Division of Infectious Diseases

COVID-19 vaccines at the Specialty Care Center

(Pictured: Adele Haas, CMA, prepares and administers COVID-19 vaccines to patients at the SCC)

Since mid-August 2021, the Nebraska Medicine Specialty Care Center (SCC) has been busy administering Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to patients at the clinic. Many of these patients were previously hesitant about receiving COVID-19 vaccines elsewhere in the community, but had expressed willingness to complete it at the SCC.

At that time (8/13/21), Just over 70% of the approximately 1200 patients at the SCC had already completed the initial COVID-19 vaccine series. Nichole Regan, APRN at the clinic, stated, “We were really excited about these numbers, but wanted to continue to educate the 30% of our patients that weren’t yet vaccinated, and connect them to vaccination resources. Knowing we could offer the vaccine right here in clinic, we had a hunch that would help patients feel more willing and comfortable to get vaccinated.”

Two months later, the clinic COVID-19 vaccine completion rate has steadily risen to 75%, and the SCC is also now offering Pfizer third doses and booster doses to those eligible.

A small group of patients have received their THIRD dose of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, based on guidance released by the CDC in August 2021, directed at immunocompromised patients. In terms of persons with HIV, immunocompromised patients are considered to be those not on antiretroviral therapy (ART), and/or with CD4 counts less than 200 cells/mcL.  These guidelines actually impact a very small percentage of patients at the SCC, as over 91% of the patients are on ART with undetectable HIV RNA viral loads.

The SCC has also now ramped up vaccine clinic operations to offer Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine BOOSTERS daily, as all patients with HIV are eligible for a mRNA booster 6 months after receiving the 2nd dose of either Pfizer or Moderna vaccines (based on HIV as a qualifying medical condition, regardless of viremic control and immune function). They are also providing Pfizer boosters to patients who initially received a Janssen COVID-19 vaccine at least 2 months ago.

Content provided by Nikki Regan, MSN, APRN, NP-C

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