COVID-19 Briefs for May 24, 2021

Situation Report | May 24, 2021

The following are COVID-19 briefs for May 24, 2021.

DOH, NYSOFA Issue Contact List for Access to In-Home Vaccinations

The state Department of Health has issued an announcement, in partnership with counties and the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA), identifying local points of contact to help expand access to vaccines through an in-home vaccination program for homebound New Yorkers.

This resource can be shared with your patients or staff. It is designed to help individuals who are considered homebound due to physical limitations, cognitive impairmentother chronic conditions, lack of transportation, and/or visual impairments, and do not have access to supports that may help them physically go to an existing vaccination provider. 

This new listing follows the recently announced requirements for counties to create in-home vaccination plans under DOH and NYSOFA guidelines.

HCA encourages home care providers to read the DOH and NYSOFA guidelines carefully and reach out to their local health department and county office for the aging to discuss joint efforts to vaccinate patients.

DOH Updates COVID-19 Guidance

DOH has posted updated COVID-19 guidance.

It includes the following: 

  • All individuals 12 years of age and older that reside in the U.S. are eligible to be vaccinated. However, minors 12 through 17 are not authorized to receive the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. They may only receive Pfizer at this time. Children under 12 years of age are not yet authorized to receive any COVID-19 vaccine.
  • On May 19, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amended the Pfizer emergency use authorization to allow undiluted, thawed PfizerBioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine vials to be stored in the refrigerator at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius (35 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit) for up to one month. Previously, thawed, undiluted vaccine vials could be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days.  
  • Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines will now have a new, smaller packaging quantity of 450 doses available for allocation beginning May 27, with the earliest delivery date of June 1. The 450-dose ordering package (NDC 59267-1000-03) will consist of three trays of 25 vials (150 doses) each and will ship ultra-frozen.
  • On May 14, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines to recommend that “COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines may now be administered without regard to timing. This includes simultaneous administration of COVID-19 vaccines and other vaccines on the same day, as well as coadministration within 14 days.”
  • Effective May 11, New York State moved to a “universal dose” administration process for all multi-dose COVID-19 vaccine types, which means that doses can be used as either a first dose or a second dose, regardless if they were originally shipped to providers as a first dose or a second dose.
  • First and second doses may also be drawn interchangeably from the same vial. With all doses considered a universal dose, providers are advised to utilize a “first in, first out” rule to manage inventory. This includes storing newly received vaccine in the freezer until it is needed.

NYS Follows CDC Masking Recommendations

On May 17, Governor Cuomo announced that beginning May 19, New York State will adopt the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People for most business and public settings.

Consistent with the CDC guidance, pre-K to 12 schools, public transit, homeless shelters, correctional facilities, nursing homes, and health care settings will continue to follow the state’s existing COVID-19 health guidelines until more New Yorkers are fully vaccinated. 

Our understanding is that home care and hospice providers are considered “health care settings” and this recent change does not affect them. 

Under the guidance: 

  • Businesses are authorized to require masks and six feet of social distancing for employees and/or patrons within their establishments or adhere to CDC guidance, which advises that fully vaccinated individuals do not need to wear masks or be socially distanced, but unvaccinated individuals must continue to wear masks and be socially distanced in most settings.
  • The Department of Health strongly recommends masks and six feet of social distancing in indoor settings where vaccination status of individuals is unknown. Any mask requirements that businesses choose to implement must adhere to all applicable federal and state laws and regulations (e.g., Americans with Disabilities Act).

More information is here. 

CDC Guidance on Activities for Vaccinated Individuals

The CDC has updated its guidance for the activities that fully vaccinated individuals can engage in. 

VA Report on Strategic Response

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs published a second installment report identifying the department’s strategic response to address the COVID-19 pandemic from July 1, 2020 to January 1, 2021.

The report cites conclusions, findings and recommendations across several categories like planning, national and interagency coordination emergency management and readiness, data and analytics, capacity, supply chain and testing, and more.

NYC Heat Advisory in Pandemic

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH) has posted an advisory to Help Prevent Heat-Related Illness and Death Among People Most At Risk of Heat-Health Impacts During the COVID-19 Pandemic in which it asks providers to help those who are at increased risk and their caregivers. 

The advisory includes a checklist for at-risk people. It advises providers that people who meet income and other criteria, from May 3 to August 31, 2021, can apply for funds from the New York State Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) to purchase and install an air conditioner. 

To receive alerts from NYC DOHMH, subscribe here.  

NYC Homebound Vaccinations 

New York City’s Homebound Vaccination Program vaccinates seniors and other New Yorkers who are unable to leave their homes due to injury, illness, or other conditions. These people are unable to travel to clinics, even with assistance, and do not have health care providers that can visit them in their homes. 

To qualify, a patient must be:

  • Fully homebound and physically unable to travel to a vaccination clinic.
  • Currently eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination
  • Agree to share their contact information with the city so that a representative may contact them regarding this program.

Providers are asked to provide certain patient information on this spreadsheet, password protect it, and send an encrypted e-mail back containing the spreadsheet to ensure patient confidentiality and to ensure that patient health information (PHI) is protected. It should be sent to  

Questions can be directed to the Health-Care Facilities Team for NYC Test and Trace at (646) 614-3024. 

Individuals living in NYC can also request a home vaccination via this online portal. 

J&J Vaccines 

On May 19, DOH sent providers who are administering COVID-19 vaccines a message about use of the Janssen-Johnson and Johnson (J&J) vaccine.  

It notes that, as of May 19, the majority of the U.S. supply of the J&J vaccine is due to expire by June 21-23, according to Janssen’s expiration website.

DOH is asking providers if they have J&J vaccine doses on hand, especially doses that will expire before the end of June. DOH says it is committed to working with providers to redistribute their J&J vaccine supply to others who can administer J&J as quickly as possible — before the expiry date. 

Providers were asked to complete this form by Monday, May 24 at 9 a.m.

Even providers without any J&J on hand are asked to complete the survey. They will only need to provide their organization information and respond to one question.