At its meeting in mid-October, Washington’s Vaccine Advisory Committee (VAC) discussed how physicians and other health care providers can be prepared for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Physicians and all other health care providers will need to enroll in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program. Enrollment will begin in November. The Washington State Department of Health is developing an online portal to enroll; in the meantime, DOH has published a PDF that explains the conditions clinics must agree to and what information will be required to enroll.

High-risk workers in health care facilities, along with high-risk first responders, have been identified as the highest priority groups to receive the COVID vaccine. The next highest priority group includes people of all ages with comorbid and underlying conditions putting them at significantly higher risk, as well as older adults living in congregate or overcrowded settings.

However, given the anticipated challenges in producing and distributing the vaccine, further sub-prioritization will likely be required. WAFP’s representatives to VAC have requested member input on this sub-prioritization; you can fill out the DOH’s survey here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LSJZP68

The survey closes at 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 26.

Operational Plans

DOH is asking that physicians and other clinical staff review guidance for planning vaccination clinics from the CDC and the National Adult and Influenza Immunization Summit.

Among the considerations:

  • How will you staff clinics and train staff?
  • How will you monitor staff and patients receiving the vaccine?
  • What is your process for reminding staff and patients about their second dose of the vaccine?
  • What is your capacity for storing and monitoring vaccines, including continuous vaccine temperature monitoring?

Clinics are also asked to identify refrigerators and freezers to store the vaccine.

With those factors in mind, clinics should use tabletop exercises or existing vaccination clinics to test procedures for vaccinating staff and patients, documentation of vaccine administration, and reporting of data to Washington’s Immunization Information System.

Finally, clinics should consider whether they could serve as a site for vaccine and ancillary supply (e.g., for first responders and/or mobile vaccinators).

WAFP will distribute additional information about COVID-19 vaccine planning once it is disseminated from DOH.