Finally, the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine has begun. We received information from OPWDD that our employees and people served will soon be eligible to get the vaccine. As we know more information, we will send updates through the COVID-19 email and Therap s-comm. Please share this information with individuals you support and their families. You can also direct families to our agency website at https://www.csevery1.com/covid-19/ for pertinent information. Here is what we know:
- New York State has further clarified that people living in any type of OPWDD residence (IRAs), as well as the staff that support them, will be included in “Phase 1A” of the distribution plan. Vaccine distribution is expected to begin the week of 12/21. Discussion about the potential for broadening the population included in Phase 1A continues.
- Individuals and staff working in these settings must receive their vaccine at a designated administration site. Over 1,000 sites statewide are being vetted now by the Department of Health, who is working with OPWDD and the local Departments of Health.
- OPWDD has identified 414 residences statewide wherein 50% of the individuals who live there are 65 years of age or older. Individuals living in these residences will be enrolled in the long-term care pharmacy distribution initiative being developed. We have not yet been notified which of our sites will be included in this, but more information should be forthcoming.
- The distribution through pharmacies is for the Pfizer vaccine, which necessitates ultra-deep freezer conditions, the capacity for which participating pharmacies have. All other individuals who live in certified residential settings are expected to receive the Moderna vaccine, which does not require such ultra-deep freeze storage. We are being told that is expected to be shipped to NYS on 12/22, if approved.
- Each person served will need to give Informed Consent in order to give the vaccine (or follow the process normally used by a person who cannot individually consent).
- The vaccine is Strongly Encouraged for staff and people served, but not Mandatory.
- We do not have guidance yet on the timing of vaccines for staff who work outside our Residential program. Our assumption is that they would be included in the Essential Worker vaccine roll out, but do not have a date for that yet.
- We do not have guidance yet on the timing of the vaccine for those served in other programs (outside Residential). Our assumption is that they would be included in the vulnerable population roll out, but are awaiting further information.
In order to prepare, we need to get an idea of how many employees are planning to take the vaccine. We may need to place orders by site and therefore are asking employees to take two minutes to complete a survey. Employees will not be held to the decision on this on survey. If an employee identifies they want the vaccine and in three weeks change their mind, that’s ok. Employees were provided the link via s-comm and email – please reach out to COVID19@csevery1.com if you are an employee and did not receive the survey link.
If you have any questions related to this or anything covid related, please email the COVID19@csevery1.com.