Hospital supply shortages leave some inpatients unvaccinated

Some health systems aren't vaccinating inpatients, even if they're sick with something other than COVID-19, while their supplies are strained, Minali Nigam, MD, an internal medicine resident at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, wrote for CNN

UNC Health in Chapel Hill, N.C., isn't distributing COVID-19 vaccines to patients yet, partially due to supply issues, David Weber, MD, associate chief medical officer for the health system, told Dr. Nigam. 

"There's nothing specifically in the CDC guidelines that says you should or you shouldn't provide vaccine to inpatients," Dr. Weber said. 

For patients sick with COVID-19, the CDC recommends waiting to get the vaccine until symptoms resolve and quarantine ends. 

Mass General Brigham in Boston isn't administering COVID-19 vaccine doses to inpatients, but said it will "as soon as vaccine supply allows," Dr. Nigam reported. 

Beth Israel Lahey Health in Boston also said it would administer COVID-19 vaccines to inpatients as vaccine supply increases, according to Dr. Nigam. 

Challenges to providing inpatient vaccines include training hospital staff to use the state's data-entry system to track vaccine information, making sure vaccines don't go to waste and determining if a side effect a patient experiences is from the vaccine or another illness, Dr. Weber told Dr. Nigam. 

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