The initial shipment of vaccine is being distributed directly to Arkansas’ 18 largest hospitals and to the other acute care hospitals via 5 pharmacy services. With limited supply, hospitals have been asked to develop a prioritization plan starting with their most at-risk staff such as those in the COVID ICU units. As more vaccine supply arrives, distribution will expand to long term care residents/personnel and other health care workers and first responders. This would include physician medical offices. Vaccinations will be provided by select pharmacies that have agreed to serve as Phase 1-A vaccination providers.
Please read the ADH COVID-19 Vaccination Phased Plan below:
The COVID-19 vaccination program will require a phased approach. In Phase 1, limited doses will be available and focus will be on vaccinating high priority groups. In Phase 2, a large number of doses will be available allowing the general population to be vaccinated. In Phase 3, enough doses will be available for all persons needing vaccination and there will be a shift to providing COVID-19 as a routine vaccination.
There are no definite dates for transition between phases, or even within the separate portions of a phase, as the transition depends on vaccine supply and whether those in the current phase have been sufficiently vaccinated. Transitions will be communicated with healthcare providers and groups with as much anticipation as possible.
During Phase 1, when limited doses are available, it will be necessary to focus vaccination efforts on key population groups to increase early impact on the course of the pandemic. Phase 1 is divided into three high priority areas. Phase 1-A will be the highest priority. Also affecting allocation of doses in the very initial stages are the ultra-cold storage and handling requirements of the initial authorized vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech), as well as the fact that it is shipped in quantities of 975 doses.
Phase 1-A – began 12/14/20
• Health care workers (HCW), beginning with those in highest-risk settings (for exposure to virus)
• Large hospitals (a total of 18) with highest volume of COVID-19 patients will receive direct shipment of vaccine to vaccinate their workers.
• Workers in small hospitals will be vaccinated through specific pharmacies. These pharmacies may perform vaccinations themselves or transfer COVID-19 vaccine to the hospital for hospital staff to vaccinate their employees, depending on arrangement.
• Long-term care (LTC) residents
• LTC facility residents and workers will be vaccinated by specifically identified pharmacies that work with these LTC facilities.
• Other health care workers and first responders will be vaccinated through select pharmacies that have agreed to serve as Phase 1-A vaccination providers
• Essential workers will be vaccinated through community pharmacies and medical clinics that have agreed to serve as Phase 1-B vaccination providers,
• Examples of essential workers include day care workers, workers in K-12 and Higher Education, food industry (meat packing and grocery), correctional workers, utilities, truck drivers, and essential government and infrastructure workers, etc.
• Persons at increased risk for severe disease will be vaccinated through community pharmacies and medical clinics that have agreed to serve as Phase 1-B vaccination providers.
• Adults of any age with chronic health conditions.
• Adults aged 65 years and older.
• Persons who reside in congregate settings will be vaccinated through community pharmacies and medical clinics as well as pharmacy mobile units, as needed
These phases have been based on initial ACIP recommendations. Phases 1-B and 1-C are subject to change depending on further ACIP recommendations and vaccine supply.
Anticipated allocations of vaccines are as follows:
• Initial allocation will be Pfizer vaccine expected Dec 13-19. This allocation will be for highest- risk health care workers in Phase 1-A.
• Second allocation will be Pfizer and Moderna vaccine expected Dec 20-26. This allocation will be for high-risk health care workers as well as long-term care residents and healthcare workers in Phase 1-A.
• Subsequent weekly allocations will be for additional health care workers and LTC residents until Phase 1-A is well covered or demand for vaccine is saturated prior to moving to Phase 1-B. Some of these HCWs will receive vaccination through the hospital system with which their clinic is affiliated. HCWs from clinics and facilities not affiliated with hospital systems will be asked to send their priority staff to pharmacies to receive the vaccine, all as vaccine supply allows.
• Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine EUA Fact Sheet for Healthcare Providers
• Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine EUA Fact Sheet for Patients
For a good presentation on COVID-19 vaccine safety and adverse events from CDC, click here.
Read the ADH guidance here.