Many educators have posed questions and concerns to SAANYS regarding the vaccination process in NY for the education workforce. Many of you have had varying experiences/frustrations with the process this week. The following information is SAANYS’ understanding of the process based on communications directly with the NYSDOH, participating on the most recent webinar conducted by DOH last evening, and numerous resources provided to SAANYS by the DOH Education Constituents Team.
- Limited amounts of the approved vaccine are available at this time (300,000 per week).
- The amount received in NY is determined by the federal government.
- The distribution of the vaccine has been based upon CDC guidance and state priorities. The state’s highest priority has been to ensure that health care workers in hospitals receive the vaccine first so as to not overwhelm the hospitals. While hospitals remain at capacity levels due to COVID-19, their greatest challenge is staff shortages.
- Eligibility for receipt of the vaccine is distinguished by the use of categories.
- The first group to be vaccinated are persons in Group 1A, which includes health care workers in hospitals, private medical practices, public health clinics, medical practices of all types, dental practices, etc. For more information on others within this category see: Specificity on Group 1A. Persons in this group, who have not yet received a vaccination, remain the state’s highest priority.
- Group 1B (More About 1B) became eligible on January 11, 2021 to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. This group includes the “education workforce,” which is specified as:
- P-12 schools or school district faculty or staff (includes all teachers, substitute teachers, student teachers, school administrators, paraprofessional staff, and support staff, including bus drivers).
- Contractors working in a P-12 school or school district (including contracted bus drivers).
- Licensed, registered, approved, or legally exempt group childcare.
1C (New Group as of today) The CDC’s revised guidance now recommends that vaccinations be available for persons who are 65 or older. Additionally, persons who are immunocompromised are eligible to be vaccinated. The governor indicated at his press conference today that more information will be needed to clarify immunocompromised, but that NY will follow this new guidance.
- It is estimated that there are 2.1 million people in group 1A, 3.2 million in group 1B, and 1.8 million in the new group. The rate of acquiring the vaccines into NYS (300,000/wk) is not keeping pace with the number of persons eligible to receive vaccinations.
The Process for Getting a Vaccination as of 1/12/21
1.) Establish eligibility. Although educators have been identified as eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination as of yesterday, it is necessary to establish eligibility on the DOH website; Link for Establishing Eligibility “Am I Eligible.”
2.) After completing questions on this website, a list of approved sites for administering the vaccine will be provided. An appointment is made by each individual calling sites directly. Many persons are having difficulty reaching these numbers. At this point in time, when demand outpaces available supply, it is likely that aspects of this process may be highly variable and disjointed. A wide range of independent providers and systems have been called upon to execute the process. The intent of the NYSDOH is to ensure that there is a sufficient eligible pool of persons “teed up” with appointments, so that as more doses become available, they will be utilized quickly and to the maximum extent possible.
3.) Essential workers (inclusive of education workers) may also call the NYS Call Center at 1-833-697-4829 to obtain an appointment (or try to).
4.) A Vaccine Form (NY Vaccine Form) must be completed prior to obtaining a vaccination. Providers administering the vaccinations must confirm adherence to this requirement at the time of vaccination administration.
5.) Individuals being vaccinated must produce current proof of eligibility. Proof may include: an employee ID card, letter from an employer, pay stub, or proof of date of birth (if eligibility for a vaccine is age determined).
6.) Upon receiving a vaccination, the provider will issue a COVID-19 Vaccination Card that will provide the date of administration, the type of vaccine used, and the date for the 2nd dosage.
The development of the vaccine roll-out has certainly been a fluid situation and providing vaccines to educators is of the highest priority. SAANYS will continue to provide updated information as soon as it is available. Please do not hesitate to continue to contact us with questions or concerns.