The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met today to finalize recommendations for prioritization of COVID-19 vaccine administration. The ACIP is a federal body consisting of medical professionals serving in an advisory role to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The recommendations of the ACIP will be reviewed and considered for inclusion in the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), which represents the official CDC recommendations for immunization priorities. States will review the recommendations and update their individual vaccination programs accordingly.
The ACIP approved a recommendation to the CDC to advance vaccine rollout Phase 1a, which includes a very broad definition of health care workers and long-term care facilities. However, the recommendation did not explicitly address individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities or Direct Support Professionals. NBC News reported a summary of the meeting and ACIP's recommendation.
Advocacy groups, including ANCOR, issued statements calling for prioritization of people with I/DD in distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
A copy of today's ACIP meeting presentation can be found here. ACIP will meet again once the FDA approves an EUA for a vaccine.
The Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) is scheduled to meet on December 10 to discuss an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. They will meet again on December 17 to discuss an EUA for the Moderna Inc. vaccine.
Once the FDA grants an EUA for a vaccine and the CDC publishes their recommendations, distribution of vaccines will begin, and states will begin to implement vaccination programs. New York state's vaccination program report can be found here
The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) shared several documents pertaining to provider enrollment in the NYS COVID-19 Vaccination Program. These materials are included below. Providers outside of New York City interested in administering COVID-19 vaccinations must enroll in the program to receive the vaccine and ancillary supplies once available. Enrollment of providers within the five boroughs of NYC is handled by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The enrollment process must be completed through the Health Commerce System online application tool by close of business on December 7. A New York State Immunization Information System (NYSIIS) account is also needed to complete enrollment. Enrollment instructions and other resources to assist with this process can be found below. Additionally, a recorded webinar about the enrollment process is available here.
NYS COVID-19 Winter Plan
On Monday, Governor Cuomo announced a "Winter Plan" that includes five strategies to address the expected increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations over the holiday season. A full outline of the Winter Plan and a recording of the Governor's press conference can be found here.
The plan's five targeted strategies include managing hospital capacity, increasing and balancing testing resources and availability, ensuring schools remain open, preventing viral spread from small gatherings, and operationalizing a vaccination program.
Additional metrics pertaining to hospitals will now be used when determining which geographic areas qualify as cluster zones. A new "Emergency Stop" level has been added to the existing zone levels. "Emergency Stop" designation places an area under the original New York State on PAUSE guidelines. Additional information on the guidelines can be found here