OPA COVID-19 Vaccines and Therapeutics: February 22, 2022 Update
NewODH Delays Ordering for Pfizer Vaccines for Individuals Ages 6 Months to 4 Years
Last week the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) announced a delay to the new Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vials for individuals ages 6 months to 4 years. This follows a delay by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve the COVID-19 vaccine for this age group. If your pharmacy ordered the new formulation, ODH plans to archive any orders made for future use. Further guidance will be provided once this age group is approved for COVID-19 vaccine administration.
Reminder: CMS COVID-19 Booster Vaccination Data for Nursing Home
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services post COVID-19 booster vaccination data from nursing homes on the Medicare.gov Care Compare website. Using this data may present an opportunity to educate patients and personnel from nursing homes about vaccination services directly to these homes to increase vaccination rates. Additionally, pharmacists can advise patients to refer to this website before choosing a nursing home for a loved one.
Reminder: Communty COVID Coalition Social Media Resources
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation, in partnership with the National Governors Association (NGA), the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), and the Association of Immunization Managers (AIM), have created the Community COVID Coalition to focus on communicating about COVID-19 quickly and effectively with diverse communities. The coalition provides ready-to-use social media resources on vaccine development, vaccine ingredients, myths and facts, and more.
Reminder: Federal Government Supplies All Homes with Four Free COVID-19 Tests
Last week the federal government announced that every home in the U.S. is eligible to order four free at-home COVID-19 tests. Orders are being shipped by the United States Postal Service (USPS), and distribution dates are 7-12 days from ordering. Please direct your patients to order the tests through this website: https://special.usps.com/testkits. Here is a flyer that can be printed and posted in your pharmacy.
Patients who have difficulty accessing the internet or need additional support to order at home COVID -19 tests can call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489) to get help in English, Spanish, and more than 150 other languages. The phone line is open from 8 AM to midnight EST every day of the week. The Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL) is also available to specifically help people with disabilities place their orders. To get help, call 1-888-677-1199, Monday-Friday from 9 AM to 8 PM EST, or email DIAL@usaginganddisability.org.
Warning: The National Institutes of Health state that COVID-19 at-home tests stored below 36 °F or above 86 °F can deliver inaccurate results. With recent Ohio temperatures, test kits left in mailboxes overnight probably should not be used. Most studies have found that frozen and then thawed liquid reagent in the kit will result in a false-negative rather than a false-positive result. The FDA has stated that individuals should allow any mailed COVID-19 tests to return to room temperature, regardless of the temperature at delivery, over two hours and can choose to administer the test as directed. If there is any discrepancy to the test results, such as inaccurate line formations or no appearance of lines, providers and patients should report the problem through the FDA MedWatch Online Voluntary Reporting Form.
Reminder: Walk-In COVID-19 Vaccine Services Inquiry Survey for Pharmacists Serving Medicaid Populations
A barrier identified in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine among Medicaid populations is a lack of access to vaccine appointments because of life circumstances and other barriers. Ohio’s Medicaid managed care leadership seeks to highlight pharmacies offering walk-in clinics to their membership to allow broader access to the vaccine. If your pharmacy provides walk-in COVID-19 vaccine services for one to many days in the week, please respond to this survey: Walk-In Vaccine Clinic Inquiry.
Reminder: $100 COVID-19 Medicaid Administration Fee Deadline Extended
The Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) and Ohio’s Medicaid Managed Care Plan (MCP) leaders announced that the administration fee for COVID-19 vaccines is $100 for all COVID-19 shots, including first, second, and booster doses for Medicaid members has been extended to June 30, 2022. See further details on the covidvaxonthespot.com on the Provider and Pharmacy Resources webpage. The MCP leadership encourages pharmacies to assist Medicaid patients with accessing first, second, and booster shots through phone calls, walk-in appointments, and other personalized outreach.
Reminder: Medicaid COVID-19 Patient Vaccine $100 Gift Card Incentive Deadline Extended
Ohio’s managed care plans announced that the $100 gift card incentive for Medicaid patients receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine has been extended to June 30, 2022.
- Pharmacies can receive Visa gift cards directly to give to patients. If you are an independent pharmacy vaccinator, please email RxCovidTracking@centene.com for your gift card needs. Thank you to those who have already responded with the projected gift cards needed.
- Once you get to 75% of your gift card allocation, please reach out to Attn: Meera Patel-Zook – Gift Card Request at RxCovidTracking@centene.com so that they can ship out an additional allotment to your store.
- If you have received gift cards, please ensure that you track their use through the COVID-19 Vaccine Gift Card Tracker Example. Vaccinators can now add all the information for all MCOs in ONE tracker and send that tracker to RxCOVIDTracking@CENTENE.COM.
Note: This incentive is available to all Medicaid patients ages five and above who are eligible to receive their first COVID-19 vaccine. A legal guardian must accompany individuals who are minors to receive the gift card incentive.
The following resources are helpful for vaccinators to contact ODH regarding vaccine shipments:
- COVID Vaccine Provider Call Center: 1-844-963-4829 (The ODH Provider Call Center is open daily from 8:00 am – 7:00 pm Monday through Friday and is no longer open on weekends)
- COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Resources website
OPA is working diligently to facilitate communication between state decision-makers and member pharmacists. OPA has created multiple COVID-19 resources, including a COVID-19 Vaccine Information Webpage, COVID-19 Testing Hub, and COVID-19 Resources Webpage, on the OPA website www.ohiopharmacists.org under the Resources drop-down box. Please contact Myriam Shaw Ojeda, Director of Pharmacy Extension and Public Health Initiatives, for further questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.