COVID-19 Vaccine Providers Newsletter 03.18.2021

This week, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) announced that some health districts will begin the transition to Phase 1c vaccinations this week, and that all communities across Virginia should be able to open vaccination to this group of essential workers within weeks.
  • All communities are expected to move into Phase 1c by mid-April.
  • Anyone 16 years old or older who lives or works in Virginia will be eligible for a vaccine in Phase 2, which is expected to begin by May 1.
The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) and VDH have started to open Community Vaccination Centers across the Commonwealth to administer COVID-19 vaccinations on a larger scale.
  • All of these events are by appointment only and no walk-ins will be accepted.
  • Individuals, who have pre-registered for the vaccine and are eligible under the state’s current phase for distribution, will be contacted to make an appointment to receive their vaccine doses.
COVID-19 vaccines should be offered at no cost to recipients, regardless of whether or not they have insurance, a Social Security Number (SSN), identification, or physical proof they live and/or work in Virginia.
  • Providers or pharmacies may ask for people to provide a photo ID or health insurance information, and may use information such as social security numbers to look up information; however, this is not required and receiving the vaccine should not be contingent on providing such documentation.
  • Any administration fees will be covered by insurance companies or by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Provider Relief Fund.
    • Providers can ask for insurance information to charge for a vaccine administration fee, but cannot withhold vaccine if the person doesn’t have insurance or declines to provide information.
    • Providers who have administered COVID-19 vaccines to uninsured individuals should file claims for reimbursement via the HRSA COVID-19 Uninsured Program Portal. For more information, visit the HRSA website.
Before receiving shipments of COVID-19 vaccine, it’s important for sites to understand how to properly store, handle, and administer these unique vaccines. Vaccine providers are encouraged to report any issues with equipment in the ancillary kits that are shipped with their federal vaccine orders. There are three steps to reporting to ensure enough information is gathered so problem trends in packaging and shipping can be identified. Be prepared to provide photos, lot number, order number, date ordered and date received when filing a report for a deficient ancillary kit.
  1. Report deficiencies to McKesson directly at (833)-272-6634 or The customer service desk is charged with responding to problems and identifying trends.
  2. Next, report deficiencies to VDH ( or clinic/hospital leadership who may then contact the Operation Regional Liaison Officer. This helps identify trends in problematic equipment.
  3. If an error or injury occurs during vaccine administration, enter the information into the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS), and because a syringe is a medical device, complete FDA form 3500.
The 2021 CDC Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit contains updated calibration testing recommendations for digital data loggers (DDLs). A DDL is a specific type of temperature monitoring device (TMD) that provides the most accurate storage unit temperature information, including details on how long a unit has been operating outside the recommended temperature range (referred to as a “temperature excursion”). COVID-19 specific DDL guidance can be found on pages 50 and 51.
  • Calibration testing should be done every two to three years or according to the manufacturer’s suggested timeline. TMDs can experience a “drift” over time, affecting their accuracy. This testing ensures that the accuracy of the device continues to conform to nationally accepted standards (Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit, Section 3, pg. 10).
  • Effective immediately, awardee-purchased temperature monitoring devices must be tested every two to three years.
  • Please email the helpdesk at if you have questions.

Best Practice Spotlight

Curbside and drive-through clinics may provide the best option for staff and patient safety for sites with limited indoor space. Consider implementing the following best practices when setting up a drive-through clinic.

  1. If vaccinating patients while they are in their vehicles, ensure patients put their vehicle in park for the entire time (or ask them to turn the vehicle off) and bring stools for vaccinators to ensure they can vaccinate patients in taller trucks or vans.
  2. Consider having patients wait their 15-30 minute observation period after vaccination in their cars in a separate parking lot that is monitored by EMS. Instruct any patient waiting in a car to activate their car’s panic alarm or horn if they need emergency assistance.
  3. In all situations when patients will be waiting in cars, staff should be continuously walking through the parking lot to monitor the individuals in their cars. For example, consider having EMS continually traverse the lines of cars in golf carts to identify those that may be compromised and unable to hit the panic button or sound their horn, and to assist those who sound their alarm and need immediate assistance.
  4. Cones with white boards in front of the cars may be used to indicate the time the vaccine was administered and estimated time the individual may be released.
  5. Patients requiring a 30-minute observation period should wait within continuous direct sight of the observing staff inside in the monitored medical observation waiting area. If sent to their car for observation, ensure they are differentiated in some way from those waiting only 15 minutes. For example, provide recipients with colored wristbands based on how long they need to wait. Then, instruct those with 30 minute wristbands park their cars in a separate area than those with 15 minute wristbands. To determine if a patient needs to be observed for 15 minutes or 30 minutes, refer to CDC Clinical Considerations.
  6. For more guidance, watch the short post-vaccination period micro learning on the VDH website in the resources for vaccine clinics site.

Check out our complete list of COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Best Practices here.

Upcoming Events

Helpful Resources

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