Vaccination

Nationwide distribution of any coronavirus vaccine will be a “joint venture” between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which typically oversees vaccine allocation, and the Department of Defense.  VDH is working on a registration system for facilities located in Virginia  that want to provide COVID-19 vaccine.  There will be several vaccine manufacturers, with varying storage requirements and vaccine schedules.

The registration system will allow the facility to identify anticipated need for vaccine and an estimate of the population they serve by risk factor. These data will be used to prioritize vaccine shipments in accordance with CDC recommendations.

It is important to reduce the burden on hospital systems by reducing illness attributed to Influenza through vaccination.

Your healthcare provider should offer flu vaccines, as well as most pharmacies. Refer to the VDH website for more information.

Many public providers offer flu vaccines in underserved areas. Refer to the VDH website for more information.

Flu vaccines provide protection against Influenza viruses. While the flu shot won't protect you from developing COVID-19, it's still a good idea. Most people older than six months can and should get the flu vaccine. Doing so reduces the chances of getting seasonal flu. COVID-19 is caused by a Coronavirus, not Influenza viruses. COVID is likely to persist once its pandemic phase has passed and circulate each winter alongside the flu.

No. Each of these diseases are caused by different viruses. While the flu shot won't protect you from developing COVID-19, it's still a good idea. Most people older than six months can and should get the flu vaccine. Doing so reduces the chances of getting seasonal flu.

Yes, a seasonal flu vaccine is recommended for all pregnant women. Pregnant women are at increased risk for severe health outcomes due to influenza. Plus, the flu vaccine can help protect the mother's newborn since antibodies are passed from mother to child. Pregnant women should only receive inactivated flu vaccine (IIV) as live, attenuated flu vaccine (LAIV) is contraindicated

Many public providers offer flu vaccines for adults and children in underserved areas. Refer to the VDH website for more information.

Vaccines must meet the highest standards of safety and have minimal side effects because they generally are given to healthy people to prevent disease. Vaccines undergo strict regulatory control by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with other federal agencies, is committed to assuring the safety of vaccines through rigorous pre‑licensure trials, as well as post-licensing monitoring. The United States currently has the safest, most effective vaccines in its history.

 

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) shares the goal of ensuring safe vaccines. VDH has the safety of the Commonwealth and its citizens as its number one priority. VDH works closely with CDC to conduct active surveillance and review of vaccines to ensure the recommendations the agency follows are of sound science. CDC and FDA continuously monitor the safety of vaccines after approval. If the CDC and FDA identify a problem with a vaccine, the agencies inform health officials, health care providers, and the public. CDC uses three systems to monitor vaccine safety:

  • The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS): an early warning system that helps CDC and FDA monitor problems following vaccination. Anyone can report possible vaccine side effects to VAERS. VAERS cannot determine whether a vaccine caused the side effect. VDH participates in VAERS.
  • The Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD): a collaboration between CDC and nine health care organizations, which allows ongoing monitoring and proactive searches of vaccine-related data.
  • The Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment (CISA) Project: a partnership between CDC and several medical centers that conducts clinical research on vaccine-associated health risks.

The guidance for the last couple of seasons has included discussion of the potential for waning immunity, particularly among older adults, and has indicated that July and August might be too early (especially for that population). Since the timing of the onset and peak of influenza season each year is not predictable, it is difficult to state an ideal time to vaccinate in any given season. Because of the literature concerning potential waning of immunity, though, the guidance has discussed consideration of the potential for waning, particularly among older adults, when making decisions regarding when to vaccinate. There is also discussion of considerations such as programmatic constraints (for example, having enough time to vaccinate a population within a given time frame). In addition, it is noted that children in the 6mo to 8yr old age group who need two doses (some in that age group will need two this season based on their previous vaccination history) should get their first dose soon after vaccine is available to allow enough time for the second dose to be given by the end of October (since that second dose must be given at least 4 weeks after the first).

ACIP guidance is if symptomatic or acutely ill with COVID, providers should defer vaccination until better due to potential exposure. Infection control could be an issue. Bring them back when they meet criteria to stop isolation.

If someone has known exposure to COVID, a negative COVID test is not required prior to being vaccinated. Recommend self-monitor for 14 days and then get a vaccine, but there isn’t a safety issue with getting the flu vaccine.

On 8/19/2020, HHS issued a third amendment of the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act which aims to expand access of vaccine to children. The amendment authorizes pharmacists (and pharmacy interns under supervision of Board-registered pharmacist) to order and administer vaccines to children 3-18 years of age pursuant to additional accredited training, CPR, comply with reporting requirements with state, providing education on importance of well-visits. VDH will work with the Department of Health Professions for any guidance documents/FAQs after Board Counsel reviews the allowance and the impact it will have on current state regulations.

Routine childhood immunization is increasing from its low in mid-April however it is not yet back to 2019 numbers. Consistent with CDC, vaccination is an essential medical service for children and adolescents, ideally in the medical home.

Pharmacies offer convenience of off hours, accessibility (>86% of people live within a 5-mile radius of a pharmacy), past contributions with H1N1, state planning activities already in place with pharmacies. Pharmacy partners may assist in administration within store, onside vaccine services, mass vaccine clinics, Long Term Care facility administration. Considerations such as timing of limited supply, may not target all populations, state scope of practice laws vary, and data feedback loop will be critical.

 

VDH requests that all providers report any and all vaccination administration to the Virginia Vaccine Immunization System (VIIS). It will be extremely imperative to ensure that there is an established reporting and data feedback loop for COVID vaccine.

Currently, several vaccine candidates are in the final phases of clinical trials. After the clinical trials conclude, the FDA and CDC must review data on vaccine safety and effectiveness and make recommendations for vaccine usage. After this, the vaccine (some of which is already being produced) will be shipped to providers. It is too early to determine exactly when the vaccine might become available, but it could be as early as November 2020.

The ultimate goal will be to vaccinate as many individuals as possible for which the vaccine is recommended in order to help prevent the continued spread of COVID-19. The vaccine will be available at no cost to those who receive it. Certain groups of people may be prioritized to receive the vaccine based on recommendations from the CDC.

 

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet and review data from vaccine studies (including clinical trials) as well as data on the current epidemiology of COVID-19 and make recommendations for who should receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Certain groups (e.g. healthcare workers, those who live in congregate care facilities) may be recommended as higher priority for receiving a vaccine based on their potential risks for COVID-19.

Vaccines must meet the highest standards of safety and have minimal side effects because they generally are given to healthy people to prevent disease. Vaccines undergo strict regulatory control by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with other federal agencies, is committed to assuring the safety of vaccines through rigorous pre‑licensure trials, as well as post-licensing monitoring. The United States currently has the safest, most effective vaccines in its history.

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) shares the goal of ensuring safe vaccines. VDH has the safety of the Commonwealth and its citizens as its number one priority. VDH works closely with CDC to conduct active surveillance and review of vaccines to ensure the recommendations the agency follows are of sound science. CDC and FDA continuously monitor the safety of vaccines after approved. If the CDC and FDA identify a problem with a vaccine, the agencies inform health officials, health care providers, and the public. CDC uses three systems to monitor vaccine safety:

  • The Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS): an early warning system that helps CDC and FDA monitor problems following vaccination. Anyone can report possible vaccine side effects to VAERS. VAERS cannot determine whether a vaccine caused the side effect. VDH participates in VAERS.
  • The Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD): a collaboration between CDC and nine health care organizations, which allows ongoing monitoring and proactive searches of vaccine-related data.
  • The Clinical Immunization Safety Assessment (CISA) Project: a partnership between CDC and several medical centers that conducts clinical research on vaccine-associated health risks.

Additional vaccine safety monitoring systems, such as V-SAFE, the use of National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) data, and continued monitoring through clinical trials will also be utilized to ensure vaccine safety.

VDH is currently enrolling a variety of providers to administer COVID-19 vaccine. These include hospitals, long term care facilities, local health departments, urgent care centers, and local health departments. More information about vaccine availability will be communicated as it becomes available.

Some of the vaccines that may be approved for COVID-19 might require more than one dose. Your vaccine provider will let you know if you need an additional dose and help provide a way to remind you to return in the right amount of time so you can receive your second dose.

Providers who are interested in providing COVID-19 vaccine may complete a provider intent form on the VDH website at https://apps.vdh.virginia.gov/VERIP/Home.aspx. VDH staff will contact providers once they have submitted their intent form to discuss next steps to enroll as a COVID-19 vaccine provider.

The COVID-19 Prevention Network provides information on enrolling in clinical trials. Please click here for more information. The COVID-19 Prevention Network (CoVPN) was formed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the US National Institutes of Health. 

Page Last Updated: November 19, 2020