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OPA COVID-19 Vaccines: March 1, 2021 Update

OPA COVID-19 Vaccine Update and and New Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 Vaccine

March 1, 2021

This week, the vaccine allocation under Phase 1B of Governor DeWine’s vaccine rollout will include 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.

Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 Vaccine Approved

On Saturday, February 27, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted an emergency use authorization (EUA) for Johnson & Johnson’s (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccine. The approval for this vaccine in individuals 18 years of age and older was preceded by a vote from the FDA Vaccine and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee on Friday, February 26, as another tool to prevent the COVID-19 disease. The vaccine shipments of this particular vaccine are set to begin the week of March 1 in Ohio for individuals in Phase 1A and 1B. The vaccine is not interchangeable for any other COVID-19 vaccines available and should not serve as the second dose in the two-dose series for Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. The following resources will be useful for pharmacies receiving this vaccine:

There are many benefits of approving a third COVID-19 vaccine for public use. This vaccine meets the demand for vaccinations even as plans are being put in place to expand criteria for future vaccination phases. It is also beneficial for community-wide distribution as unpunctured multi-dose vials can be stored between 2°C to 8°C in a refrigerator that meets CDC requirements for refrigeration. The vials will be shipped at a minimum of 20 vials per shipment in Ohio. A single dose is 0.5 mL, with each vial containing 5 doses. This one dose regimen allows for a larger number of fully vaccinated Ohioans and provides less record-keeping and follow-up requirements for a second dose.

When counseling patients about this vaccine, ensure patients that this vaccine is a viral vector vaccine compared to mRNA vaccines made by the FDA EUA COVID-9 vaccines by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech. The new vaccine is a non-adjuvanted vaccine that does not contain aluminum or thimerosal. The study for this vaccine was designed for a single dose versus a two-part regimen for other FDA EUA COVID-19 vaccines. Patients may question the 66% efficacy rate of the vaccine. However, two metrics crucial to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic are the efficacy against hospitalization and protection against severe disease symptoms. Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) reported a 100% efficacy rate against hospitalizations and death, and 85% efficacy against severe/critical disease related to COVID-19 infections. 

Timely Reporting of COVID-19 Vaccines

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has urged vaccinators to ensure that all entries into the Ohio Impact Statewide Immunization Information System (ImpactSIIS) include  Target Population/Occupation (TP/O) data. ODH is in the process of reviewing submission data and plans to use the data entered to understand vaccination trends in the state that will assist in future allocations. 

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.

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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