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OPA COVID-19 Vaccines: February 22, 2021 Update

OPA COVID-19 Vaccine Update and Town Hall Meetings

February 22, 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 who seek to return to in-person or hybrid teaching models will continue to be included in this week’s vaccination phase on a rolling basis by county. This week’s allocation includes individuals born with or who have early childhood conditions carried into adulthood, which put them at a higher risk for adverse outcomes due to COVID-19. Disease states included in this phase can be found here.

The Federal Retail Pharmacy distribution of vaccines includes 160 Rite Aid pharmacies and 194 Kroger pharmacies in Ohio. The number of vaccine doses distributed and vaccination sites chosen will increase based on vaccine supplies in the future.

COVID-19 Vaccine Town Hall

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) is holding town hall meetings for the public to increase vaccine confidence and overcome vaccine hesitancy. Community leaders and medical experts will host the meetings. Here is a schedule for the planned town halls:

  • February 22, 6:30 pm African American Ohioans
  • February 23, 6:30 pm Hispanic/Latino Ohioans
  • March 1, 6:30 pm Asian American and Pacific Islander Ohioans
  • March 2, 6:30 pm Rural Ohioans

The town halls will be available online via Facebook, YouTube, and through this website

ODH Vaccine Management Solution (VMS)

ODH continues to develop and support a statewide scheduling system. The VMS system features include determining patient eligibility, scheduling appointments, submitting health information, and receiving updates and reminders. The scheduling system is currently in a pilot phase in certain counties. Training videos for the system can be found here.

Johnson & Johnson Vaccine

Johnson & Johnson has submitted a request to the FDA seeking an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for their COVID-19 vaccine. ACIP is beginning a detailed review of the vaccine on February 26. After this, the FDA and CDC will review the ACIP recommendation. The vaccine will be beneficial for a pharmacy-based rollout because of the single-dose and refrigeration requirements similar to vaccines already available in a pharmacy setting. 

Utilizing Extra Vaccine Doses

The FDA has approved withdrawing 6 doses, rather than 5, from Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine vials. Pharmacies allocated the Pfizer vaccine in the upcoming weeks will need to change workflow to account for these additional doses. Here is a guidance document from ODH to account for the sixth dose in each vial and related workflow changes. Additionally, ODH has released reconstitution guidelines to maximize doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

OPA Advocates for HB 6: Modify Laws Governing Certain Professions Due to COVID-19

OPA is committed to advocating for statewide rulings that favor pharmacist-led care amid this pandemic. OPA fellow Myriam Shaw Ojeda provided proponent testimony for Ohio’s House Bill 6, which further affirms rules regarding pharmacist COVID-19 testing and vaccine administration, and pharmacist-supervised, pharmacy intern, and pharmacy technician COVID-19 testing and vaccine administration in light of the pandemic. OPA would like to thank Representative Bill Roemer, who sponsored this bill, and his support of Ohio pharmacists. The testimony video can be found here, starting at 41:30 minutes.

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 photographs 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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