The arrival of COVID-19 vaccines last week represents a light at the end of the tunnel to this enduring pandemic and we are eager to work with you to vaccinate the first phase (1a) as outlined by the Vermont Department of Health. The process is underway as we have begun to reach out to many of you as we move through the list provided by the state.
Naturally, there have been many questions about the vaccination process, and I would like to share with you what we know right now.
All prioritizations of community health care workers are being decided and developed by the State of Vermont. On December 8, the hospitals received the following allocation guidance from the Vermont Department of Health for the first three weeks:
- Week 1: 13% patient-facing hospital staff, 33% of EMS
- Week 2: 33% patient-facing hospital staff, 33% EMS, 3.5% Home Health
- Week 3: 24% patient-facing hospital staff, 33% EMS, 10% Home Health, 12% non-hospital health care workers
In weeks 3 and beyond, vaccinations will be allocated based on the categories listed in the Health Alert Network message (HAN) distributed by the Vermont Department of Health on December 18, 2020. The HAN includes the categories above and also includes the following:
- Health care workers and staff who are not employed at a hospital or long-term care facility but enter those facilities to see patients
- Health care workers and staff in primary care practices, including OB/GYNs
- Health care workers and staff at dentist offices
This is a rough prioritization and hospitals may need to shift appointments based on cancellations or other issues. As Northwestern Medical Center receives further guidance from the State, we will reach out to the employers of state-identified community health care workers or practices to schedule vaccinations in NMC’s Conference Center. Right now, there is no action you need to take to schedule yourself or your staff, if applicable.
In the meantime, what you can do is to begin prioritizing your own practice so that you are prepared when we do contact you. We will be looking for employee name (including middle name), date of birth, address, and phone number to begin scheduling vaccinations. Based on the information we have today, there will not be enough vaccine for every employee at every clinic or practice, so it is important to have your list of top priority staff ready when we reach out to schedule vaccination appointments.
Please Note: You will be contacted by the hospital closest to your practice’s geographic location, and your vaccination will be administered at that location. So, if you practice at NMC, but your office is based in Chittenden County, you will be contacted by UVMMC.
While there is not yet enough vaccine for every employee at every clinic or practice, everyone engaged in this effort is working as hard and as fast as they can to get those in the identified vaccine groups in the first three weeks vaccinated.
Information and guidance from the state and federal government is changing rapidly, so please be patient and understanding as we all work together through this complex process. For more information about NMC’s vaccination efforts, site stay tuned to our social media and our website. Visit https://www.northwesternmedicalcenter.org/category/news-updates/. For more information about the health department vaccine distribution plans visit https://www.healthvermont.gov/covid-19/vaccine/about-covid-19-vaccines-vermont.
Thank you for your continued partnership.
Dr. John Minadeo
Chief Medical and Quality Officer
Northwestern Medical Center