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AzHHA Member Advisory - COVID-19: September 19

COVID-19 vaccination update.

COVID-19 Vaccination Update

The Department of Health and Human Services this week released its strategy for the public distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine. The release provides a strategic distribution overview along with an interim playbook for state, tribal, territorial and local public health programs and their partners on how to plan and operationalize COVID-19 vaccination response within respective jurisdictions. The department also posted an infographic depicting the distribution process.

Meanwhile, the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) has been convening a weekly task force to:

  1. conduct outreach and recruitment to onboard vaccine providers;
  2. explore non-traditional vaccinators and reimbursement strategies;
  3. assess training and resource needs; and
  4. identify and share best practices for mass vaccination programs.

Providers interested in providing COVID-19 vaccination should register with the state at The onboarding process may take some time, so providers are encouraged to register immediately, even though it is unknown if/when a vaccine will become available. Some of the take-aways from recent task force meetings include:

  • At least eleven vaccines are under development by nine manufacturers. Five appear to be in phase three clinical trials. Click here to access the New York Times Coronavirus vaccine tracker for more information.
  • About half the vaccines require two doses, although for some vaccines, this is still under development.
  • While several of the vaccines may require ultra-low cold storage, the CDC does not recommend vaccinators purchase such units at this time. The CDC Vaccine Storage and Handling Toolkit provides additional guidance on cold storage for vaccines.
  • Ancillary supplies may be available from vendors on state contract (e.g., PPE and syringes), but these kits will not include N95s or sharp containers.
  • ADHS and local public health departments are mapping high priority populations who will be eligible to receive the initial doses allocated to Arizona. These populations include healthcare practitioners, healthcare support workers, and first responders. These populations align with the National Academy of Science, Engineering and Medicine’s preliminary framework for COVID 19 vaccine prioritization.
  • Because the vaccines will likely be made available under an emergency use authorization, ADHS has indicated they will work with the healthcare community on developing a uniform informed consent agreement.
  • As for next steps, ADHS is holding a table-top exercise September 30, which will inform further development of the state’s plan

AzHHA will continue to inform members as more information on the state plan becomes available. We also encourage you to contact your local public health department, as they are also engaged in these discussions and will play a key role in the program.