An up-to-date version released by Virginia’s Department of Health which outlines vaccination plans for the state of Virginia can be found here. For the state of West Virginia, most vaccine requests and allocation of Covid-19 vaccines will be sent directly from the manufacturer to the vaccination provider site. A high-level overview of Covid-19 vaccination plans for the state of Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia are outlined in the report as follows.
- Washington state is estimated to receive 2% of the total early vaccine supply; this translates to a vaccine coverage of between 150,000 to 450,000 people within the first two months of COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
- During the event of early and limited supply vaccine scenarios, the overall allocation of the vaccine will be guided by maximizing societal and health benefits while taking “an equity lens into consideration.” Washington’s Department of Health is estimating how many of the phase one priority populations would be covered and how they could be prioritized into smaller groups.
- Variables that will be considered during vaccine allocation include variables such as vaccine availability, vaccine safety and efficacy with different populations, ultra-cold vaccine capacity management, provider enrollment and capacity to administer, geographic burden/epidemic context, social vulnerability indices, efficacy related to transmission-blocking, and emerging evidence regarding differential transmissibility of populations.
- Covid-19 vaccines would be allocated to local jurisdictions across West Virginia based on the reported size of target populations within that jurisdiction.
- Throughout the COVID-19 vaccination program, when vaccine supply is limited, the vaccine “will be allocated to administering locations which are best positioned to efficiently vaccinate multiple target groups.”
- The federal government determines the amount of COVID-19 vaccines allocated for Virginia.
- Covid-19 vaccines, as well as ancillary supplies, will be “procured and distributed by the federal government at no cost to enrolled COVID-19 vaccination providers.”
- Virginia’s Department of Health’s Division of Immunization will develop allocation methods intended for critical populations that have been identified by the CDC in early and limited-supply scenarios; Virginia’s Department of Health’s DOI will prioritize “COVID-19 vaccine order allowances among vaccination providers based on the critical populations the vaccination providers serve.”
- Allotment of doses to vaccination providers in Virginia would be based on several factors such as CDC guidance and requirements, ACIP recommendations, vaccination provider site vaccine storage and handling capacity, and other local factors.
- Washington’s Department of Health will implement the CDC’s recommendations and requirements to ensure adherence to the vaccine’s handling and storage expectations.
- In order to ensure adherence to COVID-19 vaccine handling and storage requirements, providers would have to meet certain criteria such as having a proper storage unit, a calibrated digital data logger, and submitting digital data logger data that shows their storage units can maintain stable temperatures.
- The Covid-19 vaccine is temperature-sensitive and should be stored and handled properly in order to ensure efficacy and maximize shelf life.
- Proper storage and handling best practices are crucial in minimizing vaccine loss and reduced effectiveness of the vaccine.
- The CDC Vaccine Distribution Centers will use validated shipping procedures in order to maintain the Covid-19 cold chain and to “minimize the likelihood of vaccine loss or damage during shipment.”
- The Covid-19 vaccine products “are temperature-sensitive and must be stored and handled correctly to ensure efficacy and maximize shelf life.” Proper handling and storage practices are crucial in minimizing vaccine loss and reduced effectiveness of the vaccine.
- Virginia’s Department of Health will provide guidelines as well as assistance to COVID-19 vaccine providers in order to ensure that appropriate vaccine handling and storage procedures are adhered to.
- Washington’s Department of Health is using criteria, principles, and framework from the CDC, the National Academy of Medicine, and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to develop a new vaccine allocation framework for the city of Washington.
- The framework will outline the prioritization and allocation guidance and “identify critical populations recommended for vaccination in each phase of the COVID-19 vaccination response.”
- Critical populations are set to receive the initial doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. Early phases of the vaccination program will be limited to the healthcare and non-healthcare critical workforce respectively. These two broad occupational groups are defined as follows:
- Healthcare personnel: These are people serving in a healthcare setting “who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and are unable to work from home.”
- Critical workforce: these are people who play a key role in keeping the essential functions of society running and cannot practice social distancing in the workplace.
- Additional critical population groups include but are not limited to: people with disabilities, people living in rural communities, people age 65 and older, people who are experiencing homelessness, people from racial and ethnic minority groups, and more.
- Virginia’s Department of Health and health districts are currently in the process of identifying the critical populations within Virginia.
- Some critical populations include but are not limited to critical infrastructure workforces such as healthcare personnel, people at increased risk for severe Covid-19 illness, people at increased risk of acquiring or transmitting Covid-19, such as people from tribal communities and people from racial and ethnic minority groups, and people with limited access to routine vaccination services, such as people living in rural communities and people with disabilities.
Data & Reporting
- In order to collect doses administrated data from providers within 24 hours of vaccine administration, the Department of Health will utilize PrepMod and the Immunization Information System (IIS). PrepMod is an application “that includes Clinic Wizard and ReadiConsent, which are HIPAA-compliant companion technologies that automate registration, planning, implementation, evaluation, recording, and reporting for mass vaccination and preparedness efforts.”
- The Department of Health will use “existing data systems and processes to generate COVID-19 vaccination coverage reports.”
- The department also has several staff members that will be “dedicated to outreach and training for COVID-19 vaccine administration and reporting.”
- All vaccination providers within West Virginia will use CDC’s Vaccine Administration Manage System (VAMS) program to submit dose administered data. Before any vaccine orders are fulfilled, all providers are required to enroll their facility as well as their individual users in the system.
- During Phase One, West Virginia will use the VAMS program before attempting to transition to IIS and associated systems in Phase Two “to allow providers streamlined service in connection with their normal vaccination procedures.”
- For every person who receives the Covid-19 vaccine, the CDC requires several data variables to be captured and reported; they are, but not limited to, facility name/ID and type, recipient name, IIS recipient ID, dose number, etc.
- During Phase One of the COVID-19 immunization program, all local health districts in Virginia will be utilizing the VAMS system.
- The detailed records of vaccine recipients must be collected and retained. Information includes, but not limited to, patient’s full legal name, DOB, address, contact information, race, patient’s gender, ethnicity, vaccine administered (type, lot number, and dosage), date and location the vaccine was administered, the name of the provider that administered the vaccine, etc.
- In order to coordinate efforts between local, state, and territorial authorities, the department plan to use existing systems as well as communication channels. They have developed an engagement strategy to seek input and participation from partners such as local health officers and administrators, governmental partners, healthcare system partners, statewide associations and advisory boards, and more.
- They have established coordination opportunities such as weekly calls with health officers, weekly internal planning and coordination calls, surveys of local health jurisdictions “to identify local capacity and planning gaps” and more.
- The department also recognizes that the COVID-19 vaccinations efforts affect everyone; The department has taken measures and has planned for more public engagement opportunities “to ensure the department is connecting with other affected communities and sectors.” Initiatives include focus groups, community conversations with youths, parents, and college students, as well as public surveys. The survey would be an opportunity “for any interested community member, business owner, or other sector representatives to provide feedback on the department’s proposed plans.”
- A combination of state and local efforts has been critically important throughout the entire COVID-19 response process.
- Several local health departments are involved in different sub-workgroups that ensure “local input and insight are incorporated throughout the planning process.”
- West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources holds several weekly Covid-19 calls with the local health departments “to disseminate information and identify support needs.” The calls, which will continue throughout the vaccination program, have been “used as a forum to provide updates on the state’s vaccine planning efforts and the recommended actions that should be taken locally.”
- Virginia’s Department of Health consists of 33 local health districts, each district supporting one or more local jurisdictions; these local health districts “work closely with the localities that they support and include local health departments for those jurisdictions.
- During times of emergency, a team organized by Virginia’s Department of Health “provide technical assistance to the districts and augment district staffing as necessary.”
- Throughout the Covid-19 vaccination program, utilizing technology specifically intended to be used throughout the program, their jurisdiction will have the capacity for data exchange, storage, or reporting. Because the department’s system is stored in the cloud, there is flexibility for additional storage when necessary.
- CDC’s VAMS program will be used during Phase One of the vaccination program; it will be used to submit data such as dose administered.
- The Immunization Information System (IIS) will be utilized during the vaccination program; it is a confidential, computerized database that records all immunization doses that had been administered.
- The CDC has prioritized jurisdiction onboarding to the Immunization Gateway (IZ). The Immunization Gateway is a portfolio of “project components that share a common IT infrastructure.
- The IZ allows the IIS to receive “data directly from national providers, nontraditional vaccination providers, and VAMS, as well as to report vaccine administration data to CDC.”
- Robust security protocols have been outlined by the CDC as part of their developed recommendations and requirements such as the adherence to Covid-19 vaccine storage and handling protocols.
- The system used to collect Covid-19 doses administered information will be PrepMod and the IIS. When submitting the Covid-19 vaccine administration data via the Immunization Gateway, the department intends to connect Immunization Gateway via the state Health Information Exchange (HIE). The HIE, which “allows health care professionals and patients to appropriately access and securely share a patient’s medical information electronically,” will be able to provide secure transport with “end-to-end encryption, message tracking, and audit capabilities.”
- In accordance with security protocols, the registry which keeps track of immunization records of patients will be kept highly confidential.
- All vaccinating providers will be using the CDC’s Vaccine Administration Management System, which is a secure online tool that helps to manage vaccine administration.
- To ensure that the Covid-19 vaccine products are secure and not tampered with, best practices for the storage and handling of vaccines have been implemented and are to be adhered to.
- Virginia’s Department of Health will be utilizing CDC’s Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS) a secure, online tool that manages vaccine administration “from the time the vaccine arrives at a clinic through vaccine administration.”