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3/10/2021: Health Advisory – COVID-19 Updates for Providers

By March 10, 2021March 18th, 2021No Comments

Requested actions

  • Be aware the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) approved emergency use authorization (EUA) for single-dose Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine on Feb. 27.
  • Be aware Washington State Department of Health (DOH) added preK-12 educators, school staff and childcare workers to vaccine eligibility Phase 1B Tier 1 and released an expected timeline for moving into future phases.
  • Encourage people eligible in Phase 1A or Phase 1B Tier 1 to get vaccinated. Direct them to the list of Whatcom County COVID-19 vaccine providers and events on our COVID-19 vaccine page.
  • Be aware the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) updated its Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine storage guidelines to include standard frozen temperatures.

Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine

On Feb. 27, 2021, the FDA issued EAU for Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccine for people 18 years and older.  The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is administered as a single dose. View the fact sheets and other information.

Vaccine eligibility

In response to President Biden’s and Governor Inslee’s recent statements, DOH added preK-12 educators, school staff and childcare workers to vaccine eligibility Phase 1B Tier 1. DOH also released an expected timeline for moving into future phases.

Help patients use Phase Finder to learn if they are eligible to get vaccine. Encourage all patients eligible in Phase 1A or Phase 1B Tier 1 to get vaccinated. Direct patients to the Whatcom County COVID-19 vaccine providers and events listed on our COVID-19 vaccine page.

Currently eligible to get COVID-19 vaccine:

  • Phase 1A:
    • People who work in healthcare settings.
    • Medical first responders.
    • People who live or work in long-term care facilities.
    • Community health worker, caregiver or home care aide.
  • Phase 1B Tier 1:
    • People 65 years or older.
    • People 50 years or older who live in multigenerational homes (e.g., a grandparent living with a grandchild).
    • PreK-12 educators, school staff and childcare workers.

The Federal Retail Pharmacy Program will primarily coordinate and supply vaccine for preK-12 educators, school staff and childcare workers. However, if these workers show up at your clinic, go ahead and vaccinate them.

Pfizer vaccine storage updates

The FDA updated its Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine storage guidelines. The vaccine may be kept at standard frozen temperatures, including:

  • Storing undiluted Pfizer vaccine vials at -25°C to -15°C for up to 2 weeks.
  • Transport undiluted Pfizer vaccine vials at -25°C to -15°C.
  • Continue to thaw and store Pfizer vaccine in the refrigerator (2°C to 8°C) for up to 5 days.

View the updated fact sheet.

Additional resources

COVID-19 test processing

Labs report varying amounts of time to process COVID-19 tests. To support faster turnaround, we encourage providers to use in-state labs. The table below shows COVID-19 test processing times for in-state private labs.

LAB TIME TO PROCESS TESTS PROCESSED DAILY
FidaLab 24-48 hours 1,500
Kaiser 24 hours 1,000
LabCorp 2 days Unknown
Northwest Pathology 24-48 hours Unknown
Quest 24-48 hours 900
UW Virology 24-72 hours 10,000
Atlas Genomic Under 15 hours 1,200

 

Patient education

Share the following materials with patients.

Additional resources