COVID-19 Vaccination Registration Opens Monday for Vermonters 75+
Beginning on Monday, January 25th, people who are 75 years and older and live, work, or access primary care in Vermont are eligible to register for a COVID-19 vaccine. Appointment scheduling will begin in the morning on January 25th, with vaccine administration beginning on Wednesday, January 27th. A link to register for an appointment and a phone number will be added to https://www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19/vaccine/getting-covid-19-vaccine. When registering, individuals will be able to select a vaccination location and day/time of appointment. The State has created 54 vaccination sites in 39 towns across the State and people should select the site closest to their home, as the allocation at each site tracks with the 75 and older population of each region. Only Vermonters that are in the 75 and older age band are able to register at this time and it will take approximately 5 weeks to vaccinate this age band.
What will individuals be asked when they make an appointment? Those registering will be asked to give:
- date of birth
- email address, if you have one
- phone number
- primary insurance information. Insurance information is not required, and there is no cost for getting the vaccine.
Individuals will also be asked questions about whether they:
- have any history of allergic reaction to vaccines or injectable therapies
- are currently sick with COVID-19
- have recently had any other vaccines
- have a bleeding disorder or are taking blood thinners
- are pregnant
- are breastfeeding or lactating
Individuals won't be able to make an appointment for their second dose until they get their first dose. Before someone leaves the first dose appointment, clinic staff will help make an appointment to get the second dose. Patients should go to this website on Monday morning to register.
Help Needed – Identifying Homebound Patients for COVID 19 Vaccination
VMS has been in discussions with the Agency of Human Services about the rollout of COVID-19 vaccination for those age 75 and older who are homebound. Many of these individuals are seen by the VNA or Home Health and can be identified through them, but we also know that primary care offices may see or be aware of homebound patients who are not receiving care through those channels. In an effort to make sure that these patients aren’t missed, please send Stephanie Winters (firstname.lastname@example.org) the name, email and phone number of the staff person in your office that VNA of Vermont or EMS should contact to identify these patients. Please note that these should be limited to patients who are truly homebound have no way of traveling to vaccination sites.
Health Care Workers – Schedule your Vaccine this Month!
Vermont’s hospitals are working hard to meet their obligation to vaccinate tier 1A health care workers, in collaboration with the State of Vermont. The goal is to complete this work by the end of January, as the State transitions to general public populations and hospitals will receive very little vaccine for the 1A population. If you are a 1A-qualified individual please contact your hospital to schedule your vaccine now.
Other hospitals – contact Elizabeth Alessi at the Vermont Medical Society for contact information: email@example.com.
Vaccine Q&As with Commissioner Levine
The following is a selection of questions and answers from Department of Health Commissioner Mark Levine’s calls this Thursday and Friday with VMS and the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems.
- Q: If health care workers (HCWs) are fully vaccinated, do they still need to do a 14 day quarantine if potentially exposed to COVID? A: This is under active consideration by VDH, no determination has been made yet to change the quarantine requirement as the data is very limited; NH is the only state in the region that has so far made such a change
- Q: Should remaining 1A HCWs still go through hospital vaccination system or start going through state vaccine registration system? A: 1A still needs to go through the hospital systems – they are not getting registered through the state system – only people who can register through the state system are 75+
- Q: Will hospitals be getting more vaccine to continue to vaccinate 1A group? A: yes, there will be a path to get more vaccine in the future- just not next week due to getting a jumpstart on the 75+ age band
- Q: When will hospitals be hearing about RFP selection to know if they can help with the public vaccine rollout? A: some hospitals have already heard, it is possible that those who have not heard by today are not part of the initial age band phase; with the state only having 8,000 doses it would be very difficult to distribute to all the sites that want to be sites – just not enough doses to allocate rationally to a lot of sites
- Q: When will primary care practices be part of the vaccination administration? A: same as above – at this point, there are not enough doses to distribute to too many sites; practices that want to be part of this process when doses increase should still continue to register with the immunization program
- Q: How many appointments are opening up for the age bands? A: Opening registration phone lines and website on Monday; 12,000 appointments opening up at health department sites; 8,000 at pharmacies, 14,000 through partners such as hospitals – BUT note that total doses aren’t coming close to this so it will take about 5 weeks to get through first age band
- Q: Currently, VT will vaccinate NH residents who obtain health care in VT, but NH will NOT vaccinate VT residents – will there be a move to more reciprocity? A: it is unlikely NH will be changing to allow administration for Vermonters; it is more likely our administration will move to only vaccinate VT residents – but so far we have not made this final decision; note that the Biden administration is moving to much more of a national strategy so this may be changing and not pitting one state so much against another
- Q: Will surveillance testing of HCWs be changing with so many HCWs vaccinated? A: the State is not changing surveillance testing requirements at this time
- Q: What is the process for patients in the clinics to schedule their vaccine second dose? A: when you are at your appointment for the first dose you will be scheduled for the second dose.
- Q:. Are there plans to prioritize incarcerated Vermonters given greater risk of COVID infection in correctional settings? A: The inmates are in the age bands and will be vaccinated along with the age banding; staff are not currently in a separate priority group
- Q: What has the vaccine uptake been among HCWs? A: FQHCs are reporting 70-90% uptake among staff; hospitals range but most up to 80-90%; LTC staff around 60% but this compares favorably to other rural states where uptake is currently around 40%; we are up to 92% of residents in LTC facilities
- Q: Do you recommend physicians report even minor reactions like rashes or strange reactions (like tachycardia) to VAERS? A: Yes, physicians and the patients should report on what any reactions have been
Recent COVID-19 Guidance and Resources:
VMS Weekly Zoom with Commissioner of Health, Thursdays at 12:30 pm
Biden Marks Start of Presidency with Flurry of Executive Orders
On January 20th, 2021, upon President Biden’s inauguration, he issued seventeen Executive Orders (EOs), including these health care-related EOs:
- 100 day mask requirement in federal facilities and interstate travel
- Rejoining the WHO
- Whole of government response to COVID
- Extending the pause of student loans
- Rejoin the Paris Agreement on Climate Change
- Whole of government response to advance racial equity
- Rescinding the exclusion of undocumented aliens from the Census
- Preserve and fortify the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
- Rescinding the immigration ban on Muslim countries
- Prohibiting workplace discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation
- Review and improve the regulatory process
He has released several more EOs today and the AMA reports he is expected to release additional actions on a number of issues including, but not limited to, COVID-19, the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, and Title X. For a chart of Biden’s EOs click here.