Info for Providers

Information for Providers

According to guidance from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, the top priority for vaccines are health care providers and long-term care facility staff and patients. For more on who is considered in Group 1, click here. In general, Group 1 are health care workers with in-person patient contact can include but are not limited to medical doctors, nurses, dentists/hygienists, chiropractors, behavioral health providers, blood bank workers, community health workers, EMTs/paramedics, pharmacists, home health aides, physical therapists and more.

Wake County Public Health is currently vaccinating this group as well as all four hospitals receiving vaccine in Wake County, which include Duke Raleigh, UNC Health, UNC Wakebrook, and WakeMed Health and Hospitals. We have information below on how you can join our waiting list.

Following newly released state guidance, Wake County will be inviting all health care workers ato join our COVID-19 vaccine waiting list. (Read the news release)

Starting at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, January 19, those in Group 1 and Group 2 will have two ways to tell Wake County Public Health they’re interested in getting vaccinated – a 24-hour vaccine hotline and an online tool.

Due to the limited supply of vaccine and given the large number of people in these two Groups, we estimate it could be several months before everyone who wishes to be vaccinated in these populations receive their vaccinations.

We also want to emphasize that no one needs to rush to call our hotline or visit our online form on Tuesday morning. Priority for vaccine appointments will be determined by factors like age and vulnerability to the virus – not the order in which someone joins the waiting list.

Systemic signs and symptoms, such as fever, fatigue, headache, chills, myalgia, and arthralgia, can occur following COVID-19 vaccination. Preliminary data from mRNA COVID-19 vaccine trials indicate that most systemic post-vaccination signs and symptoms are mild to moderate in severity, occur within the first three days of vaccination (the day of vaccination and following two days, with most occurring the day after vaccination), resolve within 1-2 days of onset, and are more frequent and severe following the second dose and among younger persons compared to those who are older (>55 years). Cough, shortness of breath, rhinorrhea, sore throat, or loss of taste or smell are not consistent with post-vaccination symptoms, and instead may be symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 or another infection.

Because systemic post-vaccination signs and symptoms might be challenging to distinguish from signs and symptoms of COVID-19 or other infectious diseases, health care providers with post vaccination signs and symptoms could be mistakenly considered infectious and restricted from work unnecessarily; this might have negative consequences for health care providers, patients, and long-term care facility residents. Hence, strategies are needed to effectively manage post-vaccination systemic signs and symptoms and limit unnecessary work restrictions. See the chart below or refer to this CDC guidance.

Signs and Symptoms with Suggested approach
HCP Signs and Symptoms Suggested approach Additional notes
Signs and symptoms unlikely to be from COVID-19 vaccination:Presence of ANY systemic signs and symptoms consistent with SARS-CoV-2 infection (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, rhinorrhea, sore throat, loss of taste or smell) or another infectious etiology (e.g., influenza) that are not typical for post-vaccination signs and symptoms. Exclude from work pending evaluation for possible etiologies, including SARS-CoV-2 infection, as appropriate.Criteria for return to work depends on the suspected or confirmed diagnosis. Information on return to work for HCP with SARS-CoV-2 infection is available here. If performed, a negative SARS-CoV-2 antigen test in HCP who have signs and symptoms that are not typical for post-vaccination signs and symptoms should be confirmed by SARS-CoV-2 nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT). Further information on testing is available here:https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/lab/index.html
Signs and symptoms that may be from either COVID-19 vaccination, SARS-CoV-2 infection, or another infection:Presence of ANY systemic signs and symptoms (e.g., fever, fatigue, headache, chills, myalgia, arthralgia) that are consistent with post-vaccination signs and symptoms, SARS-CoV-2 infection or another infectious etiology (e.g., influenza).

Fever in healthcare settings is defined as a measured temperature of 100.0oF (37.8oC) or higher.

Evaluate the HCP.HCP who meet the following criteria may be considered for return to work without viral testing for SARS-CoV-2:

Feel well enough and are willing to work and

Are afebrile* and

Systemic signs and symptoms are limited only to those observed following COVID-19 vaccination (i.e., do not have other signs and symptoms of COVID-19 including cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, or change in smell or taste).

If symptomatic HCP return to work, they should be advised to contact occupational health services (or another designated individual) if symptoms are not improving or persist for more than 2 days.  Pending further evaluation, they should be excluded from work and viral testing should be considered. If feasible, viral testing could be considered for symptomatic HCP earlier to increase confidence in the cause of their symptoms.

*HCP with fever should, ideally, be excluded from work pending further evaluation, including consideration for SARS-CoV-2 testing.  If an infectious etiology is not suspected or confirmed as the source of their fever, they may return to work when they feel well enough.

In facilities where critical staffing shortages are anticipated or occurring, HCP with fever and systemic signs and symptoms limited only to those observed following vaccination could be considered for work if they feel well enough and are willing.  These HCP should be re-evaluated, and viral testing for SARS-CoV-2 considered, if fever does not resolve within 2 days.

If performed, a negative SARS-CoV-2 antigen test in HCP who have symptoms that are limited only to those observed following COVID-19 vaccination (i.e., do not have cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, or change in smell or taste) may not require confirmatory SARS-CoV-2 NAAT testing.  Additional information is available here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/lab/resources/antigen-tests-guidelines.html

Note: Additional guidance to mitigate staff shortages when work restrictions are recommended but there are no longer enough staff to provide safe patient care is available in Strategies to Mitigate Healthcare Personnel Staffing Shortages.

Long-term care staff and residents include people and staff in skilled nursing facilities and in adult, family and group homes:

  • adult care homes
  • family care homes
  • group homes
  • skilled nursing facilities
  • group homes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who receive home or community based services
  • in-patient hospice facilities

The federal government manages vaccinations for most staff and residents of long-term care facilities through the newly created Pharmacy Partnership for Long-Term Care Program with CVS and Walgreens. Staff and residents will be vaccinated at the same time. Other long-term care staff and residents will receive vaccinations through Wake County Public Health, other local health departments, or other long-term care pharmacies not participating in the federal program. North Carolina is working to enroll other vaccinating providers who may also reach this population.

If you're authorized and interested in administering the COVID-19 vaccine, please enroll through the North Carolina’s COVID-19 Vaccine Management System Provider Enrollment Portal. Any provider enrolling through the portal will be reviewed and considered for approval by the NC Immunization Branch to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. Enrollment can be initiated here.

As a reminder, COVID-19 vaccine providers must be qualified under the CDC agreement to prescribe COVID-19 vaccines and authorized under the appropriate NC licensing authority. Enrolled COVID-19 vaccine providers must be credentialed/licensed in North Carolina. Please understand that while currently qualified providers are welcome to enroll, requests will be addressed in an order aligned with the prioritization phases and the timeline for approval will vary. The State will continuously reassess enrollment prioritization based on needs.

Please visit the North Carolina Immunization Branch COVID-19 training website for Provider Enrollment Portal training content:  https://immunize.nc.gov/providers/covid-19training.htm.

The CDC defines the chronic medical conditions that put someone at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Currently, the list includes cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), heart conditions (heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies), immunocompromised state (weakened
immune system) from solid organ transplant, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, smoking, and type 2 diabetes mellitus. This list of conditions may be updated by the CDC and can be found here.

Yes. Everyone should continue using the 3 Ws—Wearing a mask, Waiting 6 feet apart,  and Washing your hands. It's important to stay away from crowds and large gatherings— indoors and outdoors - until most people are vaccinated. Receiving the COVID-19 shot and following the 3 Ws is everyone’s best protection from getting and spreading COVID-19.

Experts are still deciding on whether people who are vaccinated need to be quarantined if they have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19. At this time, anyone who has been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, besides people who have had COVID-19 in the past 3 months, should quarantine.

Other Resources

For more information about vaccines and COVID-19, call or email us.

Our Call Center staff can not put you on a list and there isn’t a way to sign-up yet, but rest assured, you will get a vaccine.