COVID-19 Vaccine Information For Healthcare Professionals
The following message was sent to Indiana healthcare professionals by Lindsay Weaver, MD, FACEP, Indiana Department of Health Chief Medical Officer, on Dec. 1, 2020.
Dear Healthcare Professional:
First of all, thank you for everything that you have done to care for Hoosiers during these unprecedented times. I’d like to update you on the latest information about COVID-19 vaccination.
Pfizer and Moderna have applied for an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA. If approved, we could have vaccine ready to administer in Indiana before the end of the year.
The Indiana Department of Health put together a group of internal and external stakeholders, experts in immunology, infectious disease, ethicists and others to develop an allocation prioritization list. The committee agreed with other national leaders, such as the National Institutes of Science, that healthcare personnel should be the first to receive the vaccine. The goal is to protect those with the most risk of exposure, prevent them from giving it to vulnerable populations, and to reinforce our healthcare workforce by preventing illness.
After EUA approval, Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations, and review by the Indiana-specific vaccine review committee, the Indiana Department of Health will begin a phased-in vaccination schedule. You will receive an email with a link to schedule your appointment when you are eligible to receive the vaccine. Vaccine will be distributed based on the quantity received.
Here are several important considerations to keep in mind:
- This first round of vaccine is allocated to healthcare personnel who in their line of work have the potential for exposure to COVID-19 patients or infectious material. We are anticipating that we will not initially have enough vaccine available to vaccinate everyone who meets the criteria. Therefore, the Indiana Vaccine Advisory Committee has further prioritized healthcare personnel based on individuals who provide direct care to the most vulnerable populations and in their line of work have a high likelihood of contact with COVID-positive patients and who are integral to healthcare structure and the response to the pandemic.
- You will be notified that vaccine is available and you have met criteria for prioritization when you receive a letter with a link to the registration and scheduling platform.
- This may be distributed from your employer, professional licensing agency, or an association.
- We anticipate moving through the prioritizations tiers quickly, but there may be a delay from when Indiana initially receives a vaccine to when you qualify.
- You will be asked to bring an ID or some form of verification that you work in health care.
- If you work at one of the 50 hospitals that will initially be administering the vaccine, you must choose that location to get vaccinated.
- If you do not work at one of the 50 hospitals, you will be assigned to one of the 50 hospital vaccine administration site(s) based on your county of residence. For some counties, there will only be one option. For others, there may be several options from which to choose.
- If you work in a setting that has healthcare personnel (including licensed, unlicensed, paid and unpaid) who meet the criteria and the personnel may not have received notification (office staff, environmental services, etc.), we ask that you forward the scheduling link to only those people when asked to do so. If any staff members do not have access to a smart phone or a computer, please help them register.
- There will be no charge to the person receiving vaccine. However, insurance information will be collected. Federal guidelines (https://www.cms.gov/files/document/covid-vax-ifc-4.pdf) ensure that no one is charged any out-of-pocket funds for the administration of the vaccine. There will be no co-pay and no charge to those who do not have insurance. The vaccine is free, but insurance may be charged for the $28 administration fee.
These vaccines require a second dose, in 21 (Pfizer) or 28 (Moderna) days. The second dose is imperative for the appropriate immune response. Be prepared to sign up for your second dose immediately following your initial vaccination.
Please visit coronavirus.in.gov/vaccine for updated information about the COVID-19 vaccine in Indiana. The state Department of Health will continue to provide updates on vaccine allocation as more information becomes available.
Yours in health,
Lindsay Weaver, MD, FACEP | Chief Medical Officer