OPA COVID-19 Vaccines: September 27, 2021 Update
Provider Guidance for COVID-19 Booster Doses
The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has shared Guidance for Vaccine Providers for Administering Booster Doses. Here is a summary of the guidance:
- People 65 years and older OR residents in long-term care settings SHOULD receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series.
- People ages 50 to 64 with certain underlying medical conditions SHOULD receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series.
- People ages 18 to 49 who are at high risk for severe COVID-19 due to certain underlying medical conditions MAY receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on their benefits and risks.
- People ages 18-64 who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting MAY receive a booster shot of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine at least 6 months after their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series, based on benefits and risks.
- People working in the following settings are some of the individuals included in this provision: health care, schools, correctional facilities, and homeless shelters.
Please note: Booster recipients can be asked to attest they have one of the qualifying conditions, but specific proof will not be required. ODH urges vaccinators to continue to prioritize vaccination of unvaccinated individuals. The following resources can be shared with patients: Fact Sheet: COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Doses and Frequently Asked Questions: COVID-19 Vaccine Booster Doses
OHA Reports Increased Stress on Ohio Hospitals
Last week Governor DeWine shared a letter sent to him from the Ohio Hospital Association (OHA). The letter reported that increasing COVID-19 cases are putting a strain on hospital resources. Some of the data shared described how resources were scarce, which has impacted healthcare providers and their ability to care for all patients. Ohio hospitals are now diverting patients away from emergency departments, canceling some procedures, experiencing longer wait times, and shutting down specific units to use the staff to care for critical COVID-19 cases.
Vaccinating eligible children is crucial to protecting children from the severity of COVID-19 infections and increasing the likelihood of continued in-person teaching in Ohio’s schools. Last week, Governor DeWine announced the Ohio Vax-2-School program for Ohioans ages 12 to 25. All vaccinated individuals in this age bracket are eligible for 50 scholarships worth $10,000 each and five $100,000 scholarships to an Ohio college or university for career or technical education. Prizes will be announced Monday through Friday, beginning the week of October 11. More details will be announced, including how to register, in the coming days.
Informational Resource Outreach Opportunity
Ijeoma Nnani, R.Ph. is the CEO and owner of Trio Pharmacy in Columbus. Together with her team, she has pioneered unique outreach opportunities to engage with patients on the topic of vaccine hesitancy. Recently she worked with Ohio’s managed care plans to create an innovative project where door hangers were placed on the front doors of Medicaid patients in her community. These door hangers contained crucial vaccine information and let patients know they could come to her pharmacy to get their COVID-19 vaccine. Ijeoma says that she had a good experience with the outreach program. She said, “I didn’t realize the program had begun, but customers started coming into my pharmacy carrying the door hanger with them to get their shot. It has become an excellent strategy to engage with my patients.”
Ohio’s managed care plans have extended this unique informational resource to boost vaccine confidence to all pharmacies interested in participating. At this time, pharmacies can order door hangers with crucial COVID-19 vaccine information for their patients. If your pharmacy team is interested in participating in this program, please respond to the COVID-19 Informational Resources Survey by Friday, October 1.
I Raise the Rates Initiative
The American College of Physician’s (ACPs) “I Raise the Rates” initiative to includes immunization vaccine coverage among older adults, adults with high-risk chronic conditions, and racial/ethnic minority adults using quality improvement (QI) methodology.
All pharmacies interested in participating are encouraged to apply here. Practices will be asked to identify a pharmacist champion to lead implementation of an immunization-focused QI initiative. Program leads will be asked to:
- Complete ACP Advance QI curriculum
- Complete the ACP Advance I Raise the Rates Practice Assessment Survey and Individual Clinician Assessment (pre-and-post QI project)
- Review ACP’s QI leadership training video or attend a live QI training program
- Participate in monthly coaching calls
The enrollment period is open until Sunday, October 31. Applicants will be considered on a first come first served basis.
COVID-19 Coadministration with Flu Vaccine
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommend that patients do not have to wait 14 days between getting vaccines for COVID-19 and Influenza. Additionally, the COVID-19 vaccine can be coadministered with other vaccines. If multiple vaccines are administered at a single visit, administer each injection at a different site. See this guidance from the CDC on co-administration best practices. Vaccination providers should consider whether the patient is behind or at risk of becoming behind on recommended vaccines, their risk of vaccine-preventable disease, and the reactogenicity profile of the vaccine.
MTM Opportunities Still Available
Pharmacies are still eligible to receive an additional $30 over the $70 administration reimbursement for the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine administered to eligible Medicaid patients. Ohio’s managed care organizations continue to provide additional pharmacy incentives through CSS Health and OutcomesMTM platforms. Pharmacists are encouraged to engage with these platforms to ensure that these claims are closed. Please see this survey to gauge your pharmacy’s interest in the MTM vaccine reimbursement program: MTM Vaccine Incentives Feedback Survey.
PREP Act COVID-19 Therapeutic Training
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced an amendment to the COVID-19 Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act declaration to allow licensed pharmacists to order and administer COVID-19 therapeutics, including subcutaneous monoclonal antibodies. See the HHS directive here. Additionally, Ohio’s Board of Pharmacy released the following guidance document that provides additional information.
Under the Act, pharmacists can order and administer specific COVID-19 therapeutics. According to the regulations, pharmacists must cover the clinical evaluation of indications and contradictions of COVID-19 therapeutics. The American Pharmacists Association has released a free continuing education program to help meet the PREP Act training requirement. Get started here.
Reminder: 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 gift cards for patients ages 12 and above on Medicaid who received their first dose.
- 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.
- 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 they can ship out an additional allotment to your store.
If you have received gift cards, please track them using COVID-19 Vaccine Gift Card Tracker Example. Vaccinators can now add all the information for all MCOs in ONE tracker and send that tracker to [email protected].
ODH Motivations and Barriers Survey
ODH has developed a patient survey to understand real-time patient motivations and barriers related to the COVID vaccines. This survey is voluntary. ODH will not collect personal identifying information. Vaccinators are requested to provide this four-question survey to vaccine recipients 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: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PLW3DQC. Participation in this survey is voluntary.
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 www.ohiopharmacists.org under the Resources drop-down box. Please contact Myriam Shaw Ojeda Director of Pharmacy Extension and Public Health Initiatives, for further questions at [email protected].