New Executive Order Aims to Address COVID-19 Vaccination Concerns

Last Updated: Feb 12, 2021

 PAMED Advocacy

Independent physicians, particularly primary care providers, have expressed concern that they feel they are being cut out of the state's vaccine distribution plan. On Feb. 17, 2021, PAMED sent a letter to Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam asking for clarification on behalf of our members.

Independent physicians, particularly primary care providers, have expressed concern that they feel they are being cut out of the state's vaccine distribution plan. On Feb. 17, 2021, PAMED sent a letter to Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam asking for clarification on behalf of our members. Read the letter to Secretary Beam here.

On March 1, 2021, PAMED received a response from Acting Secretary Beam, in which she offered the following clarifications/response:

  • The Pa. Department of Health (DOH) is extremely grateful to the health care providers who have enrolled as vaccine providers to date, including physician offices. Pennsylvania has more than 1,800 vaccine providers currently enrolled and DOH will not be removing them from the list of enrolled vaccine providers.

  • Due to the limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines, DOH is focusing on efficiency and concentration within the provider network at this time. As more vaccine becomes available, it will revisit its distribution plan and call upon more enrolled providers to deliver this life saving medicine to Pennsylvanians.

  • Patients should receive their second dose of vaccine where they received their first dose. The order dated February 12, 2021, was directive to first doses. Second doses are secure and providers who administered first doses should request second doses at the appropriate intervals.

You can read Secretary Beam's full response letter here.

PAMED will continue to collaborate with DOH throughout the pandemic. PAMED is currently working with DOH to schedule a webinar where the Secretary of Health will answer PAMED questions and address your continued concerns.


On Feb. 12, 2021, Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam issued a new Order to increase the administration of vaccine dosages received, ensure ease of scheduling appointments, reinforce specific reporting by vaccine providers, and ensure accountability in providers’ adherence to vaccine priorities. 

Note: The only exclusions to the Order are vaccine providers whose provider agreement is with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and facilities owned or operated by the federal government, including facilities operated by the federal Department of Veterans Affairs.

The updated requirements for vaccine providers under the Feb. 12 Order include:

  • At a minimum, vaccine providers must administer 80 percent of their first doses of vaccine received within seven days of receipt of those doses.   

  • Vaccine providers must follow all requirements and recommendations in the COVID-19 Interim Vaccination Plan.

  • Vaccine providers must adhere to the current phase of Pennsylvania’s vaccine rollout, as defined by the department

  • Vaccine providers giving a two-dose vaccine shall provide the COVID-19 vaccine reminder card with a date for a return appointment for the second dose of vaccine.  

  • Vaccine providers giving a two-dose vaccine must make every appropriate effort to ensure available appointments for second doses, including, but not limited to, designating appointment times for second doses or scheduling second doses at the time of first dose administration, or both. 

  • Vaccine providers must have both an online and a phone-based registration system for direct appointment scheduling. Information on these systems must be made available to the department so it can be posted online.

  • Vaccine providers must report the following:

    • Vaccinations and the information required by the Order Requiring Reporting of Data Related to Each Administration of an Immunization for COVID-19, dated Dec. 15, 2020, on each vaccine administered, including race and ethnicity of the recipient, whether or not the recipient is connected to the vaccine provider. 

    • Within 24 hours of receipt of inventory or administration of a vaccine, vaccine providers shall report:

      • Receipt of shipments of COVID-19 immunization inventory;
      • Reduction in inventory levels as vaccines are administered; and
      • Reconciliation of inventory levels.  

When does the Order take effect?

  • The online and phone-based registration system requirements (Section 3(A)(1) and (2) of the Order) is effective beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 19, 2021.

  • The allocation enforcement (Section 5 of the Order) is effective beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 22, 2021.

  • The remainder of this Order takes effect immediately.

The Pa. Department of Health (DOH) published FAQs on the Order. You can also read DOH’s press release on the Order here.

The Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) continues to advocate on behalf of health care providers and their patients during the pandemic. Access our COVID-19 Resource Center for more information at www.pamedsoc.org/coronavirus. Members can also sign up here for text/email alerts where there are COVID-19-related news or resources to share.

5 comments

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  1. Missing user | Mar 05, 2021

    Thank you for your comment, Dr. Laudadio.

    Just to clarify, retired physicians who meet requirements only need to complete the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) COVID-19 Vaccine Training Modules and be observed by a practicing health care professional who provides the necessary documentation in order to administer COVID-19 vaccinations.

    These requirements are as follows for physicians:

    who have held active licenses to prescribe, dispense or administer vaccines within the last five years, and

    whose licenses are currently inactive, expired or lapsed, and

    whose licenses, at the time of the lapse or expiration, were active in good standing, and not revoked, suspended, under investigation or on the List of Excluded Individuals/Entities

    Additionally, before administering COVID-19 vaccines, retired practitioners must also complete the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) COVID-19 Vaccine Training Modules and be observed by a practicing health care professional who documents that the retired licensee is experienced in vaccination and is competent in the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. CDC Training Modules can be accessed here: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/training.html.

    As it relates to the amount of vaccine that Philadelphia receives compared to surrounding counties, Philadelphia receives its vaccine directly from the federal government. Providers in the counties surrounding Philadelphia receive their vaccine from the Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH).  DOH is responsible for allocating the vaccine it receives from the federal government to providers in 66 counties of the state, while Philadelphia’s vaccine is only distributed to providers in Philadelphia.  

    Lastly, I’m not certain where the you obtained the data you shared, but the most recent data from DOH is in the chart below. You can find this data as well as the data from other counties at https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Vaccine/Pages/Vaccine.aspx.  

    COVID-19 VACCINE DOSES ADMINISTERED PER 100,000 RESIDENTS

    MONTGOMERY COUNTY

    Data Reported - 17,667 
    DOH Data - Partially Vaccinated (3/4/2021) - 10,852 
    DOH Data - Fully Vaccinated (3/4/2021) - 5,727

    CHESTER COUNTY

    Data Reported - 14,748
    DOH Data - Partially Vaccinated (3/4/2021) - 7,978

    DOH Data - Fully Vaccinated (3/4/2021) - 6,337

    BUCKS COUNTY

    Data Reported - 13,103
    DOH Data - Partially Vaccinated (3/4/2021) - 6,100

    DOH Data - Fully Vaccinated (3/4/2021) - 6,155

    DELAWARE COUNTY

    Data Reported - 9,113
    DOH Data - Partially Vaccinated (3/4/2021) - 7,149 

    DOH Data - Fully Vaccinated (3/4/2021) - 6,589

    TOP 4 COUNTIES

    MONTOUR COUNTY

    Data Reported - 164,153
    DOH Data - Partially Vaccinated (3/4/2021) - 12,501

    DOH Data - Fully Vaccinated (3/4/2021) - 10,881

    ELK COUNTY

    Data Reported - 45,721
    DOH Data - Partially Vaccinated (3/4/2021) - 13,249 

    DOH Data - Fully Vaccinated (3/4/2021) - 16,506

    MIFFLIN COUNTY

    Data Reported - 37,713 
    DOH Data - Partially Vaccinated (3/4/2021) - 8,379

    DOH Data - Fully Vaccinated (3/4/2021) - 8,186

    MERCER COUNTY

    Data Reported - 35,550
    DOH Data - Partially Vaccinated (3/4/2021) - 11,523

    DOH Data - Fully Vaccinated (3/4/2021) - 9,020

     

  2. Charles Laudadio | Mar 04, 2021

    I am happy to see the Department of Health for PA is stepping up. Retired physicians are not recognized as first responders and those that do, as stated most don't have vaccine to give to their patient. In addition retired physicians would have to go through a bundle of certifications to administer shots.

    Philadelphia has an unequal access to corvid vaccine (see below) while those of us in Delaware County can't get vaccine from any sources (e.g. pharmacies, etc.). We keep talking about inequities but I view what is happening is those of us in the suburbs are being ignored while Philly gets everything. See below to show the inequities. 

    ·       Montgomery County: 17,667 doses per 100,000 ·       Chester County: 14,748 doses per 100,000 ·       Bucks County: 13,103 doses per 100,000 ·       Delaware County: 9,113 doses per 100,000 To compare, here are those same rates in the top four counties in the state, based on doses per 100,000 ·       Montour County: 164,153 doses per 100,000 ·       Elk County: 45,721 doses per 100,000 ·       Mifflin County: 37,713 doses per 100,000 ·       Mercer County: 35,550 doses per 100,000

  3. Missing user | Feb 19, 2021
    Thank you for your comments. We understand the concern and frustration and are continuing to work with the Pa. Department of Health to make sure that our members, and the health care community at-large, will have the needed vaccine doses for individuals.
  4. Susen Rossino | Feb 18, 2021
    I see residents at four nursing homes and am the Medical Director at one of them.  From November through January, Covid 19 blazed through those facilities despite the heroic efforts of overworked staff members.  Many residents died and many others experienced symptoms of varying degrees and some still are suffering lasting effects.  Then, in late December, vaccines started to become available and nearly all residents and about half of staff members elected to receive the vaccines that were offered.  This should have been a monumental step toward preventing a resurgence of the virus in these facilities but now we are being told that these facilities do not currently have access to vaccine for NEW residents or new staff members, so the risk ramps up again. Some of the pharmacy companies that were contracted to vaccinate in the homes are now providing doses to community members in their retail stores but indicate that they have no plan, contract nor intention of returning to vaccinate new residents. I hope that the PA Medical Society will address this distressing lack of follow through before a new surge overwhelms our senior and vulnerable patients. Thank you.
  5. Paul Williams | Feb 18, 2021
    They have instituted daily provider webinars to review this -   its a start but still seem hellbent on letting the large health systems and large chain pharmacies (which probably have the ability to use the Pfizer vaccine - the current shortage/issue is with the Moderna vaccine) take the lead as "they can get more vaccines in arms faster"  -  did they ask the large health systems if they are ready??   Also   I'd like to know what phone system is capable of handling the call volumes without failing?   My regular patients can't call in to the office  due to the call volumes.   Another  issue  is they need to communicate the message to the public  - the public is in panic mode and getting mixed messages  isn't helping their confidence in a system that can't meet their needs.  

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