GNYHA is providing updates from New York State on its COVID-19 vaccine program. For a compilation of recent COVID-19 vaccine distribution program updates and guidance, please see GNYHA’s COVID-19 Vaccination page.

EO 202.91 and DOH Dear Provider Letter

Over the weekend, the New York State Governor’s Office released Executive Order (EO) 202.91, which includes the following directives:

  • Local health departments and county governments receive allocation for and must prioritize essential workers in the 1B category. Hospitals receive allocations for and must prioritize health care workers. Pharmacies are to prioritize individuals who are 65+. The New York State Department of Health (DOH) approved general population mass vaccination sites are to prioritize 65+ and essential workers in the 1B category. We allocate dosages to these provider classes to represent the fair distribution. If a provider distributes to a group outside of their “prioritization,” they will disrupt the fairness of the allocation.
  • Providers, unless otherwise directed, should not schedule appointments until they receive an allocation, and no more appointments should be scheduled than the actual allocation allows

Consistent with the EO, DOH Commissioner Howard Zucker sent a letter (attached) to enrolled vaccinators regarding limited vaccine allocations and highlighted three points:

  • The vaccine must be distributed fairly
  • It is essential that providers follow the law on “prioritization” of populations
  • Providers, unless otherwise directed, should not schedule appointments until they receive an allocation and no more appointments should be scheduled than the actual allocation allows

The EO and the provider letter do not directly address prioritization for Federally Qualified Health Centers, private practice offices, and other community health providers that are enrolled in the New York State vaccination program. Prior guidance instructed these providers to focus on individuals 65+.

Weekly Planning Requests (non-New York City/Rest of State)

Over the weekend, DOH sent an e-mail (attached) regarding weekly planning requests (formerly called pre-booking) in the New York State Immunization Information System (NYSIIS). To be considered for a COVID-19 vaccine allocation, enrolled vaccinators must submit a new planning request in NYSIIS each Monday by 5:00 p.m.

Planning requests should be for first doses only using either the campaign code “COVID_pharmacy1” for pharmacies or “COVID1” for all other providers. DOH will manage second dose allocations and will automatically allocate and ship product at the appropriate interval.

Instructions (attached) for requesting COVID-19 vaccine in NYSIIS have been updated. DOH emphasizes that a planning request is a requested amount, and that submitting a planning request does not guarantee an immediate allocation or allocation at the level requested.

Redistribution Guidance

DOH also has issued updated redistribution guidance (attached). The tracking spreadsheet has been updated to include a field for if the redistributed vaccine doses are second doses.

HERDS Hospital Daily Survey Updates

DOH recently updated the COVID-19 Vaccine Administration section of its Health Emergency Response Data System’s (HERDS) Hospital Daily survey. DOH added two questions and provided guidance regarding the existing question, “Of the Phase 1A population who work at or for your hospital, how many are currently scheduled to receive a first dose of the vaccine?” The two additional questions are:

  1. Do you have sufficient doses in inventory to vaccinate all those scheduled? (Yes/No)
  2. If you do not have sufficient doses in inventory to vaccinate all those scheduled, how many doses beyond what you have in inventory right now do you need to complete scheduled vaccinations?

DOH has indicated that hospitals should not schedule appointments until they receive a vaccine allocation, and no more appointments should be scheduled than actual vaccine allocation allows. DOH recently provided additional clarification that your hospital should consider this guidance when responding to these three questions. GNYHA has listed two scenarios below as examples for responding to the new questions.

  1. For hospitals with vaccine inventory and that enter a number greater than zero for “Of the Phase 1A population who work at or for your hospital, how many are currently scheduled to receive a first dose of the vaccine?”, DOH advises that your hospital should then respond “Yes” to “Do you have sufficient doses in inventory to vaccinate all those scheduled? (Yes/No)” because your hospital should not have more scheduled appointments than actual vaccine inventory
  2. For hospitals without any vaccine inventory, your hospital should enter zero for “Of the Phase 1A population who work at or for your hospital, how many are currently scheduled to receive a first dose of the vaccine?” since you cannot schedule appointments without a vaccine allocation. DOH advises that your hospital then respond “Yes” to “Do you have sufficient doses in inventory to vaccinate all those scheduled? (Yes/No)” since your hospital’s number of doses and number of scheduled appointments are both zero.

If you have any questions regarding the new HERDS vaccine questions listed above or other HERDS inquiries.