Vaccine updates: Expanded eligibility in Ohio, resources for veterans and new CDC guidance

Vaccine updates: Expanded eligibility in Ohio, resources for veterans and new CDC guidance

There have been several recent developments about COVID-19 vaccines this week. Below are the latest details.

CDC guidelines after vaccination

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued its first guidance on public health recommendations for Americans fully vaccinated from COVID-19. The CDC considers a person to be fully vaccinated two weeks after they have received the second of the two-dose vaccines, Pfizer or Moderna, or two weeks after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

It’s important to note that these guidelines do not apply to healthcare settings. Our current masking policies remain in place.  Read more from the CDC on guidance for healthcare settings.

Fully vaccinated people should still watch out for symptoms of COVID, especially if they’ve been around someone who is sick. And those who develop symptoms should get tested and stay away from others.

Notifications of eligibility

Cleveland Clinic patients who have been seen in one of our facilities in the past three years and have an active MyChart account, will see an announcement on their MyChart homepage when the vaccine is available for them.

Ohio residents needing assistance with scheduling, who have not been seen at a Cleveland Clinic facility in the past three years, or those who are not a Cleveland Clinic patient, should call our vaccine hot line at 216.448.4117.  Schedulers are available to assist Tuesday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. ET.

COVID-19 vaccines for veterans through the VA

Effective March 9, Veteran Health Systems in Northeast Ohio, Las Vegas, Miami and West Palm Beach will be offering COVID-19 vaccinations to all veterans enrolled and using VA health care regardless of age or pre-existing conditions.

To take advantage of this opportunity, veterans must receive this vaccination through their local VA location and the process for scheduling appointments varies by location. Cleveland Clinic is not included in this program and continues to vaccinate patients following state guidelines. Any questions should be directed to your local VA Health System facility.

Expansion to Phase 1D and Phase 2B in Ohio

On March 11, vaccine eligibility will expand to additional Ohioans outlined by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). This includes those age 50 and older, as well as individuals who have additional medical conditions that may increase their risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 including people with type 2 diabetes and those with end-stage renal disease (also known as end-stage kidney disease) under the age of 50.

For detailed information on Ohio’s Phase 1D eligibility (expanded medical conditions) or Phase 2B (age), visit the ODH website.

Eligible caregivers and patients who meet age or medical condition requirements, who wish to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, can learn more on our website. Based on vaccine supply, eligible caregivers and patients will be notified through MyChart when there are vaccine slots available. Please ensure you have an active MyChart account so you are able to schedule a vaccine appointment.

Mass vaccination sites in Ohio

The State of Ohio is sponsoring 18 mass vaccination clinics to ensure all Ohioans have access to COVID-19 vaccine as it becomes more widely available.

The Wolstein Center at Cleveland State University opens March 17 and will operate seven days a week and run for eight weeks. Vaccine-eligible Ohioans can sign up at gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov (ensure you open using Chrome). Enter ZIP code 44115 in the search field.

Taking care of our community

On March 8, we opened a community-based vaccination clinic at the Langston Hughes Health and Education Center in Cleveland. Vaccinations will be available on Mondays at Langston Hughes, by appointment only. For more information about scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, visit our website.

The clinic offers vaccinations to all Ohio residents who meet the Ohio Department of Health criteria.

Three vaccine options

Due to the storage requirements and limited supply of vaccines, we will not be able to offer patients a choice of which vaccine they receive. All three vaccines have been authorized for emergency use by the FDA and have been determined to be safe and effective.

You can review the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna  and Johnson & Johnson fact sheets for additional information.

We are optimistic that as vaccine supply increases across the U.S. in the coming months, anyone who wishes to be vaccinated may soon be able to do so.

Important reminders

Due to the limited supply and overwhelming demand, this complex vaccination program will take several more months. We appreciate that many people are eager to receive the vaccine and ask for patience as we do not yet have the supply to meet this demand. Our vaccine allocation is determined by state and federal guidance. 

We want to make sure our community has every opportunity to receive the vaccine. Appointments may also be available at other hospitals, health departments and pharmacies. For more information, visit the Ohio Department of Health website at vaccine.coronavirus.ohio.gov

For the latest information on Cleveland Clinic vaccination appointments, visit: clevelandclinic.org/covidvaccine.

As a reminder, these are the COVID-19 symptoms. If you experience any of these, contact the COVID-19 hotline at 216.445.8246.

SelfCheck™ at-home COVID-19 swabbing kit available starting March 16 for select patients

SelfCheck™ at-home COVID-19 swabbing kit available starting March 16 for select patients

The SelfCheck™ COVID-19 Swabbing Kit, an at-home self-swabbing kit, is available starting March 16 for certain patients. SelfCheck allows patients in Northeast Ohio to independently collect a sample for COVID-19 testing using a nasal swab. Our organization developed SelfCheck and recently received Food and Drug Administration authorization for its use.*

SelfCheck can be ordered, at a provider’s discretion, for pre-surgical or pre-procedural Cleveland Clinic patients age 18 and older.

Benefits

SelfCheck offers increased flexibility for patients, who can collect a testing sample from their home (or outside the pharmacy in their cars if they choose), rather than visit a testing facility.

This limits their exposure to other patients while reducing the need for caregiver staffing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

How to order it

  1. To place an order for a pre-surgery/pre-procedure COVID-19 test for the patient, use the Ambulatory Pre-Procedure Testing Panel.
  2. After the provider places the order, the patient visits any Cleveland Clinic outpatient pharmacy location in Northeast Ohio to pick up the SelfCheck kit.
    • Only some pharmacies carrying Self-Check are open on the weekends. This must be considered for planning purposes and communicated to patients.
    • The order (HCCOVD) must be placed prior to the patient arriving to pick up the SelfCheck kit. The HCCOVD order cannot be scheduled by the patient in MyChart.
  3. The patient uses their kit. Patient records the time and date of collection on the test order.
  4. On the day the swab is collected, the patient returns the kit to either an Express Care Clinic or outpatient Cleveland Clinic pharmacy in Northeast Ohio.
    • Patients will drop off their kit into a designated sample collection drop-box.
    • Patients should refer to the SelfCheck website for locations and hours. They cannot mail in the kit.
  5. A laboratory courier collects and delivers the kits to the laboratory for testing.
  6. The patient and provider receive the test results in MyChart within 72 hours.

Note: Patients will continue to have the option of visiting a testing site if they are not eligible or choose not to use SelfCheck.

Thosenot eligibleinclude: pediatric patients (must be ≥ 18 years old), non-English speaking patients (instructions are only available in English) and patients traveling to Cleveland who are not arriving at least three days before their scheduled procedure.

Additional information

Questions? Contact Laboratory Client Services at 216.444.5755.


*FDA Statements of Authorization:

  • This product has not been FDA cleared or approved, but has been authorized for emergency use by FDA under an EUA for use by authorized laboratories.
  • This product has been authorized only for the detection of nucleic acid from SARS-CoV-2, not for any other viruses or pathogens.
  • The emergency use of this product is only authorized for the duration of the declaration that circumstances exist justifying the authorization of emergency use of in vitro diagnostics for detection and/or diagnosis of COVID-19 under Section 564(b)(1) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act, 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3(b)(1), unless the declaration is terminated or authorization is revoked sooner.
  • The FDA EUA does not specifically authorize the use of SelfCheck Kits for asymptomatic testing. Use for asymptomatic testing is off-label (outside the authorization) and subject to the discretion of an applicable healthcare provider ordering the test.