Vaccines for Children, Workforce Vaccination Deadline, and NM Masking and Daily Symptom Check Reminders
November 18, 2021 | 4 min. to read
Today’s issue features information about COVID-19 vaccination for children ages 5 to 11 across the health system. It also includes a recap of the federal mandate that requires all healthcare workers to receive their first vaccine dose by December 5, as well as reminders that masking and symptom attestation are still required at all NM facilities.
VACCINES FOR CHILDREN With the FDA providing Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in children ages 5 to 15 years old, as well as full approval for use in people ages 16 years and older, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends vaccination for children ages 5 to 11. While the vaccine contains the same mRNA, the dose is one-third of the adult dose. The other modification is that the pediatric vaccination is administered with a smaller needle. A second dose is required three weeks following the initial immunization.
Northwestern Medicine is offering the Pfizer vaccine for children at select Northwestern Medicine Pediatric and Family Medicine practices. Locations include:
Severe allergic reactions may occur following any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines, but this is rare.
Visit the CDC website for more information about the COVID-19 vaccine for children.
WORKFORCE VACCINATION FIRST DOSE IS DUE DECEMBER 5 A new Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) rule requires COVID-19 vaccination of all healthcare workers who work in facilities regulated under Medicare Conditions of Participation, Conditions for Coverage or Requirements for Participation. As a result, the following applies to all NM physicians and staff who did not request an accommodation:
Testing will no longer be an alternative for staff who choose not to be vaccinated.
By December 5, staff must have received at least the first dose in a two-dose COVID-19 vaccination series (Pfizer or Moderna), or the single dose of Johnson & Johnson.
By January 4, staff must complete the vaccine series.
Any staff member who is not vaccinated according to this timeline cannot provide care, treatment or any other services for the organization (unless 100% remote work).
Healthcare organizations that do not comply face fines, non-payment from CMS for new admissions, and termination of Medicare/Medicaid provider agreements.
Workforce vaccine clinics for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine booster and first and second doses, as well as flu shots, are available through Friday, November 19. Once those clinics conclude, there will be one more week of COVID-19 vaccine clinics during the week of December 6. You can view the schedule here. All NM Immediate Care Centers will offer first and second dose COVID-19 vaccines to NM physicians and staff on a walk-in basis.
REMINDER: MASKS REQUIRED INDOORS ACROSS NM Masks continue to be required indoors at all NM locations regardless of vaccination status. This includes conference rooms and in-person meetings.
In settings that are not open to the public, masks can be removed when employees remain in one place and maintain at least 6 feet from all other individuals. For example, if an employee is sitting in a cubicle 6 feet away from another employee, they may remove their mask. They should put the mask on when moving into common areas, such as hallways, break rooms and bathrooms.
REMINDER: DAILY SYMPTOM CHECK Remember, all physicians and staff are required to complete the COVID-19 symptom attestation through the NM Workforce app on your mobile device or at nmsymptomcheck.nm.org prior to coming on-site to any NM building. Once the daily attestation is complete, it is valid for 17 hours. ________________________________________________________________________________________________
Please continue to educate those who remain unvaccinated by sharing the facts about the vaccine and recommending boosters to those who meet the CDC criteria. If you will be traveling for the upcoming holidays, keep in mind the CDC’s Travel guidelines. As we approach Thanksgiving, please take time to thank the people who make a difference in our lives. It is my sincere hope that you and your family have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving. Thank you for all you do every day to provide Patients First care to the communities we are privileged to serve.
Gary A. Noskin, MD Senior Vice President, Quality Northwestern Memorial HealthCare Chief Medical Officer Northwestern Memorial Hospital