COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Weekly Updates

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COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Weekly Updates

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Minnesota Department of Health

March 11, 2021

Good afternoon,

Here are the COVID-19 vaccine provider updates for 3/5-3/11.

COVID-19 vaccine provider guide

Appendix C: Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine (PDF) has been updated with links to the updated CDC interim clinical considerations. The provider guide and appendices are getting a refresh and will be updated next week.

COVID-19 vaccine protocols

The new Janssen COVID-19 vaccine protocol template is posted at COVID-19 Vaccine Providers and Vaccine Protocols.

The Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine protocol templates have be updated on the same pages.

MDH COVID-19 Screening and Agreement template updated

The screening and agreement template has been updated at COVID-19 Vaccine Providers.

Second doses are important

For COVID-19 vaccines that need two doses, it is important for people to receive both doses, and that both doses are the same vaccine product. Providers need to make every effort to keep the second doses within the recommended interval.

MDH has posted guidance for providers on completing the two-dose series at COVID-19 Vaccine Second Dose Guidance

Communicating the importance of being completely vaccinated

Some people may be hesitant about getting the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

We have information on why the second dose is important at About COVID-19 Vaccine in the “Getting Vaccinated” section. Share this information with people who are hesitant or want more information on second doses:

  • It is very important that someone gets both vaccine doses, the same product for each dose, and that the doses are given at the correct interval.
  • The vaccine works best after two doses.
  • If someone only gets one dose, they may not be as well protected against COVID-19.
  • The second dose boosts your immunity to COVID-19 and will help even if it is a longer time between shots.
  • It is best if you can get your second dose within six weeks from your first dose, but even if it is longer than that, you do not need to start over.

Encourage people to set up their appointment for the second dose before they leave. Have a system to track people who are ready for second doses who have not returned; continue to reach out to them! If someone declines the second dose, you may document that in your medical record, but continue to encourage them to complete the series.

We will be doing more to share information on social media and through other channels on the importance of second doses. Thank you for your help in spreading our messages!

Vaccinate primary caregivers

Both paid and unpaid health care workers are included in the phase 1a, third priority group and should be prioritized for vaccination. This includes Personal Care Assistants (PCAs) and Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). Eligible unpaid caregivers include primary caregivers who work in similar capacities as PCAs, DSPs, and nurses for people with complex medical needs, and tactile interpreters for people who are deaf-blind.

There are many ways that someone can show they are providing direct care:

  • If they are providing care through a Community Directed Community Support waiver, they could provide paperwork showing inclusion in that plan.
  • The fiscal agent for administering the plan could provide a letter for people employed or caregiving under this system.
  • They could provide a letter from a physician or other party. 
  • They could show an IEP assessment report that shows direct support needs or lists conditions of child
  • Proof that they are a Responsible Party (meaning they hire staff for the person thus they would likely be acting in a similar capacity).

These are some examples but are not intended to be an exhaustive list. The caregiver’s and vaccinator’s best and reasonable judgment should be used. Do not turn people away that cannot produce documentation. Find more information at More about vaccination for primary caregivers.

Expanded vaccine eligibility

On Tuesday, March 9, Governor Walz announced that Minnesota is expanding vaccine eligibility as the state reaches its goal of vaccinating 70% of Minnesotans 65 years of age and older this week. New groups of Minnesotans are now eligible to be vaccinated, including people with underlying health conditions, essential workers, people with rare conditions or disabilities, and people over 50 years who are living in multi-generational housing. Providers are directed to prioritize vaccine appointments for people in the first of these phases (phase 1b – tier 2) and then have the flexibility to offer available appointments to others who are now eligible. Find more details on the newly eligible groups at COVID-19 Vaccine Phases and Planning.

Vaccinating 16- and 17-year-olds

Providers enrolled in the COVID-19 vaccine program do not need to be enrolled in the Minnesota Vaccines for Children (MnVFC) program to administer COVID-19 vaccine to 16- and 17-year-olds. You can be reimbursed by medical assistance (MA) for the administration fee for COVID-19 vaccines given to this age group, even if you are not enrolled in MnVFC. Remember that Pfizer is the only COVID-19 vaccine product that is currently authorized for this age group.

Do not return Janssen shipping containers

Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine is shipped at refrigerator temperatures in the packaging McKesson uses for our routine vaccines. These containers do not need to be returned. Continue to return the frozen vaccine containers that the Moderna vaccine comes in, and the ultra-cold shippers the Pfizer vaccine comes in. Shipping labels are included in the packaging.

Temperature excursions

Moderna and Janssen both have temperature excursion tools available online. If you have out-of-range temperatures, do not use the vaccine until you are sure it is viable. Collect information about the amount of time and temperature of the excursion and go to the appropriate website:

Please continue to call MDH or CDC if you have any out-of-range temperatures.

  • Contact MDH between 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 651-201-5414 to determine your next steps.
  • When MDH is not available (e.g., closed on weekends, evenings, and holidays), CDC is taking COVID-19 vaccine calls 24 hours a day/seven days a week (including holidays) at 800-CDC-INFO (800-232- 4636).

If vaccine thaws, do not re-freeze.

Green Moderna vials

A portion of the Moderna vials that were recently distributed may appear thicker and have a slight green tint because of the vial sterilization process during manufacturing. Moderna is engaging multiple suppliers of vials to meet the volume demands of the COVID-19 pandemic. This tinting is strictly visual and has no impact on the vaccine. The vials might have a range of colors under various lighting conditions. Over time, vial tinting may fade naturally, resulting in a faint yellow color.

Please continue to inspect each dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine prior to administration in accordance with the Administration section of the Moderna: Vaccination Provider Fact Sheet (PDF).

Tell people getting vaccinated about v-safe!

V-safe is CDC’s smartphone-based tool to help monitor vaccine safety. It uses text messaging and web surveys for people to check in after they get a COVID-19 vaccination. V-safe allows participants to report side effects and gives them a reminder to get their second dose if they need one.

V-safe is now in the following languages:

  • English
  • Korean
  • Simplified Chinese
  • Spanish
  • Vietnamese

V-safe participants will receive text messages and web surveys in the language chosen when they sign-up.

Please share the v-safe information sheet at CDC: V-safe Print Resources with people after they receive the COVID-19 vaccine. For help sharing messages on v-safe, refer to CDC V-safe Key Messages and QA for Partners (PDF). Learn more about v-safe at CDC: V-safe After Vaccination Health Checker.

Reminders for entering quality data into MIIC

  • Please enter doses that a client received at another facility as “historical.”
  • Enter doses given by the organization who is entering them into MIIC (administered doses) as “administered.”
  • Please make sure that correct date of vaccination is entered into MIIC for all doses of vaccine.
  • Ensure that correct vaccine product name is included with each dose.

New immunization spreadsheet coming soon

A new immunization spreadsheet will be available early April for entering batch vaccine data into MIIC. The new spreadsheet will include race/ethnicity fields and phone number. Please continue to download the latest version of the spreadsheet from MIIC each time you use it.

MIIC webinar recordings

The Minnesota Immunization Information Connection (MIIC) conducted a four-part webinar series.

Recordings for the first three webinars are posted at MIIC User Guidance and Training Resources. The final webinar’s recording will be available soon.

COVID-19 vaccine office hours with MDH

We are hosting office hours for health care providers. The office hours happen twice a week on Tuesdays at 12:30 p.m. and Fridays at 8 a.m. and last for 30 minutes. Starting next week, we will only be hosting office hours on Tuesdays.

This is time for you to come and ask questions of the vaccine clinical experts at MDH. Feel free to drop in at any point during the half hour time slot.

Tuesdays at 12:30 p.m.: Click here to join the Teams meeting. Join on your computer or mobile app.

Fridays at 8:00 a.m. (last one on Friday, March 12): Click here to join the Teams meeting. Join on your computer or mobile app.

Find previous bulletins at COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Updates.