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OPA COVID-19 Vaccines: 2/1/2021 Update

OPA COVID-19 Vaccine K-12 Personnel and Vaccinator FAQs

February 1, 2021

Today, Governor DeWine’s phased rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine will include K-12 school staff and school personnel essential to students’ in-person education (teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, environmental services, etc.). A limited number of pharmacies across the state have been included in this phase of the allocation.  Additionally, this next step will include Ohioans age 70 and above for vaccination at pharmacies with allocated vaccines.

The following vaccine topics are based on feedback provided by pharmacists currently vaccinating patients along with questions received from our members:

Temperature Management

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and the Board of Pharmacy continue to urge pharmacies to maintain proper temperature monitoring systems. This includes obtaining the correct storage devices and temperature monitoring equipment. All vaccinators must record daily logs of minimum and maximum temperatures and twice-daily real-time logs. See these resources for further guidance: COVID-19 Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit and  ODH Temperature Monitoring Standards.

Protocols for Anaphylactic Reactions

Pharmacies must have a protocol in place to address allergic responses to the vaccine, including anaphylaxis. The CDC currently recommends training all staff on the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis. Additionally, vaccinators should have the following medications and devices on hand in case of an anaphylactic reaction: epinephrine prefilled syringe or autoinjector (at least 3 doses), H1 antihistamine, blood pressure cuff, stethoscope, and a timing device to assess pulse. See this link that discusses the management of anaphylaxis at COVID-19 vaccination sites for further guidance. Pharmacists should also note that any adverse event, including anaphylaxis, should be reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). See this link to learn more about the reporting process: https://vaers.hhs.gov/.

Vaccine Wastage Prevention

The ODH has urged vaccinators to ensure that no vaccine is wasted because of cancellations or planning hurdles. First, ensure that the number of appointments are verified and filled for the day’s clinic. Second, identify backup recipients based on phase in a waitlist format to receive spare vaccine doses. Here is the ODH guidance for vaccine providers to ensure vaccine is not wasted.

    OPA is working diligently to facilitate communication between state decision-makers and member pharmacies. We want to thank you for all the questions received recently. OPA has created multiple COVID-19 resources, including a COVID-19 Vaccine Information Webpage, COVID-19 Testing Hub, and COVID-19 Resources Webpage, on the OPA website www.ohiopharmacists.org under the Resources drop-down box. Additionally, OPA members have offered their experience as a resource if any pharmacy needs assistance in signing up as vaccinators or have general COVID-19 vaccine-related questions. For further questions, please contact Myriam Shaw Ojeda at [email protected].

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