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OPA COVID-19 Vaccines Update: August 30, 2021


Medicaid Vaccine Incentives Deadline Extended
Ohio’s managed care plans announced that the incentives for administering the COVID-19 vaccine have been extended to December 31, 2021. The incentives include increased pharmacist administration reimbursement to $70 for first doses and gift cards for patients on Medicaid insurance who received their first dose.  

  1. Pharmacies can receive Visa gift cards directly to give to patients. If you are an independent pharmacy vaccinator, please email [email protected] for your gift card needs. Thank you to those who have already responded with the projected numbers of gift cards needed.
    1. Once you get to 75% of your gift card allocation, please reach out to Attn: Meera Patel-Zook – Gift Card Request at [email protected] so that we can ship out an additional allotment to your store.
  2. If you have received gift cards, please track them using the Covid 19 Vaccine Gift Card Tracker Example. Vaccinators can add all of the information for all MCOs in ONE tracker now and send that tracker to [email protected].

Medicaid Vaccine Gift Card Age Limit Extended
Ohio’s managed care plans announced that the vaccine gift card incentives have been extended to Medicaid patients ages 12 and above who receive the first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. Please see the section above to order gift cards.

Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Motivations and Barriers Survey
ODH is offering an opportunity for vaccine providers to help better understand real-time motivations and barriers related to the vaccine. This survey is voluntary. ODH will not collect personal identifying information. Vaccinators are requested to provide this four-question survey before vaccination or during the 15 minute wait period after vaccination. Ideas for methods to offer the survey include:

  • A staff person reading the questions to the patient and collecting the data on a computer or tablet.
  • Patients scanning the QR code to complete the survey on their personal devices.
  • The patient provided with access to a tablet or computer to complete the survey

Here is the link to the survey: Participation in this survey is voluntary. The motive of the survey is to ensure that ODH has a better picture of motivations and barriers for vaccines.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Extends Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Expiration Date
The FDA extended the expiration date of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines for an additional three months past the expiration date. This extension covers vaccines with expiration dates ranging from August 2021 through February 2022. This extension is allowed provided the vaccine carton and vials were properly maintained at ultracold storage temperatures between minus 90 degrees Celsius to minus 60 degrees Celsius (minus 130 degrees Fahrenheit to minus 76 degrees Fahrenheit). The extension does not apply to vials dated July 2021 or earlier and does not apply to vials stored at minus 25 C to minus 15 C and refrigerated vials (2 C to 8 C). 

FDA Full Approval of Pfizer Vaccine
 The FDA has fully approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 16 years and older. The vaccine will now be referred to officially as Comirnaty for the prevention of COVID-19 disease. Individuals ages 12-15 can continue to receive the vaccine under the FDA’s emergency use authorization (EUA).

Please see the updated FDA resources for the fully approved vaccine now known as Comirnaty.


Additional COVID-19 Vaccine Dose Approval for Immunocompromised Patients
The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines can now be administered to immunocompromised individuals. The FDA updated the emergency use authorizations for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to include this recommendation. According to the FDA, immunocompromised patients included in this provision are recipients of solid organ transplants or individuals who are “diagnosed with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise.” This group of eligible individuals is estimated to include less than 3% of the U.S. population and 3% of Ohioans. The dose should be at least 28 days following the completion of the primary vaccination series for individuals ages 12 and older who received the Pfizer vaccine series and individuals ages 16 and older who received the Moderna series. Further evaluation for the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine is pending.

Additional dose Recommendation for mRNA Vaccine Recipients
U.S. public health and medical experts shared about an upcoming plan for COVID-19 additional doses for fully vaccinated adults who have received an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. This comes after the CDC published new studies showing the possibility of diminishing protection against the COVID-19 virus, particularly the Delta variant. The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) is receiving the latest data and has made the following recommendations:

  • The COVID-19 vaccines continue to be remarkably effective in reducing the risk of severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even against the widely circulating Delta variant.
  • Although we continue to see stable and highly effective protection against hospitalizations and severe outcomes for fully vaccinated people, we see a decrease in vaccine effectiveness against infection.
  • The White House outlined a plan to offer booster doses for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines to fully vaccinated adults 18 and older eight months after their second dose of the vaccine.
  • This plan would tentatively begin on September 20 for those Americans who received the first doses of mRNA vaccines in the winter, including older Ohioans, those in long-term care facilities, and healthcare workers. At this time, the need for and timing of booster doses for Johnson & Johnson vaccine recipients is still under study.
  • This plan is still contingent on a recommendation by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and approval by the FDA.

Helpful State Vaccine Resources and Information
The following resources are helpful for vaccinators to contact ODH regarding vaccine shipments:

  • COVID Vaccine Provider Call Center: 1-844-963-4829 (The ODH Provider Call Center is open daily from 8:00 am – 7:00 pm Monday through Friday and is no longer open on weekends)
  • COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Resources website
  • ImpactSIIS Job Aids and Videos
  • ImpactSIIS help desk: email [email protected] for assistance or call 1-866-349-0002.

    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. For further questions, please contact Myriam Shaw Ojeda, at [email protected].

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