Preparation Heating Up for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

With two vaccines queued up for FDA approval and distribution beginning as soon as mid-December, planning efforts are kicking into high gear. The state Vaccine Crisis Committee has been meeting weekly since September. This week, the PA Department of Health (DOH) began offering meetings for providers that have submitted vaccine enrollment applications to DOH. Here is some of the information that was shared during the first meeting:

  • DOH expects shipment of the Pfizer vaccine as early as Dec. 15 and the Moderna vaccine about a week later
  •  It is important to recognize that the first shipments will address only about 1% of the population and will be targeted to healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities
  • Only organizations that have submitted a COVID-19 vaccine enrollment application to DOH will be eligible to receive vaccine
  • There will be bidirectional communication with enrolled organizations prior to shipment
  • Shipment will include a separately shipped “ancillary kit” that includes needles, masks and face shields
  • All vaccine reporting will be through PA-SIIS
  • For the initial phase of vaccination, providers will receive either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, not both, to reduce confusion, although that could change as supply and vaccine options increase

Additional information can be found in this week’s summary of the weekly All PA FQHC CEO Call and PACHC will continue to share information as it becomes available. In the meantime, it is important for each health center to begin planning, including prioritization of who will be eligible to receive the vaccine if there is an inadequate initial supply to immunize all employees.