The COVID-19 vaccine is here, what’s next?
Although the vaccine is now being distributed, we must continue to maintain all infection control safety measures because:
- There is a limited supply of vaccine at this time;
- We have yet to learn how long the vaccine protects against COVID-19; and
- We do not yet know whether a vaccinated person can still transmit the disease as a carrier.
School Reopening Guidance from the NYS SED, the CDC and the NYS DOH still apply.
The independent experts at the Advisory Committee on Immunization (ACIP) are releasing vaccine distribution recommendations to the Centers for Disease Control and the states.
The vaccines will be distributed as part of a four-phase process. Phase 1a, already underway, includes healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents and staff.
When will staff working in educational settings get the vaccine?
The ACIP has recently voted in favor of recommendations that Pre-K-12 teachers and support staff be included in the second phase of vaccine distribution, Phase 1b. Per the CDC, this phase does not presently include higher education. Updates will be provided regarding the priority status of higher education as they become available.
Phase 1b vaccinations are expected to start in the coming weeks after a sufficient number of people are vaccinated in Phase 1a. The phases will likely overlap.
We are awaiting more information on who is prioritized in this group and whether it includes higher education.
Phase 1b also includes seniors ages 75 and older and certain essential workers, such as first responders, public transit employees, grocery store staff, agriculture, manufacturing, corrections and the US Postal Service.
Phase 1c includes seniors ages 65 to 74 years old, people ages 16 to 64 with underlying health conditions, and other essential workers, such as those working in transportation, food service, finance and communications positions.
The ACIP has said that its definition of essential worker allows states, cities and localities to administer the vaccination to those with the most need within the recommendations.
When will children be eligible for the vaccine?
Children were not included in the initial clinical trials. The American Academy of Pediatrics has urged the FDA and the Department of Health and Human Services to encourage the inclusion of children in clinical trials as soon as possible.
Pfizer and Moderna trials are now being expanded to include children and younger people, yet it will likely be months before the FDA has sufficient data to provide approval.
Vaccine Administration Sites
Vaccines will be administered at Vaccine Administration Sites (VAS), which may include:
Hospitals, Long Term-Care Facilities, Federally Qualified Health Centers, Community Health Centers, Rural Health Centers, private providers and local health departments. Schools, colleges, universities, homeless shelters, correctional facilities and senior centers may also serve as VAS. To become VAS, an entity must enroll with the NYS Department of Health Vaccine Program by completing and submitting a COVID-19 Vaccination Provider Agreement
and Provider Profile.
If eligible, they will be activated in the NYS Immunization Information System (NYSIIS) with vaccine ordering capability.
A comprehensive provider outreach, enrollment and training effort is underway. Connect with your school to see if your district has enrolled in this program to be a VAS. We will continue to provide updates as more information about vaccine trial data and priority groups is made available.
For more information on the Pfizer Vaccine:
For more information on the Moderna Vaccine:
The Centers for Disease Control: