DOH Guidance for Weeks 1-5 of Vaccine Distribution

January 2, 2021

The New York State Department of Health (DOH) has issued new guidance for providers that have and will receive COVID-19 vaccine in weeks 1-5 of vaccine distribution in New York State.

This guidance supersedes all prior guidance.

In an effort to administer vaccines efficiently, DOH informs providers that “all doses of vaccine must be administered within the week received, and facilities must notify NYSDOH if there is not an ability to administer such doses within the week. Your allocation is based upon the priority group population at your facility or assigned to be vaccinated at such facility. If there is an expectation that you are unable to complete the administration within that week, NYSDOH may remove remaining vaccine to ensure it is administered to those high-need population groups as soon as possible.”

DOH also states that 1) facilities are required to track vaccine uptake among their staff and must be prepared to provide this data to DOH upon request, and 2) all individuals receiving the COVID-19 vaccination must fill out the DOH COVID-19 vaccine screening form pursuant to Executive Order 202.86 and attest that they are eligible to be vaccinated. DOH has informed GNYHA that the vaccine screening form is being updated and will be posted soon on DOH’s webpage with vaccine information for providers.

The guidance provides detailed lists of Week 4 and 5 priority populations. Week 4 will add outpatient and ambulatory providers in high-risk areas and high-risk public health workers. DOH will add home care workers to the eligible priority group lists in Week 5.

The guidance also reiterates vaccinator responsibilities, provides instruction on how to identify staff prioritized for vaccine within the facility receiving vaccine, and states that facilities receiving vaccine will be called upon to vaccinate future priority groups. Related to this, DOH states that individuals being vaccinated who come from outside the facility must bring proof of eligibility to the vaccination site.

Finally, the guidance includes information on planning for administering the second COVID-19 vaccine dose, vaccine safety, and vaccinator responsibilities in ensuring equity across all priority groups. DOH emphasizes that workers who meet criteria for vaccination must be included, regardless of job title, and instructs providers to communicate with and provide updates to all staff on how prioritization will work.