COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Weekly Updates

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COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Weekly Updates

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Minnesota Department of Health

May 20, 2021


Good afternoon,

Here are the COVID-19 vaccine provider updates for May 17 to May 20, 2021.

Direct requests for COVID-19 vaccine in the Minnesota Immunization Information Connection (MIIC)

Beginning the week of May 24, registered COVID-19 providers can directly request COVID-19 vaccines in the Minnesota Immunization Information Connection (MIIC)! A user guide on how to request special event vaccine in MIIC is available at MIIC User Guidance and Training Resources under "Vaccine Ordering and Management." Learn more about requesting COVID-19 vaccine in MIIC below.

Actions your site can take to prepare

  • Determine who within your organization will order COVID-19 vaccine in MIIC. This may involve a conversation with your organization’s leadership.
  • Check with your vaccine ordering staff to see if they have a MIIC user role with ordering privileges. Login to MIIC and view your user role at the top of the home page. If your role ends with the words “with ordering” then you will have access to place COVID-19 vaccine orders in MIIC.
MIIC screen showing typical user with ordering
  • If you do not have a user role “with ordering,” consult with your MIIC administrator to update your role. Typically, there is a MIIC user at each site who is designated as a MIIC administrator. This person oversees the MIIC accounts for the staff at their site. If you have an administrator role, you can create user roles for your staff. Refer to the Managing Users (PDF) user guide.
  • If you do not have staff with that role, contact for assistance.

Determining your COVID-19 vaccine order

  • Order what your site will need for the week ahead. Include the total number of doses needed (first and second doses). MDH will no longer automatically ship second doses to sites.
  • COVID-19 vaccine requests need to be made in specific multiples of shipment packaging sizes:
    • Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 multi-dose vials of 5 doses: requests must be made in 100 dose increments. We cannot ship less than 100 doses.
    • Moderna COVID-19 multi-dose vials of 10 doses: requests must be made in 100 dose increments. We cannot ship less than 100 doses.
    • Moderna COVID-19 multi-dose vials of 14 doses: requests must be made in 140 dose increments. We cannot ship less than 140 doses.
    • Pfizer COVID-19 195 multi-dose vials of 6 doses: requests must be made in 1,170 dose increments. We cannot ship less than 1,170 doses.
    • Pfizer COVID-19 75 multi-dose vials of 6 doses: requests must be made in 450 dose increment. We cannot ship less than 450 doses. (There will be a limited supply of these orders.)

Training on COVID-19 vaccine direct requests

MDH is hosting a training on how to request COVID-19 vaccine doses directly in MIIC on Monday, May 24 from 10 to 10:30 a.m. Click here to join the meeting. Join on your computer or mobile app. This training will be recorded.

Registered COVID-19 providers that plan to request COVID-19 vaccine doses directly to their site should attend this training. Sites that receive doses via redistribution do not need to attend.

Vaccinating adolescents and ensuring equity

Please visit our new page, Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccination, to review Pfizer trainings, tips on vaccinating adolescents, key messages, and strategies to reach disadvantaged youth. For more information on equity metrics and strategies in Minnesota, visit COVID-19 Vaccine Equity in Minnesota.

Report cases of myocarditis after vaccination to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)

In recent weeks, there have been reports of myocarditis occurring after COVID-19 vaccination. CDC is aware of these reports, which are rare given the number of vaccine doses administered. To date, there has not been a safety signal identified in either VAERS or Vaccine Safety Datalink (VSD).

Myocarditis is the inflammation of the heart muscle and pericarditis is the inflammation of the lining outside the heart. In both cases, the body's immune system is causing inflammation in response to an infection or some other trigger. While myocarditis can be serious, it is frequently mild and self-limited. Symptoms can include abnormal heart rhythms, shortness of breath, or chest pain. 

CDC will continue to evaluate reports of myocarditis/pericarditis occurring after COVID-19 vaccination and will share more information as it becomes available. Health care providers should consider myocarditis in an evaluation of chest pain after vaccination and report all cases to VAERS. To submit an event, go to VAERS: Report an Adverse Event. There is a checklist on this page to help gather information needed when submitting a report (VAERS 2.0_Checklist (PDF)).

COVID-19 vaccine provider material updates

COVID-19 provider guide and appendices

Appendices A and B have been updated at COVID-19 Vaccine Providers:

  • Appendix A: Pfizer: Updated how long undiluted vaccine can be stored in the refrigerator (up to one month instead of five days).
  • Appendix B: Moderna: Corrected temperature range from “-40 degrees Celsius (-40 degrees Fahrenheit)” to “-50 degrees Celsius (-58 degrees Fahrenheit)” (page 2).

The Pfizer and Janssen training modules will be updated soon.

MDH screening and agreement template

The COVID-19 vaccine screening and agreement template has been updated at COVID-19 Vaccine Providers. Updated translations will be posted when they are available.

Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine updates

Pfizer EUA storage and handling change

On May 19, the FDA made a revision to the full emergency use authorization (EUA) prescribing information and the EUA fact sheet for health care providers to allow thawed vials to be stored in the refrigerator at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius (35 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit) for up to one month. Find more information at FDA: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine.

Pfizer 1,170 dose trays: Ancillary supply kits for adolescent vaccination 

The Pfizer vaccine kits contain approximately 82% 1-inch needles, which are the recommended needle size for vaccination of adolescents. The combinations of 1-inch and 1.5-inch needles in the Pfizer 1,170 ancillary kit should be sufficient to meet the current needs of adolescent vaccination programs, but an additional pediatric kit with only 1-inch needles will be available the week of June 1.  

Pfizer 450 dose trays: Coming soon 

A limited supply of smaller Pfizer 450 dose packs and ancillary kits will begin shipping the week of June 1. These packs contain three smaller trays with 25 vials in each tray. Additional information to come.   

COVID-19 vaccine thefts

We were recently made aware of an isolated event where someone attempted to steal COVID-19 vaccine. It is important to use strategies that might decrease the opportunity of this happening:

  • At the site where vaccinators sit with vaccine recipients (e.g., workstation or table), keep vaccine vials and syringes out of a person’s reach (as much as possible).
  • Maintain strong situational awareness of behaviors that may indicate something is not right (e.g., recording the visit encounter on a phone)
  • Report to a supervisor or lead if you see or hear something suspicious.

If a theft occurs:

  • Be safe! Do not put yourself in harm’s way.
  • Immediately call the police. If you have security staff, it is advised to call 911 first and then call security.
  • Notify MDH promptly of theft so that they can assess if any health risks exist or if information needs to be shared with other providers.

MIIC client follow-up training

The Minnesota Immunization Information Connection (MIIC) will be conducting a webinar on the client follow-up functionality for COVID-19 in MIIC. Organizations are invited to join staff from the Minnesota Department of Health’s MIIC unit to review the process of pulling data from MIIC on clients who are overdue and/or recommended for various vaccines, including COVID-19. Organizations will have the opportunity to ask questions and see real-time navigation through the MIIC system.

The webinar will be held on the Microsoft Teams Live platform on Wednesday, May 26 from noon - 1 p.m. Click here to join the Microsoft Teams Live Event.

Don’t return wasted Pfizer vaccine with shipper

There has been an emerging trend in which providers are placing Pfizer COVID-19 vials and trays inside thermal shippers at room temperature and returning them to the manufacturer via UPS and FedEx. This is not an acceptable way to deal with an unwanted shipment of vaccine. These shippers are returned to Aerosafe in Rochester, NY or Softbox in Greenville, SC. These companies are not pharmaceutical companies and have no vaccine disposal capability.   

If you have expired vaccine, do not return vials with the shipper. Dispose of expired vials as described in the Interim COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Guide (PDF) under “Security and disposal of vaccine vials.”

Memorial Day holiday ordering

Due to the federal holiday, there will be no COVID-19 vaccine deliveries on Monday, May 31. Pfizer vaccine orders will be out for delivery Tuesday, June 2. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine orders will deliver Wednesday, June 3.

Best practices for storage and handling of Moderna vaccine

With slowing demand for vaccine, we encourage providers to be mindful of how they are storing their vaccine to prevent wastage. Moderna vaccine can only be stored in the refrigerator for up to 30 days prior to first use, but if stored in the freezer, it can be stored until its expiration date. To help prevent wastage, we recommend storing vaccine in the freezer as soon as it arrives and then thawing it just prior to use (refer to chart below).


Thaw in refrigerator

Thaw at room temperature

Maximum 11-dose vial (range: 10-11 doses)

Thaw in refrigerator conditions between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius for two and a half hours. Let each vial stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before administering.

Thaw at room temperature at between 15 and 25 degrees for one hour.

Maximum 15-dose vial (range: 13-15 doses)

Thaw in refrigerated conditions between 2 and 8 degrees Celsius for 3 hours. Let each vial stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before administering.

Thaw at room temperature between 15 and 25 degrees for one and half hours.

To determine your Moderna vial's expiration date, go to Moderna Vial Expiration Date Lookup.

Health care providers, your patients need to hear from you!

You are the most trusted resource for your patients in making health decisions. Your strong recommendation to get a COVID-19 vaccine is one of the most important factors in your patients’ decision to accept vaccination. 

Making a strong recommendation to get a COVID-19 vaccine

  • Patients consistently rank health care providers as their most trusted source of vaccine information. Your strong recommendation to get a COVID-19 vaccine is critical for vaccine acceptance.
  • Make it clear to your patients that you recommend COVID-19 vaccinationfor them.
  • Tell your patients how important COVID-19 vaccines are to protect their health, as well as the health of their family and friends.
  • COVID-19 vaccines are new, and it’s understandable that your patients may have questions. Take the time to listen with curiosity and empathy. Make it clear that you understand they may have questions, and you want to answer them, so they feel confident in choosing to get vaccinated.
  • Your answers can help them make an informed decision about getting vaccinated. Provide them with more information if they want it.

Refer to CDC: Vaccine Recipient Education for tips on talking to patients and answering their questions.

Take action

  • Proactive patient outreach: Send messages and reminders through your patient communication channels.
  • During the appointment: Strongly recommend a COVID-19 vaccine at every patient Take time to listen to patients’ questions.
  • If your facility does not offer COVID-19 vaccinations, share resources where patients can Find Vaccine Locations in your area.


MDH COVID-19 vaccine office hours are ending

Effective next week, we are canceling our weekly office hours. Thank you to everyone who showed up with great questions! This bulletin will continue to be a great source of COVID-19 vaccine information.

Find previous bulletins at COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Updates.