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Author: Rishi Sharma

PCV15 and PCV20 Now Available Through VFAAR

PCV15 and PCV20 Now Available Through VFAAR

Vaxneuvance (15-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, PCV15) and Prevnar 20 (20-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, PCV20) are now available through the Vaccines for Adults at Risk (VFAAR) program in line with the updated ACIP recommendations.

Review our announcement and FAQ document to plan your site’s transition to the new vaccines.

VFAAR sites must decide whether they will order PCV20 or PCV15 and PPV23 going forward. Complete the below survey to notify our program of your site’s preference. We will review each site’s submission and reach out with next steps. 
We recommend that sites that are part of a system or are affiliated use the same vaccine presentations across sites to ensure continuity of care and help prevent administration errors.


Updated Pneumococcal Vaccine Recommendations  

Adults aged ≥ 65 years. Adults aged ≥65 years who have not previously received PCV or whose previous vaccination history is unknown should receive 1 dose of PCV (either PCV20 or PCV15). When PCV15 is used, it should be followed by a dose of Pnuemovax 23 (PPSV23) at least one year later. 
Adults aged 19–64 years with certain underlying medical conditions or other risk factors. Adults aged 19–64 years with certain underlying medical conditions or other risk factors who have not previously received PCV or whose previous vaccination history is unknown should receive 1 dose of PCV (either PCV20 or PCV15). When PCV15 is used, it should be followed by a dose of PPSV23 at least one year later. 

PCV13 is no longer recommended for adults under the new recommendations. Providers should no longer administer PCV13 to individuals 19 years of age and older. 

Additional Resources

Ask the Experts (March 2022)

Vaccine Information Statement (February 2022)

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (January 2022)   

Vaxneuvance package insert 

Prevnar 20 package insert

Thank you for keeping Philadelphia safe and healthy. If you have any questions, please email vaccines@phila.gov.

Contact the Immunization Program!

Contact the Immunization Program!

The Immunization Program manages several email accounts to support providers and the public with immunization-related queries. Use this guide to determine who to contact based on the nature of your request:

PhilaVax@phila.gov: PhilaVax account support and technical issues (patient update requests, vaccine reporting questions, etc.)

Vaccines@phila.gov: General inquiries.

DPHProviderHelp@phila.gov: Medical provider assistance (Clinic Tools and inventory support, vaccine ordering and returns, reconciliation, staff changes, etc.)

TempCheck@phila.gov: Vaccine storage and handling inquiries (temperature logs, storage units, DDL technical problems, etc.)

Vaxevent@phila.gov: COVID-19 clinic matchmaking (organizations seeking to be matched with providers for COVID-19 vaccine events).

VaxontheGo@phila.gov: Vaccine orders and logistical inquiries (COVID-19 vaccine order status, vaccine transportation, transfer logs, etc.)

Covidproviders@phila.gov: COVID-19 provider enrollment, quality assurance, and vaccine expiration questions.

Prefer calling?

The following telephone and fax numbers are available for providers as well:

Storage and Handling
p
215.685.6777
f 215.238.6948

VFC & VFAAR
p
215.685.6728 / 215.685.6667
f 215.238.6948

Thank you for keeping Philadelphia safe and healthy!

HRSA Has Stopped Accepting COVID-19 Uninsured Claims

HRSA Has Stopped Accepting COVID-19 Uninsured Claims

CDC strongly encourages providers to continue administering vaccines.

Due to the lack of supplemental funding from Congress, HRSA has stopped accepting claims for reimbursement of costs associated with administering COVID-19 vaccines to uninsured and underinsured individuals as of 11:59 PM ET on April 5, 2022.  

CDC encourages providers to stay in the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program and continue administering these lifesaving vaccines at no cost to patients. CDC remains committed to ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. 

As a reminder, COVID-19 Vaccination Program providers cannot:

  • Administer COVID-19 vaccine at any out-of-pocket cost to the recipient
  • Deny anyone vaccination, or differentially reducing appointment access, based on the vaccine recipient’s coverage status or network status
  • Charge an office visit or other fee if COVID-19 vaccination is the sole medical service provided
  • Require additional medical services to receive COVID-19 vaccination
  • Seek any reimbursement, including through balance billing, from the vaccine recipient

Where CDC becomes aware of a provider engaging in any of the following, CDC will consider taking any and all appropriate measures, including the possibility of rescinding the CDC provider agreement.

For further information, please see the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Requirements and Support webpage

Thank you for keeping Philadelphia safe and healthy. If you have any questions, please email vaccines@phila.gov.

Janssen (J&J) Shelf-Life Extension

Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Shelf-Life Extension


The Food & Drug Administration has approved a shelf-life extension for the Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for an additional three months. The shelf-life of this vaccine has been updated from 6 months to 9 months. 

This decision is based on data from ongoing stability assessment studies, which have demonstrated that the vaccine is stable at 9 months when refrigerated at temperatures of 36° – 46° Fahrenheit (2° – 8° Celsius).

This shelf-life extension applies to all inventory dated to expire on March 7, 2022 or later. Vaccine dated prior to March 7, 2022 should be disposed of according to state and local regulation and reported as waste according to your COVID-19 provider agreement. 

Please refer to the current EUA fact sheet by clicking on the button below.


Vaccine providers should visit the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Expiry Checker webpage to confirm expiration dates. This shelf-life extension applies to refrigerated vials of J&J/Janssen COVID-19 vaccine that have been held in accordance with the manufacturer’s storage conditions.

Thank you for keeping Philadelphia safe and healthy. If you have any questions, please email vaccines@phila.gov.

Recommend HPV Vaccine at Every Visit!

Recommend HPV Vaccine at Every Visit!

During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a decrease in HPV doses administered in the United States.

Here in Philadelphia, there was a 29% decrease in the total number of HPV doses administered in 2020 compared to 2019. This decrease affected every eligible age group:

  • 9-13 year olds: HPV doses administered decreased by 17.5% from 2019 to 2020.
  • 13-17 year olds: HPV doses administered decreased by 41.7% from 2019 to 2020.
  • 18-26 year olds: HPV doses administered decreased by 53.7% from 2019 to 2020.

March 4 is International HPV Awareness Day!

To help bring HPV vaccination rates back to pre-pandemic levels, recommend HPV vaccine at every visit for 9-26 year olds who have not begun or completed their series. 

Register for this CME webinar on March 2 from 1-2pm EST! Dr. Danielle Casher (Attending Physician, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia) will join cancer survivor Megan Lesar to discuss improving HPV vaccine rates in Pennsylvania.

On March 4, watch and share this video from the Association of Immunization Managers (AIM) to promote timely, complete HPV vaccination.

Steps to Recommend HPV Vaccine to Hesitant Parents

Announce

  • Your child is __ years old.
  • Today, they are eligible to receive Tdap, HPV, and MCV vaccine.
  • We will make sure they get all these shots to keep them safe and healthy.

If parent hesitates:

Connect and Counsel:

  • What’s your main concern?
  • Counsel using a research-tested method (ex.”Over 30,000 Americans get cancer from HPV every year. Most could be prevented with the HPV vaccine.”)

If parent declines:

Try Again

  • Almost 70% of parents who initially declined later agree to HPV vaccine or plan to vaccinate soon.

Resources

Print:

Online:

Have questions? Reach out to our team at vaccines@phila.gov. Thank you for all that you do to keep Philadelphia safe and healthy!

Reminder: Update Patient Contact Information

Help Us Improve the Patient Portal

Dear Providers, 

This is a reminder that the Immunization Program will soon be launching a patient portal where residents can easily access their immunization record, including their COVID-19 immunization record. This record can be used for entry into restaurants, theaters, schools, planes, and more. In order to offer this resource, PhilaVax records need to be up-to-date with each patient’s phone number and email address. Please ensure that the patient information in your electronic health record (EHR), including phone number and email address, is up-to-date when patients seek care at your facility. This information feeds directly into PhilaVax records and will be used by residents to access the patient portal. Without up-to-date information, patients will be unable to access the PhilaVax patient portal.

Thank you for keeping Philadelphia safe and healthy. If you have any questions, please email vaccines@phila.gov.

Action Required: User Re-Enrollment

Action Required: User Re-Enrollment

Dear PhilaVax Users,

PDPH is currently undergoing annual user re-enrollment.

All users must complete the confidentiality agreement for the 2022 calendar year for continued access to PhilaVax. 
All agreements must be completed by February 7, 2022. User accounts without an updated agreement by this date will be rendered inactive until the agreement is completed.

You can find the form at the button below. 

COVID-19 Booster Recommendations

COVID-19 Booster Recommendations

COVID-19 boosters help protect our communities against the virus. The CDC recently announced its recommendation that everyone ages 16 and older should get a booster when possible.

Read below for a reminder of booster recommendations for your patients.

Those who received Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna should:
Get a booster at least 6 months after completing the primary COVID-19 vaccination series. 16 and 17-year-olds are only approved for Pfizer boosters. For everyone 18+, a “mix and match” approach to booster shots has been approved, so either Pfizer or Moderna boosters are recommended.

Those who received Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen should:
Get a booster at least 2 months after completing your primary COVID-19 vaccination. Pfizer or Moderna boosters are recommended.

For those who received a COVID-19 vaccine outside the United States:
• People who were vaccinated outside the United States with a single dose or 2-dose primary series of a currently FDA-approved or FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccine are considered fully vaccinated and should receive a booster.
• People who are moderately or severely immunocompromised and were vaccinated with a 2-dose mRNA COVID-19 vaccine primary series should receive an additional primary dose before receiving a booster.
• If they received the first dose of a 2-dose mRNA COVID-19 vaccine series, they do not need to restart the vaccine series in the United States. They should receive the second dose as close to the recommended time as possible and are considered fully vaccinated upon completion of the 2-dose primary series.
• If they received a COVID-19 vaccine not approved or authorized by the FDA, they should be offered primary vaccination with an FDA-approved or authorized vaccine before receiving a booster.

View more information about COVID vaccinations outside the country.

If you have any additional questions, view the full CDC booster guidelines or email vaccines@phila.gov.

Pfizer “Tris Product” Shelf-Life Extension

Pfizer “Tris Product” Shelf-Life Extension

FDA has approved a shelf-life extension for the Pfizer Pediatric vaccine (orange cap, 5-11 years old, diluent required) and the soon-to-be available Adol/Adult Tris (gray cap, age 12+, no diluent). The expiration date for Pfizer orange and gray cap vaccine has now been extended to 9 months (while held at ULT, or ultra-low temperatures). This approval takes effect immediately. This extension applies to frozen, ultra-low temperature (ULT) inventories only.

Details about this extension may be found in the updated facts sheets, accessible here: Healthcare Providers for 5-11 years of age, orange cap (must dilute); Healthcare Providers for 12 years of age and older, gray cap (no dilution). The Fact Sheets for both orange and gray cap vials provided by the FDA now reads, “regardless of storage conditions, vaccines should not be used after 9 months from the date of manufacture printed on the vial and cartons.”

As you are aware, the date printed on the Pfizer Pediatric (orange cap) and Adult/Adolescent (gray cap, 12+, no diluent) vaccine vials indicate the manufacture date and NOT the expiration date. The updated expiry dates for both the orange and gray cap vials based on 9 months from the date of manufacture are provided below.

The QR code provided on the Pfizer Pediatric Vaccine carton provides a link to the EUA but does not provide information on expiration dates.

Please follow EUA recommendations for storage:

Pfizer Pediatric vaccine (orange cap, 5-11 years old, diluent required):
• If not previously thawed at 2ºC to 8ºC (35ºF to 46ºF), allow vials to thaw at room temperature [up to 25ºC (77ºF)] for 30 minutes.
• Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine multiple dose vials with orange caps and labels with orange borders may be stored at room temperature [8°C to 25°C (46°F to 77°F)] for a total of 12 hours prior to dilution.
• After dilution, the vial should be held between 2ºC to 25°C (35°F to 77°F). Vials should be discarded 12 hours after dilution.

Adol/Adult Tris (gray cap, age 12+, no diluent) formulation:
• Frozen vials may be stored in an ultra-low temperature freezer at -90ºC to -60ºC (-130ºF to -76ºF). Do not store vials at -25°C to -15°C (-13°F to 5°F). Once vials are thawed, they should not be refrozen.
• Vials may be transferred to the refrigerator [2ºC to 8ºC (35ºF to 46ºF)], thawed and stored for up to 10 weeks. The 10-week refrigerated expiry date should be recorded on the carton at the time of transfer. A carton of 10 vials may take up to 6 hours to thaw at this temperature.

Regardless of storage condition, vaccines should not be used after 9 months from the date of manufacture printed on the vial and cartons.

All Pfizer updated Fact Sheets may be found using the following links:

Pfizer-BioNTech Fact Sheets (English) and FAQs

Provider Fact Sheet: 5-11 years of age, orange cap (must dilute)

Provider Fact Sheet: 12 years of age and older, gray cap (no dilution)

Notice: Upcoming User Re-Enrollment

Notice: Upcoming User Re-Enrollment

Dear PhilaVax Users,

PDPH is currently preparing for annual user re-enrollment. In preparation for this enrollment, no new user accounts will be issued until January 3, 2022.

Users must complete the confidentiality agreement for the 2022 calendar year.

You can find the form at the button below when re-enrollment begins on January 3.