Today, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will review Pfizer’s application for Emergency Use Authorization for its vaccine, followed by Moderna’s vaccine on Dec. 17. With the vaccine arrival now only days away, we are turning a corner in this global health crisis.
FDA approval takes into account the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine. We will all have an opportunity to get in line when it is our turn to be vaccinated according to the prioritization set by the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). It is important that our colleagues and medical staff who are face-to-face caring for and supporting care for patients and residents with COVID-19 have the opportunity to receive the vaccine first. We are encouraging our families and friends to get it as soon as supplies are available for them, too.
We are following CDC ACIP and MDHHS guidelines on vaccine distribution and prioritization. Distribution is expected to begin within a few days of FDA approval. Vaccination locations will initially be limited to those selected by their state governing body. Vaccine supplies are limited, and we are following CDC ACIP and state governing bodies’ guidance on phased distribution. Trinity Health is following CDC’s recommendations for prioritizing health care personnel (including all roles in all locations across the continuum, including – for example, ambulatory sites, home care, etc.) to receive the vaccine as follows:
|Priority Phase||Health care Personnel (HCP) Roles across the continuum|
|1a(i)||HCP who provide direct patient care to – or are face-to-face with – large numbers of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients.|
|1a(ii)||HCP who provide direct patient care to – or are face-to-face with – large numbers of patients NOT suspected of having COVID-19. This includes all direct patient-care-facing roles and those interacting directly with patients including registration, transportation, dietary, etc.|
|1a(iii)||Other HCP providing essential services throughout the health care delivery system: HCP who handle infectious materials (e.g. Environmental Services, laboratory workers) who are not direct patient care facing and cannot work from home.|
|1a(iv)||All other HCP, including those who can currently work remotely.|
The vaccine will be offered to all colleagues and credentialed medical staff, but not mandated.
At this time, the COVID-19 vaccine will not be mandated for colleagues as an employment requirement, nor will it be mandatory for credentialed medical staff. We strongly encourage colleagues and medical staff to get the voluntary COVID-19 vaccine, following the phased prioritization approach, as the best way to continue to protect themselves and to help end this pandemic. Everyone, including our colleagues and their dependents enrolled in our Trinity Health medical plan, as well as our credentialed medical staff can receive the vaccine with no out-of-pocket costs. We will partner with community leaders to ensure people have access to the vaccine as soon as it becomes available to them following the phased prioritization.
Diligence to safety must continue
People who are vaccinated must also stay committed to the safety guidelines. It is crucial that we all remain vigilant with avoiding crowds, physical distancing, mask wearing and hand hygiene – and continue upholding our personal safe living and decision-making responsibilities.
Preparations for Distribution.
Our hospitals and medical groups have designated representatives who are participating in a statewide vaccination workgroup to address local plans for vaccination handling and distribution, logistics, scheduling and registration, and colleague communication / education. More information on local plans will be shared via email, e-newsletters, intranet, town halls and e-newsletters.
Thank you for everything you are doing to support our communities, and please continue to lean on one another. Continue to review the many resources available to you and your family.