that some pharmacists have found extra doses in vials of the Pfizer vaccine, the FDA is advising providers to use every full dose possible. Thus, vaccine providers should have specific plans for the distribution of extra doses, should they receive any.

ODH has created COVID-19 vaccine dashboards for tracking the number of vaccinations started and completed. The agency allocates and assigns incoming vaccine shipments to vaccination providers based on county data, including the number of residents considered part of the “critical population,” current number of COVID-19 cases, health equity and capacity of vaccination providers for administration.

Vaccine providers and facilities should have efficient vaccination plans in place that address the following:

  • Storage handling and short shelf life that may result in vaccines spoiling or expiring quickly
  • Potential for usage of extra vaccine doses on recipients not included in priority groups
  • Procedures for reporting unused, spoiled, expired or wasted vaccines or diluents
  • Providing two doses of the same vaccine to each recipient three-to-four weeks apart, depending on the vaccine initiated

Vaccination plans should be under constant review and modified as necessary.

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