|SOUTH CAROLINA COVID-19 VACCINE PLAN UPDATES
The SCMA has been busy working with state officials and stakeholders to prepare for when a COIVD-19 vaccine is available. On behalf of the SCMA, several physicians have volunteered their time to attend meetings and review proposed materials as our state prepares for a potential vaccine release. The SCMA works hard to provide a seat at the table for physicians, and it want to acknowledge how grateful we are for the hard working physicians who donate their time to fill these seats and provide clinical knowledge. Below are several key items physicians should be aware of as this process moves forward.
First, on October 16, 2020, South Carolina submitted its COVID-19 Vaccination Plan to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Read the plan here. Frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19 vaccine and vaccinations can be found here.
Second, the federal Vaccines and Related Biological Product Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) is prepared to review potential vaccinations, and it is possible that a vaccine will be reviewed in early December. To prepare, Dr. Linda Bell, MD, State Epidemiologist, has gathered a South Carolina COVID Vaccine Advisory Committee that is working on plans to distribute any vaccines on behalf of South Carolina. The SCMA has a physician representative included. The Committee is working hard to ensure a fair, equitable and evidence-based approach is used. The SCMA will communicate information on vaccine prioritization before a vaccine is available.
Three, the SCMA, as part of the Clinical Leadership Council, has worked on guidance to help healthcare professionals determine how best to distribute the vaccine when it is ready. Click here to see vaccine guidance for healthcare professionals in South Carolina from the Clinical Leadership Council.
Fourth, in preparation for distribution, of the vaccine, physicians can enroll in the vaccine distribution program. Please see the important letter below from Linda Bell, MD, State Epidemiologist regarding the South Carolina COVID-19 Vaccination Program Enrollment and how to effectively enroll.
October 28, 2020
Dear valued partners and healthcare providers:
The success of our state’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign will depend on the collaboration of the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), our vaccine planning partners, health care systems and South Carolina health care providers to administer pandemic vaccines. Vaccination with a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine, in addition to other important disease mitigation and prevention efforts such as face masks, frequent handwashing, and physical distancing, can help bring this pandemic under control.
Program Provider Agreement
All health care providers and organizations interested in receiving and administering COVID-19 vaccines in South Carolina are required to complete the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement. The CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement (section A) requests basic information regarding the organization, requires the chief medical officer and chief executive or fiduciary officer signatures, and includes an overview of the requirements/conditions for enrolling as a vaccine provider. Section B of the agreement, the Provider Profile information, requests information about the location(s) to which vaccine will be shipped and administered, including clinic hours/days of operation, provider type and setting, patient populations served, and vaccine storage capacity. To review a copy of the CDC’s provider agreement in its entirety, click here. Please note DHEC will NOT accept faxed, emailed, or mailed copies of the COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Agreement. DHEC will utilize a Microsoft Forms survey to document provider acceptance of the terms of this agreement to serve as a COVID-19 vaccine provider. Interested providers should visit DHEC’s COVID-19 Vaccine Provider website to access the link to the enrollment form.
Vaccine Ordering, Distribution, and Documentation Reporting
DHEC will use its immunization information system (IIS) known as SIMON (Statewide Immunization Online Network) for vaccine ordering, distribution, and documentation of administered COVID-19 vaccines throughout the COVID-19 vaccination campaign. Currently, all immunizations administered in South Carolina by any immunization provider must be reported to SIMON under Regulation 61-120. Organizations must also be enrolled in SIMON to participate in the COVID-19 vaccination program. Organizations not currently enrolled in SIMON can click here to submit a SIMON onboarding request.
South Carolina is making every effort to enroll as many eligible providers as possible into the COVID-19 vaccination program to achieve high vaccine coverage in our population and protect as many as possible. Questions regarding the COVID-19 Vaccine Program Provider Agreement, COVID-19 vaccination program enrollment, or SIMON enrollment for COVID-19 vaccine program participation, can be directed to COVIDProviderEnrollment@dhec.sc.gov.
Thank you for your consideration to provide COVID-19 vaccines to South Carolinians. Together, we can improve health outcomes for all!
Linda J. Bell, MD
Director, Bureau of Communicable Disease and Prevention and Control Public Health
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control