OPA COVID-19 Vaccines and Therapeutics: January 31, 2022 Update
New Federal Distribution of N95 Masks
Last week, the federal government announced the distribution of 400 million N95 masks for adults in pharmacies contracted in the federal COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. The highly transmissible omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus can be combatted through masking with high-quality masks. For Ohio, the mask allocation will be sent to Meijer, Kroger, Walgreens, and CVS pharmacies. The masks should be shipped and available by the end of this week. OPA is working to ensure that all pharmacies can be considered for future distribution plans.
New CDC Guidance on Masks
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their guidelines on masks. This update clarifies that individuals can use respirators such as N95s and KN95s. The update also differentiates between surgical N95s, which need to be used in healthcare settings, versus other respirators that can be used in the community. The update also has helpful resources to choose more protective masks and respirators.
New ODH Releases FAQ on Pfizer Tris Sucrose COVID-19 Vaccine Adult/Adolescent Formulation
The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) released an FAQ document on the new Pfizer Tris Sucrose COVID-19 vaccine adult and adolescent formulation (gray cap). This formulation is available for individuals ages 12 and older. This document includes ordering, shipment, storage, administration, wastage, and disposal information.
Please see additional resources about this formulation here:
Reminder: Federal Government Supplies All Homes with Four Free COVID-19 Tests
Last week the federal government announced that every home in the U.S. is eligible to order four free at-home COVID-19 tests. Orders are being shipped by the United States Postal Service (USPS), and distribution dates are 7-12 days from ordering. Please direct your patients to order the tests through this website: https://special.usps.com/testkits. Here is a flyer that can be printed and posted in your pharmacy.
Patients who have difficulty accessing the internet or need additional support can call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489) to get help in English, Spanish, and more than 150 other languages. The phone line is open from 8 AM to midnight EST every day of the week. The Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL) is also available to specifically help people with disabilities place their orders. To get help, call 1-888-677-1199, Monday-Friday from 9 AM to 8 PM EST, or email DIAL@usaginganddisability.org.
Reminder: Walk-In COVID-19 Vaccine Services Inquiry Survey for Pharmacists Serving Medicaid Populations
A barrier identified in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine among Medicaid populations is a lack of access to vaccine appointments because of life circumstances and other barriers. Ohio’s Medicaid managed care leadership seeks to highlight pharmacies offering walk-in clinics to their membership to allow broader access to the vaccine. If your pharmacy provides walk-in COVID-19 vaccine services for one to many days in the week, please respond to this survey: Walk-In Vaccine Clinic Inquiry.
Reminder: $100 COVID-19 Medicaid Administration Fee Deadline Extended
The Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) and Ohio’s Medicaid Managed Care Plan (MCP) leaders announced that the administration fee for COVID-19 vaccines is $100 for all COVID-19 shots, including first, second, and booster doses for Medicaid members has been extended to June 30, 2022. See further details on the covidvaxonthespot.com on the Provider and Pharmacy Resources webpage. The MCP leadership encourages pharmacies to assist Medicaid patients with accessing first, second, and booster shots through phone calls, walk-in appointments, and other personalized outreach.
Reminder: Medicaid COVID-19 Patient Vaccine $100 Gift Card Incentive Deadline Extended
Ohio’s managed care plans announced that the $100 gift card incentive for Medicaid patients receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine has been extended to June 30, 2022.
- Pharmacies can receive Visa gift cards directly to give to patients. If you are an independent pharmacy vaccinator, please email RxCovidTracking@centene.com for your gift card needs. Thank you to those who have already responded with the projected 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 RxCovidTracking@centene.com so that they can ship out an additional allotment to your store.
- If you have received gift cards, please ensure that you track their use through the 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 RxCOVIDTracking@CENTENE.COM.
Note: This incentive is available to all Medicaid patients ages five and above who are eligible to receive their first COVID-19 vaccine. A legal guardian must accompany individuals who are minors to receive the gift card incentive.
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
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@example.com.