The New York State Department of Health (DOH) released updated COVID-19 Phase 1A vaccine program guidance (attached) that supersedes and replaces previously issued week one and week two guidance. The guidance reviews Phase 1A prioritization; which types of providers will receive vaccine shipments; where priority groups can get vaccinated; vaccinator responsibilities, including planning for the second dose and verifying identification of individuals being vaccinated; vaccine storage and handling; and information for the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), the Office of Mental Health (OMH), and facilities with the Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS).

DOH emphasizes the following in its guidance:

  • COVID-19 vaccine must be given according to the DOH-established prioritization plan
  • The first group to be vaccinated at any facility or vaccination site will be health care personnel within the facility at high risk for transmitting or becoming infected with COIVD-19, including direct care, administrative staff, and food and housekeeping services staff who have contact with patients or infectious materials
  • After frontline high-risk staff are vaccinated, facilities must vaccinate the next priority groups, as detailed in the DOH guidance
  • Facilities that are told to set aside allocations to vaccinate priority groups are required to do so
  • The vaccine cannot be used for any populations or groups other than those the facility is instructed to vaccinate at this time
  • If at any point all eligible and appropriate staff and prioritized groups have been vaccinated and vaccine doses remain, facilities must contact DOH at covid19vaccine@health.ny.gov
  • Vaccine cannot be transported to another location without the approval and consent of DOH. Facilities needing to transport vaccine should submit a completed redistribution form to covid19vaccine@health.ny.gov and wait for approval.

Week Three and Four Prioritized Populations

Week three and four prioritizations are summarized here. At a glance:

Week Three (Starting December 28)

  • High-risk hospital and Federally Qualified Health Center staff, including OMH psychiatric centers
  • Emergency Medical Services personnel
  • Medical examiners and coroners
  • Funeral workers who have direct contact with infectious material and bodily fluids
  • Agency staff and residents in congregate living situations run by the OPWDD, OMH, and OASAS
  • Urgent care providers
  • Staff administering the COVID-19 vaccine

Week Four (Starting January 4)

  • All outpatient/ambulatory frontline high risk health care providers who provide direct in-person patient care or other staff in a position where they have direct contact with patients such as receptionists of any age. This will include but is not limited to hospital and community-based ambulatory care, primary care, outpatient behavioral health services, phlebotomists, physical and occupational therapists, and specialty clinics, including dialysis centers.
  • All frontline high risk public health workers who have direct contact with patients
  • Health care workers at testing sites

For a compilation of recent updates and guidance about COVID-19 vaccination distribution, please see GNYHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination page.