Background

Good news, vaccines are here: Several COVID-19 vaccines have passed FDA approval, and the first batches of these vaccines are being distributed. These COVID vaccines were developed in record-time and at high efficacy.

Lots to do, with lots of uncertainty: Since this is the largest vaccination effort that the country has ever undertaken, we understand the urgency of administering vaccinations quickly to save lives and reopen the country. There is still a lot of uncertainty. For example,

  • Availability of supply: It is unknown when and how many doses will be available. In scenario planning, USDR partners are prioritizing different communities in a phased rollout plan under a range of assumptions.

  • Tech vendors: Vendors are also sprinting to create large-scale, reliable technology solutions that meet the needs across vaccination focus areas.

USDR's goal is to offer guidance to vaccine providers during this period of uncertainty. Our hope is that we can help vaccine providers plan for multiple scenarios in advance so that they are able to act quickly as new information comes in.

Phased approach: Due to limited initial supply of the COVID-19 vaccine, states are planning a phased approach to administering vaccinations. Each state is defining and prioritizing the different groups that qualify for the different phases and subphases. For example, a state may decide that Phase 1 is broken into two phases, where Phase 1a includes all front-line workers and elderly populations, and Phase 1b includes healthcare workers. Depending on the state, more granularity within the subphases may be necessary (e.g. ICU healthcare workers before everyone else). Many states are still refining their phase definitions.

Timing: The timeline and eligibility for the different phases will depend on the availability date and the quantity of vaccines provided by the suppliers. At this time, Phase 1a is expected to begin mid-to-late December. The early phases will mostly be closed POD (point of dispensing) operations. Open POD operations are expected to begin February - March.

Vaccine providers: Vaccine providers are responsible for administering the vaccines to the population. Major vaccine providers include the State/County/City government (the level of government and departments responsible vary by region), hospitals, CVS and Walgreens, and long-term care facilities (e.g., nursing homes). The main audience for this guide is the first group: government providers.