COVID-19 Vaccine Providers Newsletter 08.18.2021

  • As of August 13, 2021, CDC recommends that people with moderately to severely compromised  immune systems should receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (i.e., Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine) after the initial two doses. In Virginia, providers could begin administering additional doses on August 14, 2021. Providers may begin administering third doses to immunocompromised persons aged 12 years and older for Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and aged 18 years and older for Moderna vaccine.
    • “Moderately to severely immunocompromised people” includes people with a range of conditions, such as recipients of organ or stem cell transplants, people with advanced or untreated HIV infection, active recipients of treatment for cancer, people who are taking some medications that weaken the immune system, and others. A list of conditions and factors to consider for making this determination can be found in CDC’s Interim Clinical Considerations.
  • U. S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Public Health and Medical Experts on COVID-19 Booster Shots - Today (August 18, 2021), public health and medical experts from the HHS issued a statement announcing the Administration’s plan for COVID-19 booster shots for the American people in the Fall. Key messages from the statement are provided below.
    • Scientists have been monitoring and assessing available data from the United States and around the world. The data show that protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection from vaccination can decrease over time. Scientists are starting to see evidence of reduced protection against mild and moderate disease; protection against severe disease, hospitalization, and death could diminish in the coming months, especially for people who are at high risk or were vaccinated during the earlier phases of vaccination rollout.
    • A plan has been developed to begin offering these booster shots this fall subject to FDA conducting an independent evaluation and determination of the safety and effectiveness of a third dose of the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines and CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) issuing booster dose recommendations based on a thorough review of the evidence.
    • The booster shots could be administered beginning the week of September 20 and starting 8 months after an individual’s second dose of an mRNA vaccine. At that time, the individuals who were fully vaccinated earliest in the vaccination rollout, including many health care providers, nursing home residents, and other seniors, will likely be eligible for a booster.
    • The plan also involves delivering booster shots directly to residents of long-term care facilities at that time, given the distribution of vaccines to this population early in the vaccine rollout and the continued increased risk that COVID-19 poses to them.
    • Anticipated booster shots will likely be needed for people who received the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine. Administration of the J&J vaccine did not begin in the U.S. until March 2021, and more data on the J&J vaccine are expected in the next few weeks. When those data are available, HHS will update the public on a timely plan for J&J booster shots.
  • CDC updated its Interim Clinical Considerations for the Use of COVID-19 Vaccines to reflect the following:
    • The third dose should be the same manufacturer as the previous two doses when possible, but this is not required. It should be administered at least 28 days after the second dose of the mRNA vaccine (regardless of manufacturer) and the vaccine dosage has not changed.
    • The recommendation does not apply to immunocompromised people who received the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine because available data are insufficient to recommend an additional dose of this vaccine.
    • Eligible patients are not required to show proof of their medical condition.
    • At this time, booster doses for the general public are not recommended, but the federal government and VDH are preparing for this possibility.
    • For CDC guidance about how to talk with patients who are immunocompromised,  click here.
  • V-safe is a smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after you receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Through v-safe, you can quickly tell CDC if you have any side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Depending on your answers to the web surveys, someone from CDC may call to check on you and get more information. V-safe will also remind you to get your second COVID-19 vaccine dose if you need one. Parents and guardians can enroll adolescents (aged 12 and older) in v-safe and complete health check-ins on their behalf after COVID-19 vaccination.
    • Healthcare providers should encourage their patients to enroll in v-safe after COVID-19 vaccination.
  • Vaccine Administration - Data Accuracy in VIIS & Vaxmax
    • As we develop more digital options to allow people to access their vaccine records, it is important to have all data recorded in the VIIS system.
    • If your administration is not working properly, for example,it is not flowing through completely and accurately into Vaxmax, please reach out to the Vaxmax help at . They can work with you to troubleshoot and to correct all issues identified. This will ensure that individuals are able to locate their vaccine records in the future.
  • The Small Shipment Redistribution Program (SSRP) is currently experiencing an extremely high volume of requests, and we appreciate your patience while our VDH Pharmacy team works to fulfill them. SSRP requests made after August 9 may be delayed; however, we will do our best to accommodate time-sensitive needs.
  • Canceled Vaccine Unit Pharmacy Office Hours: August sessions have been canceled and will restart in September. The schedule is being finalized.
  • For questions about VaxMaX and its functionality, please visit the VaxMaX Help website, which includes reference guides and tutorial videos.

Best Practice Spotlight

Upcoming Events

  • CDC Foundation-Sponsored Webinar Series on Wastewater Surveillance for SARS-CoV-2: Turning Measurements into Action: The Statistical Methods Behind our Wastewater Surveillance
    • August 19, 2021  at 12:00 pm
    • No registration is necessary. Webinar information is the same for all three seminars
    • Weblink: Click here
    • Meeting ID: 718 558 3212
    • Passcode: wwoffhrs
  • CDC COVID-19 Partner Update: Mental Health is Public Health: Tools for State and Local Partners - Dr. Meites will share updates on CDC’s COVID-19 response, including the latest scientific information and what everyone should know about protecting themselves and others. Dr. Houry will speak about mental health awareness overall and Ms. Kone will provide information on mental health tools and resources for state and local public health partners.
    • August 23, 2021 at 4:00 pm
    • To register for the call click here

Helpful Resources

  • VDH’s COVID-19 Vaccine Healthcare Professionals: Updates to the resources page include:
    • PrepMod tile has been replaced with SSRP tile
    • VAMS and PrepMod links are now links available underneath "Vaccine Administration Management Systems" header
  • Race to End COVID Partner Playbook: In collaboration with partners, CDC has developed a Race to End COVID Partner Playbook for planning and conducting community-based COVID-19 testing and vaccination events at racetracks. Race to End COVID events are envisioned as partnerships between state, tribal, local, and territorial (STLT) health departments, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR), and/or local racetracks, whether NASCAR- affiliated or independently owned. Public-private partnerships may offer a good way to promote public health messages and inform health behaviors to slow the spread of COVID-19.
  • The CDC’s Public Health Science Agenda for COVID-19 articulates key areas of scientific inquiry and opportunities to guide the development of actionable evidence-based public health guidance to limit the spread and impact of SARS-CoV-2 pandemic continues to evolve, this Public Health Science Agenda has helped promote efforts to fill critical, time-sensitive scientific gaps and to inform evidence-based decision making.
    • On August 4, 2021, a second update to the Priority Public Health Science Questions was released to help achieve the objectives outlined in the Public Health Science Agenda for COVID-19. The newest update includes 15 Priority Public Health Science Questions that were systematically developed to be relevant, actionable near-term, and reflective of the evolving needs of the ongoing public health response.
  • CDC’s Delta Variant: What We Know About the Science: A new webpage that includes high-level information about the Delta variant with respect to infections and spread, vaccines, masks, and a list of references.
  • VDH’s What to do if you were potentially exposed to coronavirus disease (COVID-19)?: Updated the K-12 close contact exception to align with CDC's definition. The use of layered prevention strategies in schools is no longer considered when determining whether a student is a close contact.
  • What Tribal Communities need to know about COVID-19 Vaccines

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