Physicians’ Offices Encouraged to Join Expanding COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Network

Last Updated: May 13, 2021

Denise-Johnson-MDBy Denise A. Johnson, MD, FACOG, FACHE
Pennsylvania Acting Physician General

Thank you Pennsylvania physicians for all of your ongoing dedicated work especially during this pandemic. You have all made adjustments to your practices and lives to continue to care for your patients. As we move into a focus on increasing vaccination in Pennsylvania we solicit your assistance. 

After a period of vaccine requests outpacing supply, we are now noting a “softening” of demand. Part of this is due to access, but there is also an element of hesitancy. We have heard from many sources, that individuals truly value the advice of their personal physicians. Knowing that most of you advocate for Covid-19 vaccination and have likely already been vaccinated, I ask you to encourage your patients to also receive their vaccinations. This week’s approval for the Pfizer vaccine to be used to vaccinate adolescents between 12 and 15 years old is another major step in the vaccination process and a major opportunity for physicians’ offices to get involved in the vaccination effort. 

In March, the Department of Health announced a shift to a focused network of 200-300 providers to help get residents vaccinated as quickly and efficiently as possible. That temporary focused network of providers was selected based on geographic reach; access for residents; equity across demographics; vaccine throughput; and estimated demand.

The plan had always been to expand the distribution of vaccine to more providers as the supply of vaccine caught up to demand. We are now keeping with that plan by expanding the network of providers and allocating vaccine to more providers, including physicians’ offices, each week. Pediatricians are especially important now.

If you are an enrolled provider and you can handle full trays of vaccine we will work to get you vaccine. The first step to getting vaccine is for all providers to request it by using the weekly request survey that opens on Saturdays at 8 a.m. and closes on Tuesday at 8 p.m. All providers who requested vaccine just last week should now be receiving deliveries. If you have questions about the enrollment process, reach out to the department at ra-dhcovidvax@pa.gov. We are also working on connecting with other providers so that smaller quantities can be delivered.

We want to thank all vaccine providers who are working hard to get vaccine to Pennsylvanians. With your help, we are getting closer to defeating this virus. 

3 comments

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  1. Missing user | May 17, 2021

    Dr. Paddock,

    It depends on the vaccine.  

    How many doses are in a full tray?

    Pfizer – 1,170
    Moderna – 100
    Johnson & Johnson – 100

    What are the storage requirements? Do I need a super-freezer, a regular freezer, a refrigerator, or what?  

    Pfizer

    There are four options for storing Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. It may be stored in:

    1.  Ultra-cold freezer between -80°C and -60°C (-112°F and -76°F) up to the expiration date. Keep vaccine vials upright and in their tray and protect from light.

    2.  Thermal shipping container using the Controlant temperature monitoring device (TMD). Maintain the appropriate temperature by adding dry ice to the shipping       container according to the manufacturer’s guidance. Keep vaccine vials upright and in their tray and protect from light.

    3. Freezer between -25°C and -15°C (-13°F and 5°F) for up to 2 weeks. Keep vaccine vials upright and in their tray and protect from light.

    4. Refrigerator between 2°C and 8°C (36°F and 46°F) for up to 5 days (120 hours).  

    Refer to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine product information (https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/info-by-product/pfizer/index.html) or Pfizer-  BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Storage and Handling Summary (https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/info-by-product/pfizer/downloads/storage-summary.pdf) for more detailed information on storage.  

    Moderna

    There are two options for storing Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine. It may be stored in:

    1. Freezer between -50°C and -15°C (-58°F and 5°F) up to the expiration or beyond-use date (BUD). Keep vaccine vials in their box, and place in the storage unit.

    2. Refrigerator between 2°C and 8°C (36°F and 46°F) for up to 30 days prior to its first use. Do not refreeze.

    Refer to the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine product information (https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/info-by-product/moderna/index.html) or Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Storage and Handling Summary (https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/info-by-product/moderna/downloads/storage-summary.pdf) for more detailed information on storage.  

    Johnson & Johnson

    Store Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine in the refrigerator between 2°C and 8°C (36°F and 46°F) until the expiration or beyond-use date (BUD). Do NOT store vaccine in the freezer.

    Refer to the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine product information (https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/info-by-product/janssen/index.html) or Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Storage and Handling Summary (https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/info-by-product/janssen/downloads/janssen-storage-handling-summary.pdf) for more information.  

    How long will the vaccine last in my office? Hours, days, weeks, or months?

    Pfizer

    After the vaccine has been stored at frozen temperatures for 2 weeks, you have two options:

    1. You may transfer vaccine to refrigerated storage between 2°C and 8°C (36°F and 46°F) for up to 120 hours (5 days). After 120 hours (5 days), contact the            manufacturer for guidance.

    2. You may return vaccine one time to ultra-cold temperature storage (-80ºC to -60ºC [-112ºF to -76ºF]).

    See Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Storage and Handling Summary (https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/info-by-product/pfizer/downloads/storage-summary.pdf) for more storage and handling information.  

    Moderna  

    Before puncturing the vial stopper, vaccine may be stored in the refrigerator between 2°C and 8°C (36°F and 46°F) for up to 30 days. After 30 days, contact the manufacturer for guidance before discarding any vials.  

    After the first dose has been withdrawn, the vial should be held between 2°C and 25°C (36°F and 77°F). Discard after 12 hours. Do not refreeze.  

    See Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine beyond-use date guidance and labels (https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/info-by-product/moderna/downloads/bud-tracking-labels.pdf). 

    Johnson & Johnson

    After first puncturing the vial, the vial should be held between 2°C and 8°C (36°F and 46°F) for up to 6 hours OR at room temperature (up to 25°C [77°F]) for up to 2 hours.

    See Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Storage and Handling Summary (https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/info-by-product/janssen/downloads/janssen-storage-handling-summary.pdf) for more storage and handling information.  

    The allowed storage time after first vial puncture or dose withdrawal is either a maximum of 6 hours refrigerated or 2 hours at room temperature. These maximum hold times and temperatures are not cumulative. You should discard the punctured vial once it exceeds either of these conditions, even if there are doses remaining. If stored in the refrigerator after the first puncture, the vaccine can be moved to room temperature for brief periods of time for administration. This does not affect the maximum 6-hour hold period for vaccine stored in the refrigerator.  

    See Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine Storage and Handling Summary (https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/info-by-product/janssen/downloads/janssen-storage-handling-summary.pdf) for more storage and handling information.

  2. Nader Rahmanian | May 14, 2021
    First the state ignores the private practices, sets criteria to be open to full community with numorous restrictions, acting as if physicians have never given a vaccine in their practice, and now they come with olive branch asking for help. I hope they reliaze how poorly designed and executed the vaccination program has been in PA. primary care practices are the back bone of healthcare and excluding or discouraging them in the first place by making the requirements so onorous was a huge mistake. The same way that seniors without access have had no way of registering for any vaccine sites. They need to do much better.
  3. Brad Paddock | May 13, 2021

    How many doses are in a full tray?

    What are the storage requirements?  Do I need a super-freezer, a regular freezer, a refrigerator, or what?

    How long will the vaccine last  in my office?  Hours, days, weeks, or months?

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