Vaccine Information for Health Care Professionals

Vaccine Information for Health Care Professionals

The Health Department is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other partners to distribute vaccines as they become available. You can find the most current information and guidance on these pages.

covid-19 vaccine Program Update

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Vaccines are a critical tool to ending the COVID-19 pandemic. Tell Vermonters what getting your shot means to you and share your selfie using the hashtag #OurShotVT.

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Vaccine Distribution

Who is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine now?

  • People 40 years old and older
  • People 16 years old and older with certain high-risk conditions
  • Primary caregivers of children under 16 years old with high-risk conditions
  • People 16 years old and older and identify as Black, Indigenous or a person of color and the members of their household
  • People 16 years old and older and are English language learners or immigrant/refugee community members have access to community-specific clinics
  • Education, public safety and health care personnel
  • Residents of long-term care facilities 
  • People who are homebound

Get more details about who is eligible now

Find out who is eligible next with timelines here

Read the policy for Vaccination Allocation for Phase 1A

As each group becomes eligible, we will announce when those Vermonters can register for appointments. In addition to Health Department communications, we will work with partners such as health care practices, pharmacies, employers, and local news media to announce additional groups who become eligible for the vaccine.

How are these decisions made?

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine established a framework for equitable allocation of a COVID-19 vaccine. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) has considered this framework and made recommendations for who should receive the vaccine in which phases. The Health Department works with State leadership to make these difficult choices after considering recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, CDC, and Vermont’s Vaccine Implementation Advisory Committee. Based on our data, we know that focusing next on providing vaccine to people based on their age and whether they have certain high-risk health conditions will help us save lives.

Read about the ways we are working toward equity

Vaccines Available

Three COVID-19 vaccines have received Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

See a vaccine comparison chart with key details for each vaccine from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO)

About the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine

Doses to be Fully Vaccinated
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires 2 doses about 21 days apart. It takes 14 days after your second dose to be protected from COVID-19.

How It Works
mRNA vaccines are introduced into the body to tell the body to make a harmless piece of “spike protein.” Your immune system sees the spike protein doesn’t belong in your body and starts building an immune response. This means that the next time you come in contact with the virus that causes COVID-19, your body knows how to fight it off. Scientists have been researching this type of vaccine for decades.

For more information on the development and approval of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines visit the CDC Understanding and Explaining mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines.

How Well It Works
In clinical trials, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 95% effective at preventing COVID-19 after two doses. It was equally effective among people of different races, ethnicities, genders and health conditions. The level of protection against the current variants of the virus are being tested.

Side Effects
Some participants in clinical trials showed a strong immune response, which often leads lead to some side effects. The second dose may result in a stronger immune response than the first dose. Side effects are normal and show that your body is building immunity to COVID-19.

Common side effects reported by some trial participants were:

  • Pain at the injection site (84.1%)
  • Fatigue (62.9%)
  • Headache (55.1%)
  • Chills (31.9%)
  • Joint Pain (23.6%)
  • Fever (14.2%)

Recommended for:

  • People of all races, ethnicities, and ages, 16 and older, including older adults
  • People with medical conditions
  • People who are pregnant and breastfeeding
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • People who had COVID-19 infection and have recovered

Not recommended for:
Children 15 years and younger. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is currently running clinical trials with 12–15-year-olds.

Ingredients
Similar to other vaccine ingredients: mRNA protein, fats, salts, and sugars. It contains polyethylene glycol and polysorbate. The vaccine does not have any fetal tissue, animal products, eggs, gelatin, latex, microchips, or preservatives.

Resources

About the Moderna Vaccine

Doses to be Fully Vaccinated
The Moderna vaccine requires two doses about 28 days apart. It takes 14 days after your second dose to be protected from COVID-19.

How it Works
mRNA vaccines are introduced into the body to tell the body to make a harmless piece of “spike protein.” Your immune system sees the spike protein doesn’t belong in your body and starts building an immune response. This means that the next time you come in contact with the virus that causes COVID-19, your body knows how to fight it off. Scientists have been researching this type of vaccine for decades.

For more information on the development and approval of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines visit the CDC Understanding and Explaining mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines(link is external).

How Well It Works
In clinical trials, the Moderna vaccine was 94% effective at preventing COVID-19 after two doses. It was highly effective among people of different races, ethnicities, ages, genders and medical conditions. The level of protection against the current variants of the virus are being tested.

Side Effects
Some participants in clinical trials showed a strong immune response, which often leads lead to some side effects. The second dose may result in a stronger immune response than the first shot. Side effects are normal and show that your body is building immunity to COVID-19.

Common side effects reported by some trial participants were:

  • Pain at the injection site (92%)
  • Fatigue (70%)
  • Headache (64.7%)
  • Muscle pain (61.5%)
  • Joint pain (46.4%)
  • Chills (45.4%)
  • Nausea/Vomiting (23%)
  • Fever (15.5%)

Recommended for:

  • People of all races, ethnicities, and ages, 18 and older, including older adults
  • People with medical conditions
  • People who are pregnant and breastfeeding
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • People who had COVID-19 infection and have recovered

Not recommended for:
Children 17 years and younger. The Moderna vaccine is currently running clinical trials with 12–17-year-olds.

Ingredients
Similar to other vaccine ingredients: mRNA protein, fats, salts, and sugars. It contains polyethylene glycol and polysorbate. The vaccine does not have any fetal tissue, animal products, eggs, gelatin, latex, microchips, or preservatives.

Resources

About the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) Vaccine

Doses to be Fully Vaccinated
The Janssen vaccine requires one dose. It takes about 14 days after you get your vaccine to be protected.

How It Works
Vector vaccines use a modified virus like a cold virus that can’t make copies of itself or infect you. The vector virus tells your body to make harmless pieces of “spike proteins.” Your immune system sees the spike protein doesn’t belong in your body and starts building an immune response. This means that the next time you come in contact with the COVID-19 virus your body knows how to fight it off. Scientists have been researching this type of vaccine for decades. This type of vaccine was recently approved to prevent Ebola.

How Well It Works
In U.S. clinical trials, the Janssen vaccine was 72% effective against moderate illness, was 85% effective against severe COVID-19 and 100% effective against hospitalization and death. These tests were done while the variants were circulating, so these efficacy rates take variants into account.

Side Effects
The FDA reports milder side effects than those found in the two-dose mRNA vaccines. Common side effects reported in clinical trials were:

  • Pain at the injection site (48.6%)
  • Tiredness (38.2%
  • Headache (38.9)
  • Muscle pain (33.2%)
  • Nausea (14.2%)

Recommended for:

  • People of all races, ethnicities, and ages, 18 and older, including older adults.
  • People with medical conditions.
  • People who are pregnant and breastfeeding
  • People with weakened immune systems
  • People who had COVID-19 infection and have recovered

Not recommended for:
Children. Janssen plans to test the vaccine with children.

Ingredients
Similar to other vaccine ingredients: modified cold virus, proteins, fats, and salts. It contains polysorbate. The vaccine does not have any fetal tissue, pork products, eggs, gelatin, latex, microchips or preservatives.

Resources

Other Vaccines

The CDC has an up-to-date list of vaccine types, authorized vaccines and vaccines in phase 3 clinical trials on the Different COVID-19 Vaccines webpage.

As new COVID-19 vaccines are approved, the CDC compiles resources on the U.S. COVID-19 Vaccine Product Information page. 

    Enrolling in the Vaccine Program

    When enrollment is available for your facility, the Health Department Immunization Program will reach out to you. To receive and administer the COVID-19 vaccine and additional supplies, vaccination providers must enroll in CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program Enrollment in the program will occur in phases, based on vaccine availability and Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations.

    Vaccine allocated to Vermont is still limited, and enrollment in the program does not mean you will receive COVID-19 Vaccine. Once vaccine supply allows, you will be contacted by the Immunization Program

    Resources

    Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) Vaccine Program

    Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) and the CDC have launched a program that directly allocates a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine to select HRSA-funded health centers in Vermont. HRSA-funded health centers are community-based and patient-directed organizations that deliver affordable, accessible, quality, and cost-effective primary health care to medically underserved communities and disproportionately affected populations.

    Managing Your HRSA and State Supplied Vaccine: Handling two stocks of vaccine can be complicated. If you are one of the locations participating in this program, the Immunization Program created this 1-page reference document to assist in the process.

    See which health centers in Vermont are participating and learn more about the program:

    Tracking the Vaccine Inventory

    Once enrolled, you will receive information primarily by email. It will be sent to the vaccine coordinator and back-up for your facility, as listed on your COVID-19 Enrollment form. They will ensure staff are aware of which vaccine or vaccines you will receive, delivery timing, and number of vaccine doses you can expect. 

    Sign up for the Vaccine Inventory Management System (VIMS) if you are not already a user. A full reconciliation of inventory is required in Vaccine Inventory Management System (VIMS) after every clinic. Inventory adjustments for wastage or expiration should happen the day they occur.

    Vaccine Storage and Handling

    Part of making sure safe and effective vaccine is administered to patients is ensuring proper storage and handling of vaccines. The Health Department offers training guides, tools and resources to help.

    Vaccine Program Training Guide: All providers enrolled in the Vermont COVID-19 Vaccine Program need to read this guide before administering vaccine. In this guide you will find:

    • CDC training modules
    • Storage and Handling resources
    • Ordering and Inventory Management resources
    • Reporting requirements
    • Resources to help in training staff on proper vaccine administration.
    • CDC Toolkits on communication to patients about the COVID-19 vaccine
    • Vaccine specific resources

    Temperature Monitoring

    The Health Department provides enrolled locations with a temperature monitoring device compliant with CDC requirements. SensoScientific devices are cloud-based, and LogTag devices require a software download. Third Party temperature monitoring is permitted only if it complies with the CDC requirements.

    Please refer to the monitoring resources on the Health Department Immunization Vaccine Storage and Handling webpage.

    Temperature Excursions Protocol: Enrolled facilities must follow this protocol. This provides Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna storage parameters and gives steps to take whenever a vaccine has a period of being out-of-range. Never assume vaccine viability. Always contact the Immunization Program before taking any steps to change the vaccine temperature.

    Any questions about temperature monitoring or vaccine storage and handling please reach out to the Immunization Program at ahs.vdhimmunizationprogram@vermont.gov, 1-800-640-4374.

    Off-site Vaccine Clinics

    COVID-19 Vaccine Storage and Handling for Off-site Clinics: When administering COVID-19 vaccine away from a monitored storage unit, the vaccine is at greater risk of temperature fluctuations which puts the efficacy and safety at risk. Anyone participating in or planning an off-site COVID-19 clinic should review the guide for off-site clinics well in advance of the clinic date to ensure all preparations are made.

    Pre-Clinic Activities: This CDC page offers information on supplies, training, and clinic layout to prevent infections and more.

    Minimizing Waste Policy: This Department of Health policy will help sites minimize waste while ensuring equity and alignment with the State of Vermont's phased roll-out of vaccinations.

    Off-site Hourly Vaccine Temperature log: This form helps the facility to continuously monitor vaccine temperatures. Use this document to track the time the vaccine leaves and returns to monitored storage, and the hourly temperatures throughout the clinic as read on the provided LogTag device.

    If your clinic is using VAMS (Vaccine Administration Management System) please direct questions to ahs.vdhophpvams@vermont.gov, 1-802-863-7428 (8:00-4:30 M-F).

    Vaccine Resources

    Beyond Use Date (BUD) labels: These help with the complicated timing of COVID-19 vaccine administration.

    Storage and Handling Summary: includes details on vaccine storage and handling in a concise printable sheet.

    Administering the Vaccine

    As vaccines are approved, more information will be coming about administering specific vaccines, including storage, side effects patients might have and reporting adverse reactions.

    Authorized Age Groups

    Under the EUAs, the following age groups are authorized to receive vaccination:

    • Pfizer-BioNTech: ages ≥16 years
    • Moderna: ages ≥18 year
    • Jannsen: ages  ≥18 year

    Children and adolescents outside of these authorized age groups should not receive COVID-19 vaccination at this time.

    Administering COVID-19 Vaccines

    The mRNA COVID-19 vaccine series consist of two doses administered intramuscularly:

    • Pfizer-BioNTech (30 µg, 0.3 ml each): three weeks (21 days) apart
    • Moderna (100 µg, 0.5 ml): one month (28 days) apart

    Second doses administered within a grace period of ≤4 days from the recommended date for the second dose are considered valid. However, doses administered earlier do not need to be repeated. The second dose should be administered as close to the recommended interval as possible. However, there is no maximum interval between the first and second dose for either vaccine.

    Janssen is a single dose vaccine administered intramuscularly.

    • Janssen (500 µg, 0.5 ml): single dose

    Clinical Considerations

    Alwasy refer to CDC’s Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Authorized in the United States for information on:

    • Interchangeability of COVID-19 vaccines
    • Coadministration with other vaccines
    • Considerations for special populations
    • Past SARS-CoV-2 infection or exposure
    • Precautions or contraindications

    Anaphylaxis

    Anaphylaxis, an acute and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction, has been reported following COVID-19 vaccination.  Those administering COVID-19 vaccines should review the CDC’s Interim Considerations: Preparing for the Potential Management of Anaphylaxis After COVID-19 Vaccination.

    Resources

    General

    Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine

    Moderna Vaccine

    Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) Vaccine

    Side Effects and Adverse Reactions

    Side Effects

    Some participants in clinical trials for both leading vaccine candidates elicited a strong immune response leading to side effects. The second shot may result in a stronger immune response than the first shot. This is a normal way that your body builds immunity to COVID-19. Encourage enrollment in v-safe, and report any adverse events to VAERS. Find a list of side effects reported in clinical trials in Vaccines Available section above.  

    V-safe

    V-safe is a smartphone-based tool that uses text messaging and web surveys to provide personalized health check-ins after a patient receives a COVID-19 vaccination. Enrolling to receive electronic health check-ins is a manual process where a patient registers online through a website or QR code. More information on V-safe can be found on www.cdc.gov/vsafe. Available in English, Spanish, Simplified Chinese and Korean.

    Healthcare providers should give a one-page enrollment sheet to patients at the time of vaccination and counsel patients on the importance of enrolling in V-safe. Please contact the Immunization Program by calling 802-863-7240, if your vaccination clinics need V-safe information sheets or posters. Information sheets and posters are available in English, Vietnamese, Spanish, Simplified Chinese and Korean from the CDC. The information sheets are also translated into the following languages:
    Arabic | Burmese | French | Kirundi | Nepali | Somali | Spanish | Swahili | Vietnamese

    VAERS

    Health care providers are required by Vermont law to report any adverse events that happen after vaccination to VAERS. To report an adverse event, go to https://vaers.hhs.gov/ and fill out the VAERS online form or downloadable PDF.

    Anyone can make a VAERS report, including a patient or a guardian. All adverse events should be reported as soon as possible and duplicate reporting is allowed. Please submit to VAERS even if you are unsure if a report should be filed.

    VAERS is a passive system that accepts reports from everyone, and all ages, races, states/jurisdictions, and those with or without co-morbidities. VAERS accepts all reports of adverse events regardless of the plausibility of the vaccine causing the event or the clinical seriousness of the event.

    Patient Resources

    Talking with patients about the vaccine

    With such a new virus and vaccine, there are many things that are still unknown. Talking to your patients now can help them make an informed decision about being vaccinated. Here are some tools to help you prepare for these conversations. 

    Patient Resources & Handouts

    About Taking Prevention Steps After Vaccination

    Patients receiving the COVID-19 vaccine series should be advised to continue taking prevention steps. There is not enough information currently available to say if or when CDC will stop recommending that people wear masks and staying six feet apart to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide before making that decision. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision.

    Getting a Vaccine for Yourself

    Long-term care residents and staff are being offered vaccine at their facilities. Health care workers will be vaccinated at their community hospitals.

    Call the Health Department to be screened for eligibility and make an appointment. Call 855-722-7878.

    If you have received a passcode from your local hospital, you can use that to make an appointment online(link is external). Not all hospitals are distributing passcodes.

    No passcode is needed at Kinney DrugsCVS or Walgreens.

    Read Post Vaccine Considerations for Health Care Personnel (CDC)

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