The New York State Department of Health (DOH) issued new guidance (attached) for Week 9 of the New York State COVID-19 vaccination program.

Hospitals are instructed to continue prioritizing unvaccinated 1a health care workers, particularly their own staff, who wish to be vaccinated. After that, hospitals can open to all populations eligible for vaccination at hospitals, including 1a individuals who are not employed at the hospital, Office for People With Developmental Disabilities congregate care populations, then individuals 65 and older. Eligible hospital employees who are not vaccinated by the end of Week 9 (e.g., new eligible employees, employees who changed their mind) may still be vaccinated out of future allocations.

Beginning in Week 10 on February 15, adults over the age of 16 with specific comorbidities and underlying conditions will be eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine. This week’s guidance instructs local health departments (LHDs) to coordinate with health care providers in their region to determine the best way to vaccinate those individuals. GNYHA is in direct communication with DOH and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene about the role of hospitals in vaccinating this new eligible population and will share more information once it is available.

The Week 9 guidance also reviews:

  • Vaccine provider responsibilities, including prioritization and data tracking
  • Vaccinating individuals from outside of your facility or practice
  • Second dose and “extra dose” guidance
  • Using any remaining COVID-19 vaccine doses
  • The mandatory vaccine form
  • Proof of occupation or eligibility
  • Vaccine safety
  • Equity considerations

Secure Disposal of Vaccine Vials and Packaging Recommendations

The U.S. Department of Defense has released a memo (attached) on the secure disposal of COVID-19 vaccine vials and packaging. The memo recommends that vaccinators either 1) treat vials and packaging similarly to medical waste by placing it in red sharps containers or 2) deface all or safely crush materials so it cannot be reintroduced or reproduced. After the products are sufficiently defaced, then dispose with regular waste.

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