Virginia Department of Health
February 06, 2021 Edition
Vaccine supply continues to be limited and many providers and patients still have questions on when vaccination will be available for those who are eligible. Anyone eligible for Phase 1a or 1b based on occupation should check with their employer to see if arrangements have already been made for vaccinating their employees. If not, they should register with the local health department in the locality where they work. Anyone eligible based on age or medical condition should register with the local health department in the locality where they live. Virginia has confirmed that the District of Columbia and Maryland are following the same approach. Because expected supply is limited, it may be weeks or longer before vaccination appointments become available for those who have pre-registered.
VDH is currently working on a plan to expand its call center capacity to handle the exceptionally high volume of calls from patients and providers regarding COVID-19 vaccines. We will share more details with you as soon as possible.
Facilities or systems that intend to redistribute or transfer COVID-19 vaccine to other providers should ensure they understand and follow the COVID-19 Vaccine Redistribution Process Also, remember to use this survey link to report when you redistribute COVID-19 vaccine to another provider or facility.
- At this time, given the public health emergency, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising that it is acceptable to use every full dose obtainable from each vaccine vial. However, any remaining liquid that does not constitute a full dose should not be pooled with liquid from one or more other vials to create a full dose. To learn more about safe use of multidose vials during COVID-19 vaccination, view our course in TRAIN (ID #1095260).
Best Practice Spotlight
When planning vaccination clinics, take the following actions to avoid wasting doses.
Count how many appointments are scheduled each day in order to estimate how many vials will need to be thawed and removed from storage throughout the day. Do not take them out and thaw them all at once. During the clinic, continuously communicate how many patients have arrived and how many are still expected to show up so doses can be prepared accordingly based on the actual number of patients.
Create standby lists of prioritized persons to receive any unused doses and call individuals on the list if there are extra doses.
Monitor vaccine to ensure it is consistently stored at the temperatures indicated by the manufacturer. Label vials with the “thawed on” and “discard by” dates and times. Once thawed, unopened vials of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine can be used up to 120 hours (5 days) if stored properly in the refrigerator. Unopened vials of Moderna vaccine can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 30 days. Opened vials of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine must be discarded after 6 hours. Labels for Moderna vaccine storage and handling are available here and labels for Pfizer-BioNTech are available here. CDC’s COVID-19 vaccine refrigerator temperature monitoring log can be found here.
Report wasted doses using the Vaccine Wastage Reporting Tool.
February 16, 7-8 pm: Facts not Fear: COVID-19 Expert Panel for the Dental Health Community
(open for all healthcare professionals).
Additional upcoming events
Additional upcoming events can be found here.
VDH COVID-19 Vaccination Response(includes most current information and FAQs).
For more information about storage and handling of the different vaccines, review the CDC Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit.
White House COVID-19 press briefing on February 1 - The third response briefing from the White House COVID-19 Response Team and Public Health Officials is posted on WH.GOV and on PBS. Note: the briefing begins at minute 34 of the link.
CDC has released additional guidance designed to increase COVID-19 vaccination in priority populations. The COVID-19 Vaccination Program Interim Playbook for Jurisdictions Operations Annex: Considerations for Increasing COVID-19 Vaccination: Reaching and Increasing Uptake in Priority Populations is now available on the CDC website, along with other vaccination resources. The operations annex serves as a companion document to the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Interim Playbook for Jurisdiction Operations .
The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) summarized the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) meeting on January 27, 2021, including a COVID-19 vaccine safety update.
Information about the COVID-19 vaccination program is changing frequently. This newsletter will offer regular updates to providers who have submitted an intent to vaccinate or signed the CDC provider agreement within Virginia.
VDH COVID-19 Vaccination Response: Healthcare Professionals Website