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Vaccination Update

On May 13th, the State issued new general vaccination guidance for entities enrolled in the State Vaccination Provider Program announcing eligibility of 12- to 15-year-olds and touching upon some provisions of interest to LeadingAge NY members. The guidance is available here.

Universal Dose Policy

Effective May 11th, the State has moved to a “Universal Dose” administration process for all multi-dose COVID-19 vaccine types. All doses are now considered universal doses, which means that doses can be used as either a first or second dose, regardless of whether they were originally shipped to providers as a first or second dose.

This does NOT eliminate the obligation of the provider to schedule second-dose appointments at the time the first dose is administered. First and second doses may also be drawn interchangeably from the same vial. With all doses considered a universal dose, vaccinators must utilize a first-in, first-out rule to manage inventory. This includes storing newly received vaccine in the freezer until it is needed. COVID-19 vaccine providers should continue to follow their jurisdiction’s (New York City or State) vaccine ordering and inventory guidance to request their weekly vaccine allocation.

NOTE: Interchanging or mixing of brands of the vaccine for an individual is NOT allowed. For brands with two-dose regimens, an individual must receive the same brand for each dose.

The Department of Health (DOH) has also confirmed that as of May 11th, entities ordering the vaccine directly from the State must now order both first and second doses. Previously, the State would automatically ship second doses to vaccinators. This is no longer the process. New New York State Immunization Information System (NYSIIS) instructions for ordering the vaccine can be accessed here.

Vaccine Wastage Reporting Guidance

Last week, DOH issued guidance regarding reporting of vaccine wastage. Enrolled vaccinators must continue to follow best practices to use every dose possible. However, if wastage occurs through expiration, spoilage, contamination, natural disaster, temperature deviations, or other circumstances, it must be reported in a wastage request in NYSIIS. The guidance is available here.

VaccineFinder Update

DOH, in communication with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has confirmed that facilities enrolled in the State Vaccination Provider Program that are not vaccinating the general public are NOT required to register or report/update in the CDC VaccineFinder tool.

The CDC has confirmed that there are no penalties to the State or long term care providers if facilities do not register. Members may continue to receive listserv communications asking for registration. Please note that it is not required. If members have concerns or questions, please contact Meg Everett at meverett@leadingageny.org.

NYSIIS Reporting Concerns

Members are encouraged to check NYSIIS for any vaccination data that federal pharmacy partners were responsible for reporting in this tool. We have several members with staff and resident vaccination data absent or erroneously entered in NYSIIS. Please check the status of your data for accuracy. If you find errors or omissions in the system, please contact Meg Everett at meverett@leadingageny.org, and we will connect you with DOH, which will facilitate corrections with your pharmacy partner.