Photo courtesy of The University of Vermont Medical Center
Vermont Business Magazine The Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (VAHHS), which represents all of Vermont’s 14 non-profit hospitals, announced this week new information in the State’s planned distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations. Hospitals have stepped up since the outset of the pandemic — sharing PPE, organizing community testing, helping to plan for a surge of patients and, most recently, leading efforts to vaccinate the first phase (1a) of Vermonters as outlined by the CDC and the State of Vermont.
“The vaccine distribution process is new, complex and was developed over a short period of time. Still, hospitals are leading the way to ensure vaccinations are administered to patient-facing providers and staff in their hospitals and in their communities as quickly and effectively as possible,” said Jeff Tieman, President and CEO of VAHHS.
- Hospitals continue implementation of Vermont Department of Health distribution plan
- Moderna, Inc. vaccine receives FDA approval and begins arrival this week
- Hospitals ask for support and partnership with community providers and public as state plans are still in development for coming weeks
Prioritizations of community health care workers are being developed by the State of Vermont. On December 8, hospitals received the following allocation guidance from the Vermont Department of Health for the first weeks of vaccinations:
- Week 1: 13% patient-facing hospital staff, 33% of EMS
- Week 2: 33% patient-facing hospital staff, 33% EMS, 3.5% Home Health
- Week 3: 24% patient-facing hospital staff, 33% EMS, 10% Home Health, 12% non-hospital health care workers
As of last week, approximately 3,100 patient-facing hospital staff and EMS personnel were vaccinated. Vaccinations were given at every Vermont hospital. Vaccine shipments are delayed for some hospitals this week, so they are adjusting plans and vaccinating as many as they can, given the doses available. The vaccine developed by Moderna, Inc. received preliminary FDA approval late last week, and doses could begin arriving this week. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots to complete the protocol.
VAHHS emphasized the need for patience and understanding as the distribution on COVID-19 vaccines takes place. “While there is not yet enough vaccine for employees of every clinic and practice, everyone engaged in this effort is working as hard and as fast as possible to vaccinate those who have been identified for vaccination in the first three weeks,” Tieman stated.
Trey Dobson is the Chief Medical Officer at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington. He is urging health care workers to get vaccinated as soon as they are able to, based on the State’s plan. “The vaccine is safe,” he said. “COVID-19 is extremely dangerous, is killing 2,500 plus people in the U.S. per day and is wrecking our personal lives. Getting a majority of people vaccinated will reduce severe sickness and deaths, allow us to travel again and allow us to gather with friends and family again. We’re all in this together.”
It will still be many weeks until we move into later phases of the vaccine distribution plan, and details for prioritization are still being developed by the state. VAHHS asks the health care community and the public to stay informed and continue to be patient and kind to one another.
“These are the most unusual times of our lives and none of us has ever known the level of planning required to vaccinate our population against a global virus in a matter of weeks,” Tieman stressed. “Our hospitals and health care providers are doing their level best more than 40 weeks into the pandemic to get this done so we can be safe from COVID-19. In the meantime, you know the drill: masks on, social distance, and wash hands. The end is in sight.”
Source: Montpelier, VT – Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems 12.23.2020