What health care providers need to know as COVID-19 vaccines arrive in Ohio


covid-19 vaccine

With news that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been granted emergency use authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), health care providers should be preparing for the months of distribution and administration to come.

In the Ohio Department of Health’s (ODH) Vaccination Distribution Plan, Ohio has designated all vaccines in the initial shipments to be the first dose for three critical groups:

  • Residents and staff in congregate care settings;
  • Health care providers and personnel routinely involved with the care of COVID-19 patients; and
  • Frontline workers and EMS responders.

The second doses will arrive in later shipments. ODH has engaged two retail pharmacies to manage the majority of vaccine administration for residents and staff in congregate care settings and will depend on hospitals and local health departments to manage the vaccine administration for health care personnel and frontline workers.

Hospitals designated to receive vaccine shipments need to have specific policies and plans in place for the storage and handling of the vaccines, training of providers administering the vaccines, and timing of vaccine distribution.

Providers should remember the following key points as they begin administering the vaccine to the three critical groups.

  • A prescription is not required to receive the vaccine.
  • The vaccine is to be provided at no cost during the Public Health Emergency period. Providers may charge an administrative fee for giving the vaccine to individuals and receive reimbursement from the recipient’s public or private insurance, or from the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.
  • Providers must supply the vaccine recipient/caregiver with the CDC fact sheet and discuss medical conditions, known allergic reactions, risks and benefits.
  • Providers must supply the vaccine recipient/caregiver with a completed COVID-19 vaccination card that includes the recipient’s information, record of the first dose and indication of when the recipient is due for the second dose.
  • Providers must document the recipient’s vaccination information in Ohio’s electronic immunization information system.
  • As required by the FDA’s EUA, providers must report to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System:
    • Vaccination errors, whether they are associated with an adverse event or not;
    • Serious adverse events, irrespective of attribution to vaccination;
    • Cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (MIS) in adults and children; and
    • Cases of COVID-19 that result in hospitalization or death.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will continue evaluating the protection provided by the vaccine. The CDC continues to recommend that individuals wear face coverings, increase hand hygiene and avoid close contact with others to help prevent the spread of the virus.

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