The New York State Department of Health (DOH) has released prioritization guidance (attached) for hospitals and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) receiving COVID-19 vaccine this week (the week of December 21, 2020). The DOH guidance also alerted hospitals and FQHCs of their responsibility to act as vaccination centers for newly added priority groups that do not work within their facilities.

Updated Prioritization Guidance

The Week Two prioritization and allocation guidance is based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

The following populations are prioritized for vaccination beginning this week:

  • High-risk hospital and FQHC staff, including Office of Mental Health (OMH) psychiatric centers
  • Emergency Medical Services (EMS) 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 Office of People with Developmental Disabilities and OMH
  • Office of Addiction Services and Supports staff.

The DOH notification includes a worksheet (attached) and guidance tailored to the identified priority groups.

Hospitals and FQHCs as Vaccination Sites

DOH’s notification states that hospitals and FQHCs with vaccine allocations will function as centers at which prioritized staff working or living at other health facilities, targeted populations, or congregate settings outside their system will be vaccinated.

Hospitals and FQHCs have been notified about the following:

  • how much of the vaccine received will be allocated for staff within that hospital
  • which additional facilities or agencies will send staff or residents to be vaccinated
  • hospitals and FQHCs will be required to provide a schedule for vaccine administration to individuals outside their facility beginning December 23, 2020, via a DOH survey
  • access to DOH’s Countermeasure Data Management System where the priority populations outside the facility will be scheduled for vaccinations at times provided by the hospital or FQHC
  • that they may not be able to vaccinate their entire Phase 1A staff from the same shipment.  Hospitals and FQHCs will not able to move to the next level of prioritization unless and until New York State grants explicit permission

The DOH notification includes a table identifying the priority groups and who is responsible for vaccinating them in New York State and New York City, outlines hospital and FQHC responsibilities, and provides guidance on sub-prioritization to identify the most high-risk health care personnel.

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