DOH Vaccination Program Guidance

DOH released new Vaccination Program Guidance last night for week 20, beginning April 26th. The updates are summarized below.

All individuals 16 years of age and older that reside, study, or work in New York are eligible to be vaccinated. However, minors ages 16 and 17 are NOT authorized to receive the Janssen or Moderna vaccines. Children under 16 years of age are not yet eligible to receive ANY COVID-19 vaccine.

Minors must present identification to verify that they are at least 16 years of age or have a parent present to attest on their behalf. Minors need parental or guardian consent to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, except where the minor is part of a group to whom the law gives the right to consent to their own care (e.g., married minors, minors who are parents or pregnant, and minors in the military). Verbal consent is allowed. If a minor is unaccompanied, the provider should attempt to contact the parent or guardian to provide consent by phone. Providers may elect whether to accept written consent from the parent or guardian if they are not available by phone.

The guidance removes other references to eligibility and prioritization including prioritization of staff administering the vaccine. Pharmacies may now vaccinate any eligible individual.

References to the “Use it or Lose it” policy are removed pursuant to Executive Order 202.102 eliminating the enhanced civil penalty for failure to administer allocated doses within seven days. The guidance adds that “performance, throughput, effort, and effective administration of vaccines by providers will continue to be key factors in making future vaccine allocation decisions, along with equity, access, and regional positivity rates.”

The guidance adds that vaccine availability can also be located using the CDC Vaccine Finder Tool, but that individuals should not be tasked with locating second dose appointments as this is an obligation of the provider who administered the first dose.

A section relating to special considerations for individuals receiving their first dose outside of New York State is added.

The guidance clarifies that “Stand by” lists must include individuals eligible for first and second doses, and that providers should contact their regional hub hospital to help facilitate the use of extra doses at the end of the clinic day. References to doses administered to non-eligible individuals and the associated reporting and tracking requirements are removed.

Mask Use and Other Recommendations for Those Fully Vaccinated

CDC updated its Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People. Governor Cuomo announced that NYS will will adopt the CDC recommendations. Changes include:

• Fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask outdoors, except in certain crowded settings and venues;
• Clarification that fully vaccinated workers no longer need to be restricted from work following an exposure as long as they are asymptomatic;
• Fully vaccinated residents of non-healthcare congregate settings no longer need to quarantine following a known exposure;
• Fully vaccinated asymptomatic people without an exposure may be exempted from routine screening testing, if feasible.

CDC Infection Prevention Updates

CDC also updated its Healthcare Infection Prevention and Control Recommendations in response to COVID-19 vaccination today. Changes include:

• Updated SARS-CoV-2 testing recommendations;
• Updated visitation guidance to include recommendations for acute care facilities and to describe circumstances when source control and physical distancing are not required during visitation;
• Added guidance for communal activities and dining in healthcare settings.

IHA will discuss with DOH how state guidance may be revised to reflect these changes.

For more information, please contact Andrew Jewett, Director, Hospital Preparedness Program at