OUR EFFORTS REGARDING COVID-19 VACCINE ALLOCATION

GFSPA has advocated for funeral service throughout the pandemic in regards to guidance for you and your staff. Before the COVID-19 vaccines Emergency Use Authorization was given, AGEG urged Governor Kemp and Department of Public Health Commissioner Toomey to follow the NASEM, ACIP, and CDC recommendations and guidance, with the specific information included,  which would give funeral service professionals priority access to the COVID-19 vaccine and include them in Phase 1-A.  

During the December 8, 2020 COVID-19 update briefing, Governor Kemp and DPH Commissioner Toomey, stated they would follow the ACIP guidelines and CDC guidelines.  As a reminder, states have the flexibility to tailor these recommendations based on their specific needs and available vaccines.  

With the EUA for COVID-19 vaccines given and distribution underway, GFSPA’s efforts have not stopped.  Through numerous (weekly and daily) written communications and calls, GFSPA has reminded the Governor, Commissioner, and their staff members of the guidance and recommendations given.  

  • The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) framework which clearly places funeral service professionals in “Phase 1a” for vaccine allocation (the phase for high-risk healthcare/public health workers). 
  • The NASEM framework uses the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) designation of healthcare/public health workers (includes funeral professionals) as critical infrastructure workers. 
  • The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is a standing committee within the CDC. It released its proposed groups for prioritized access to the COVID-19 vaccine. ACIP also put healthcare/public health workers in “Phase 1a,” along with residents of long-term care facilities. ACIP also used the NASEM framework, as well as the CISA designation of healthcare/public health workers (includes funeral professionals) as critical infrastructure workers. 
  • GFSPA has emphasized funeral directors and embalmers are a crucial part of public health and given the current status of COVID-19 cases, you are in danger of infection every day. We have reminded them you meet with families that may not disclose or be aware of their exposure and infection as you assist them with arrangements. We have reminded them you may not be properly informed of confirmed COVID-19 decedents and are exposed as you transport and compassionately care for decedents.  
  • We have reminded them of the public health risk should an outbreak in funeral service occur and the importance of morgue availability and capacity considerations. 

While we have not received a direct reply to our communications or calls, nor a change in the COVID-19 vaccination plan as requested, please be assured, GFSPA continues to advocate on your behalf and urge Governor Kemp and Commissioner Toomey to reconsider the current designation and immediately include funeral service in Phase 1-A.  

We closely monitor all information and guidance and update our members and our COVID-19 website section accordingly. 

The GFSPA Executive Board encourage all funeral service professionals to follow Federal and State orders, follow CDC guidance, and practice best practices. We encourage you to share all guidance and information immediately with your staff. There are numerous printable resources for your use in your funeral home and share with your staff and the families you serve.

As the situation is rapidly changing, revised guidance and information about COVID-19 is available, including details about the vaccines. While we do our best to post guidance and information in real time, the links will take you directly to the individual websites to ensure the most accurate and timely information is accessible.

RECENT UPDATES FOR FUNERAL SERVICE ARE HIGHLIGHTED BELOW

For additional information and guidance, including previous items,
visit our Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Resource Page
(click the box above and bookmark the page for quick reference).

GUIDANCE AND INFORMATION

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
    • US COVID-19 Cases Caused by Variants – Jan. 13, 2021 – CLICK HERE
    • New COVID-19 Variants – Jan. 09, 2021 – CLICK HERE
    • Considerations for Events and Gatherings – Jan. 08, 2021 – CLICK HERE
    • Isolate If You Are Sick – Jan. 07, 2021 – CLICK HERE

COVID-19 VACCINE

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
    • COVID-19 Vaccines – Jan. 14, 2021 – CLICK HERE
    • COVID-19 Vaccination – Jan. 13, 2021 – CLICK HERE
    • What to Expect after Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine – Jan. 11, 2021 – CLICK HERE
    • When Vaccine is Limited, Who Gets Vaccinated First? – Jan. 08, 2021 – CLICK HERE
    • What to Expect at Your Appointment to Get Vaccinated for COVID-19 – Jan. 07, 2021 – CLICK HERE
  • Governor Brian Kemp
    • Update on COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Press Conference – Jan. 12, 2021 – CLICK HERE
  • Georgia Department of Public Health
    • DPH Launches COVID Vaccine Locator – Jan. 11, 2021 – CLICK HERE
    • Updated Georgia Vaccine Plan – Jan. 07, 2021 (below)

The Georgia Department of Public Health is currently administering COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 1a+ which includes:

  • Healthcare workers (physicians, nurses, laboratory technicians, EMS personnel, environmental services, etc.)
  • Residents and staff of long-term care facilities
  • Adults aged 65 and older (effective 1-11-2021)
  • Law enforcement, firefighters, first responders (effective 1-11-2021)

Vaccine supply is very limited. Public health departments are scheduling vaccines by appointment only, as are most other providers. Depending on vaccine supply allocations from the federal government, it may be weeks before additional providers will have vaccine available for quicker and more widespread distribution.

The Georgia Department of Public Health has included funeral service professionals in Phase 1-B for COVID-19 vaccines.  You can view the “Georgia Vaccine Plan” HERE

GFSPA understands there are counties providing COVID-19 vaccines to funeral service professionals. If you are interested in receiving the vaccine, we recommend contacting your local health department for their specific vaccine availability.  A District Health Office Directory may be HERE or click HERE for a COVID-19 Vaccination Site.   

LICENSE AND REGULATORY

Click HERE for the licensing and regulatory resources and news for funeral service. Recent updates are detailed below.

  • Georgia Board of Funeral Service
  • Georgia Bureau of Investigation
  • Governor Brian P. Kemp
    • January 11, 2021:Governor Kemp Extends State of Emergency: Unlawful Assemblage
  • Georgia Department of Public Health / State of Georgia Office of Vital Records
    • Updated– Upcoming Webinars and Office Hours – Click HERE
    • Reminder– The Georgia Department of Public Health has made rule changes governing Vital Records and the following.  Click HERE for these forms:
      • Permit for Disposition of Human Remains
      • Permit for Disinterment and Reinterment of Human Remains
      • Supplemental Death Form
      • Pronouncement of Death Form
      • Deputy Registrars for Disposition Permits

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