While the COVID-19 vaccine rollout for all health care personnel and patients remains fluid, HCA wanted to provide members with a status update on our several recent advocacy efforts, deliberations, and briefings with New York City, regional, and state vaccination planners.
As we’ve previously reported, home care workers are in priority phase 1, according to federal guidelines and various communications from state and local officials. But the limitation on vaccine supply continues to pose important questions about timing and logistics for home care staff and patients alike working and living in a practice setting that, distinct from facility-based care, is not centralized for vaccine deployment.
HCA is working with officials on these logistical issues.
Late Monday, HCA, partner associations, and union representatives met with New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene immunization officials who recognize the complexity of vaccination in home care and are seeking our partnership in the planning, coordination, and communication effort.
Monday’s discussion established an important groundwork for next-stage planning, including the future establishment of point of dispensing (PODs) hubs in all five boroughs where home care and hospice staff could make appointments to receive the vaccine, along with other arrangements for personnel vaccination as the supply ramps up.
Officials again stressed that agencies intending to vaccinate their own staff or patients should register to receive the vaccine, as some HCA members have already done.
State and City Vaccine Registries
HCA has previously shared instructions for registering with state and city vaccine registries and we again urge all members to do so immediately if you have not done so already.
New York City providers should consult the following resources:
- Fact Sheet on Preparing for COVID-19 Vaccination
- December 8 “Dear Colleague” Letter on Vaccine Enrollment
Providers outside of New York City should consult the following resources:
- December 3 “Dear Health Care Provider” Letter on COVID-19 Vaccine Enrollment
- Checklist to Go Live with the New York State Immunization Information System (NYSIIS)
Statewide Efforts and Regional Hubs
Statewide, as with the New York City rollout, supply limitations and cold-storage requirements for the Pfizer vaccine in particular mean that not all facilities have thus far been equipped to receive initial vaccine shipment. However, the recent federal authorization and initial distributions of Moderna’s vaccine (which has more manageable refrigeration requirements) are altering this course.
Those hospitals or nursing homes now receiving the vaccine are being advised to provide it to their home care staff in addition to other at-risk personnel if their organizations have a home care division.
HCA is a member of the Capital Region’s COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Regional Task Force, which is among ten regional vaccination hubs mobilizing statewide for the vaccine rollout outside of New York City. In a meeting of the task force yesterday, officials communicated a similar message about the fluidity of the vaccination timetable and the task force’s efforts to more broadly vaccinate phase 1 workers and patients as supply allows.
If you have not done so already, HCA strongly advises all members to connect ASAP with the hospitals and systems overseeing these hubs to make sure your staff and patients are a part of regional planning efforts. A list of all ten hubs and coordinator organizations, mostly hospitals, is provided on the Governor’s website here.
Officials leading the Capital District Regional Hub particularly stressed the need for additional resources in the vaccination efforts. Home care agencies may want to participate in these efforts to vaccinate their staff, their home care patients, and other individuals who are unable to participate in the PODs or other offsite arrangements, which is why it’s critical for community-based organizations to be part of these regional conversations.
Information is evolving on a near-daily basis. HCA and vaccination planners are meeting regularly and HCA will continue to keep the membership informed of all key developments.