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OPA COVID-19 Vaccines: February 15, 2021 Update

OPA COVID-19 Vaccine Update and New Vaccine Criteria

February 15, 2021

This week, the vaccine allocation under Phase 1B of Governor DeWine’s vaccine rollout will include approximately 1.8 million Ohioans age 65 and above. Teachers and staff for K-12 schools continue to be included in this week’s vaccination phase. This week’s allocation includes individuals born with or who have early childhood conditions carried into adulthood. Disease states include:

  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Down syndrome
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Spina bifida
  • People born with severe heart defects, requiring regular specialized medical care
  • People with severe type 1 diabetes who have been hospitalized for this in the past year
  • Phenylketonuria (PKU), Tay-Sachs, and other rare, inherited metabolic disorders
  • Epilepsy with continuing seizures; hydrocephaly; microcephaly, and other severe neurological disorders
  • Turner syndrome, fragile X syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, and other severe genetic disorders
  • People with severe asthma, who have been hospitalized for this in the past year
  • Alpha and beta thalassemia
  • Solid organ transplant candidates and recipients.

Earlier, individuals with congenital diseases were required to get their vaccine from hospitals or health departments. However, this week pharmacies are included as vaccination locations for these patients. 

Verification of Eligibility

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) seeks to make the process of patient care as straightforward as possible for all vaccinators. Therefore, pharmacies are not required to police the process of verifying disease states for patients. The ODH has asked pharmacies to have a two-step verification process:

  1. All vaccinators, including pharmacies, must publish the list of eligible qualifying conditions on their websites.
  2. Patients should be given the opportunity to confirm either verbally or using an electronic or paper form that the patient meets the eligibility requirement.

The ODH has provided verbiage guidance that pharmacy staff can use to educate patients on the medical conditions included in this phase.

Ohio Vaccine Management Solution (VMS)

The ODH is offering a scheduling system that streamlines the steps required to schedule patients for vaccinations. This system includes eligibility requirements, patient appointment infrastructure, vaccine inventory, and clinic management. The VMS also interfaces with patients to communicate eligibility, second-dose appointments, and updates. Pharmacies can access the VMS training hub that includes training videos and a user guide. OPA is seeking pharmacist feedback on the VMS system to relay back to the ODH.

Vaccine Shipment Delay

Due to the winter weather facing a large part of the country this week, vaccine shipments may be delayed by 24 hours. Pharmacies included in this week’s allocation will be notified via email for any delays.

OPA appreciates the efforts of our OPA members who have jumped into vaccination efforts across the state. If you have a story or pictures to share about your COVID-19 vaccination efforts, we would like to showcase them to the rest of the membership. Please send your stories and pictures to Jessica Wotruba at [email protected].

    OPA is working diligently to facilitate communication between state decision-makers and member pharmacists. 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 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, Fellow in Policy and Innovation, at [email protected].

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