Situation Report | June 21, 2021
On June 15, Governor Cuomo announced that COVID-19 restrictions are lifted immediately as 70 percent of New Yorkers aged 18 or older have received at least the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccination series.
However, the health guidelines continue for health care settings and other situations, like large-scale indoor event venues, schools, public transit, and others, per guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
This means that for many instances (absent the exceptions above), the state’s health guidance and ‘New York Forward’ industry specific guidelines—including social gathering limits, capacity restrictions, social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, health screening, and contact information for tracing—are now optional.
Unvaccinated individuals continue to be responsible for wearing masks, in accordance with federal CDC guidance and consistent with the state’s implementation of the recent CDC guidance.
In light of COVID-19 restrictions being lifted in non-health care settings, HCA has reached out to DOH to learn how this will affect health care settings. DOH has indicated that it is reviewing its guidances to determine their status going forward. HCA will be sending DOH our recommendations for which regulatory relief measures should be continued, modified and/or discontinued, and we welcome member input.
Expiration and ‘Beyond-Use’ Dates
DOH has provided guidance on expiration dates for vaccines and “beyond-use” dates which are calculated based on the date the vial is first punctured and the storage information in the package insert. DOH advises that the expiration date should always be checked prior to preparing or administering vaccine, and expired vaccines should never be used. As additional stability data become available, the expiration dates for some products may change.
The guidance includes how to locate the expiration date and a summary of COVID-19 vaccine beyond-use dates and resources.
On June 10, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) authorized an extension of the shelf life for the Johnson & Johnson-Janssen single-shot COVID-19 vaccine (J&J vaccine) from 3 months to 4.5 months (an additional 6 weeks).
The decision is based on data from ongoing stability assessment studies, which have demonstrated that the vaccine is stable at 4.5 months when refrigerated at temperatures of 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit (2 to 8 degrees Celsius).
Vaccine providers that have J&J vaccine in storage should visit https://vaxcheck.jnj/ and enter the lot number to confirm the latest expiration dates of vaccine, including those currently available for administration throughout the U.S. This extension applies to refrigerated vials of J&J COVID-19 vaccine that have been held in accordance with the manufacturer’s storage conditions.
Providers should mark the vials and carton with the new date displayed and also update the date in the New York State Immunization Information System (NYSIIS) or Citywide Immunization Registry (CIR) inventory module. If you have vaccine in storage that expired prior to June 10, 2021, those vials should be disposed of as medical waste and reported as wastage in NYSIIS/CIR (see NYSIIS wastage reporting guidance and NYCIR guidance).
The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is partnering with the “We Can Do This” campaign (https://wecandothis.hhs.gov/) for vaccine outreach efforts to diverse communities.
The campaign offers several webinars to walk through its resources and train community organizations, local voices, and trusted leaders to use these tools.
Webinar dates and registration links are below:
- June 22 (1 to 1:30 p.m.): Spanish Language Toolkits (this webinar will be offered in Spanish).
- June 24 (1 to 1:30 p.m.): Healthcare workers Toolkit.
- June 29 (1 to 1:30 p.m.): Faith-Based Toolkit.
- July 1 (1 to 2 p.m.): Toolkits for Racial and Ethnic Minority Communities.
- July 8 (1 to 1:30 p.m.): Older Adults Toolkit.
Questions regarding the webinars can be directed to Partnership@cms.hhs.gov.
Caring for Patients with Post-COVID Conditions
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) interim guidance on post-COVID conditions provides new information to assist health care professionals with evaluating, managing, and caring for patients who may experience long-term effects after a COVID-19 infection.
Post-COVID conditions, informally known as “long COVID,” describe a wide range of physical and mental health conditions that some people may experience four or more weeks after a COVID-19 infection. New, ongoing, or returning symptoms have been reported among people who previously had a COVID-19 infection, even for people who had no symptoms or a mild COVID-19 illness.
CDC recommends a patient-centered approach when caring for patients who may experience post-COVID conditions. Partnering with patients to identify achievable health goals through shared decision-making could lead to more successful outcomes.