Notes on OMH/OASAS Vaccine Implementation

December 17, 2020

Below please find notes from this morning’s meeting between advocates and OMH and OASAS leads re:  the vaccination implementation:

  • OASAS and OMH have been advocating for staff and residents of certified programs to be in the highest priority groups.
  • Planning and designation of groups is still underway in the Governor’s office, DOH, and DOHMH.
  • NY is following CDC guidelines, and the lead of the Governor’s office, DOH and OMH in determining priority groups.
  • Advocacy to the Feds to have congregate care settings be seen as the highest priority, along with Nursing Homes (SNF), was not successful.
  • Right now, the Pfizer vaccine is reserved for hospital workers in contact with Covid patients and nursing facilities.
  • Planning for Phase 2 priorities is still underway.
  • It is expected that the Moderna vaccine will be the likely vaccine that becomes available to the majority of the clients and staff in our system of care.
  • In addition to hospital vaccination sites, OASAS and OMH are working to set up vaccination centers at locations that can qualify to store the vaccine, although they do not expect that many Article 31 or Article 32-822 Clinics will meet the requirements for storage of the Pfizer vaccine.
  • One of the possibilities on the table is to try and pair up OMH and OASAS programs with a specific general hospital or FQHC in the local community, to receive vaccinations.  Still under consideration.
  • It is important that OASAS monthly service reports are up to date for accurate accounting of numbers of staff and service recipients, to ensure adequate amount of vaccine is allocated.
  • Staff and residents of group homes, scattered site, and the full range of housing in the community are expected to be considered in Phase 1, in the same category as “Congregate Care” with licensed residential being the highest priority within this grouping, and moving downward (in intensity of setting) to scatter site.
  • There are concerns that some staff may refuse to accept the vaccine. Bringing in community health workers for education was discussed, however this potentially puts the health worker at risk of Covid
  • In response to the question of how vaccine sites are ensuring adequate supplies for required second doses, the State said they are being advised to “be thoughtful” about not using up all the vaccine before more can be distributed, to ensure second doses are available and provided within the windows that have been established.
  • We have no reason to believe that the information we sent members over the weekend regarding high prioritization of bedded OMH staff and clients and OASAS staff has changed.

More as we know it.