How Will Healthcare Providers Track COVID-19 Vaccine Rates?

It’s hard to believe that it’s been nine months since the nation went into lockdown after the World Health Organization deemed the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. Drastic measures have been taken to combat the spread of COVID-19. Countries around the world, including the U.S., have still seen dramatic spikes in infection rates. 

However, this past November, Pfizer and Moderna offered a shining ray of hope when they announced their up-and-coming vaccines against the novel coronavirus. The U.S. and U.K. have already distributed Pfizer’s vaccine. Moderna’s may be following close behind. As countries roll out these vaccines, they will need to determine how healthcare providers will track these vaccinations. Healthcare interoperability will play a crucial role in successfully distributing and tracking vaccinations. Let’s take a look at what the following months may look like. 

What We Know About the Vaccines

Iron Bridge offers a quick overview of everything you need to know about the vaccine

woman holding coronavirus vaccine
AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Moderna all have promising vaccines for the novel coronavirus. In fact, over 10 billion doses have already been pre-ordered. 

Pfizer has already started to distribute its COVID-19 vaccine to thousands of frontline healthcare workers around the U.S. Its vaccine has a 95% effectiveness rate, while Moderna trails slightly behind at 94%. Biotech firms AstraZeneca and Novavax have also seen positive results from their vaccines. 

Fast Facts on Current COVID-19 Vaccines by the CDC

. Here’s what we know:

  • None of the COVID-19 vaccines in development in the U.S. use a live strain of the virus; therefore they will not give patients COVID-19
  • It can take several weeks for the body to build immunity to the virus after receiving the vaccine, so it is possible to contract the virus within this timeframe if patients are exposed to the virus
  • Vaccines that are in the clinical stages of their development will not cause people to test positive on viral tests; however, patients could affect antibody test results
  • An mRNA vaccine cannot modify DNA as it cannot enter the nucleus of a cell where the DNA is stored

How the U.S. Plans to Distribute the Vaccines

It will likely take months for the country to finish distributing the vaccine among candidates successfully

physician giving patient flu shot
Health care workers who face the highest risk of contracting COVID-19 and residents at long-term care facilities will be the first to receive vaccinations. 

A panel of independent experts tasked with advising the CDC on managing the pandemic recently decided who should receive the vaccine first. They recommended that healthcare workers at a high risk of contracting the virus and elderly residents in long-term care facilities should be among the first to receive vaccines. Since the FDA issued emergency-use authorization for Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, the company has started to distribute it among U.S. healthcare workers on the frontlines of the pandemic. 

After healthcare workers and elderly residents receive the vaccine, essential workers might be next. This includes 87 million employees across the transportation, education, hospitality, and manufacturing industries. People with medical conditions that put them at risk of a severe condition may also be up soon. As for healthy adults under 65, they will likely receive the vaccine by June. None of this is set in concrete, but the chances of distribution going according to this plan are high. 

Why Healthcare Interoperability Will Play a Crucial Role in the Process

Some of the best pharmaceutical companies in the world are on the verge of a successful vaccine — the next big step will be its distribution

Healthcare Colleagues Discussing Notes in Hospital Corridor
The race for a cure is coming to a close. But creating the vaccine is just part of the battle. The next challenge is distributing and tracking it to at least 75% of U.S. citizens. 

As the vaccine continues to be distributed among high-risk groups like frontline healthcare workers, providers must find a way to efficiently track these vaccinations. Most organizations already track vaccination rates for diseases like polio and influenza. The vaccine against COVID-19 may be added to this long list. 

According to Dr. Fauci, the U.S. may require several different vaccines in order to successfully bring an end to the pandemic. One vaccine might be distributed to the elderly, another could be designated for adults, and the third could be used for children. 

Keeping track of these different vaccines requires an organization to make the most out of their healthcare interoperability system. For instance, a physician may need to record vaccinations in EHRs and public health registries. However, not all EHRs or health registries are built the same. Healthcare organizations will need a reliable integration platform to seamlessly report and view pertinent vaccination data. 

Is your organization preparing for the upcoming coronavirus vaccine with healthcare integration? Do you have connections to state registries to report vaccine information? You will need a reliable solution for tracking vaccinations. Iron Bridge offers Pub Hub 2.0 solution which is connected to every state immunization and electronic lab result reporting registry in the country.  For the state immunization registries, we facilitate vaccine submission and query. For electronic lab result reporting, we can report on all reportable conditions and specifically COVID-19.  

With Pub Hub, our pharmacy partners can connect to us one way and have access to all of the registries. Our solution includes a commercialized pharmacy location enrollment process, portal, and modern API that makes connecting, submitting, and querying simple for thousands of pharmacies at scale. Contact the experts at Iron Bridge today to schedule a consultation!

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