Practice Staff Vaccinations

With healthcare providers and their support teams likely being the first have access to a COVID-19 vaccine, practices should be prepared with plans for vaccinating their teams. This article from the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) is a good overview.

CDC has suggestions for managing health care staff experiencing COVID 19 vaccine side effects:

  • Expected symptoms include fever, chills, myalgias, fatigue and headache, and typically start 1-3 days after vaccination and last 1-2 days. They DO NOT include cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, rhinorrhea, or loss of smell or taste.
  • A staff member experiencing typical side effects within the expected time frame and with no exposure to a known or probable case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days does not need further evaluation and can return to work when afebrile and feeling better.
  • A staff member experiencing symptoms beyond the expected time frame (e.g., fever lasting longer than 2 days) or with additional symptoms or unprotected contact with a COVID-19 patient in the previous 14 days should be evaluated for other causes of the symptoms.
Talking to Your Patients about the COVID-19 Vaccine

The AMA recommends that all physicians be prepared to address patient concerns, dispel misinformation and build confidence in COVID-19 vaccination, and have developed a collection of resources.

The NIH Behavior and Social Sciences Research Coordinating committee has released resources on how to effectively communicate about the COVID-19 vaccine:

The CDC has also released training and educational materials for healthcare professionals. This includes information to guide conversations with and answer questions from patients regarding COVID-19 vaccines. 

The CDC is encouraging use of the v-safe smartphone tool to report any side effects that occur after receiving the COVID-19 vaccination. Patients are asked to complete surveys and health check-ins after the vaccination, and the tool will provide a reminder of a second dose if necessary. Details on the tool and step-by-step instructions are available here.

The COVID-19 Task Force does not anticipate any contraindication for patients on allergen immunotherapy (AIT). However, it would be best to not get the 2 shots within 48 hours of each other to avoid confusion should a reaction occur.

Coding

The AMA, in cooperation with CMS, has released new codes for specific vaccine products. A spreadsheet of all the COVID-19 testing, vaccine and vaccine administration codes can be downloaded here.

CMS has a list of specific COVID 19 vaccine codes and payment allowances and a comprehensive toolkit for providers with the information needed to administer and bill for the vaccines.