Tag: vaccines

CMS Will Pay for COVID-19 Booster Shots, Eligible Consumers Can Receive at No Cost

From CMS on September 24, 2021

CMS Will Pay for COVID-19 Booster Shots, Eligible Consumers Can Receive at No Cost

Coverage without cost-sharing available for eligible people with Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and Most Commercial Health Insurance Coverage

Following the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recent action that authorized a booster dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for certain high-risk populations and a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will continue to provide coverage for this critical protection from the virus, including booster doses, without cost sharing.

Beneficiaries with Medicare pay nothing for COVID-19 vaccines or their administration, and there is no applicable copayment, coinsurance or deductible. In addition, thanks to the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP), nearly all Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries must receive coverage of COVID-19 vaccines and their administration, without cost-sharing. COVID-19 vaccines and their administration, including boosters, will also be covered without cost-sharing for eligible consumers of most issuers of health insurance in the commercial market. People can visit vaccines.gov (English) or vacunas.gov (Spanish) to search for vaccines nearby.

“The Biden-Harris Administration has made the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines accessible and free to people across the country. CMS is ensuring that cost is not a barrier to access, including for boosters,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “CMS will pay Medicare vaccine providers who administer approved COVID-19 boosters, enabling people to access these vaccines at no cost.”

CMS continues to explore ways to ensure maximum access to COVID-19 vaccinations. More information regarding the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Requirements and how the COVID-19 vaccine is provided through that program at no cost to recipients is available at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/vaccination-provider-support.html and through the CMS COVID-19 Provider Toolkit.

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Biden Issues Exec Orders Requiring COVID-19 Vaccinations

The Biden Administration Issues Several Executive Orders Requiring Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination

On September 9, 2021, the Biden Administration issued several Executive Orders which impact more than 100 million workers in an effort to end the COVID-19 pandemic.  The two Executive Orders, Executive Order on Requiring Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination for Federal Employees and Executive Order on Ensuring Adequate COVID Safety Protocols for Federal Contractors were highlighted during a Presidential press conference.

During his announcement, President Biden said that there are more than 80 million Americans, who are not vaccinated.  As a result he stated that “it is essential that Federal employees take all available steps to protect themselves and avoid spreading COVID-19 to their co-workers and members of the public.”  Additionally, the President stated he issued these orders “to promote the health and safety of the Federal workforce and the efficiency of the civil service, it is necessary to require COVID-19 vaccination for all Federal employees, subject to such exceptions as required by law.”

The orders will require that all Federal employees and employees of Federal Contractors mandate vaccination.  The President stated that if businesses and individuals want to work with the federal government, they must be vaccinated.  Under the order, The Safer Federal Workforce Task Force (Task Force), will issue guidance to all covered agencies consistent with these Orders within seven (7) days.

The President also announced that the U.S. Department of Labor (U.S. DOL) will be issuing emergency rules that will require employers of 100 or more employees to require vaccination or mandatory weekly COVID-19 testing for all workers.  Additionally, the President announced that he is expanding requirements for employers to provide paid leave to employees so that they can obtain the COVID-19 vaccinations.  He provided no details on how much the paid leave requirement will be expanded.

Lastly, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it will be expanding the vaccination requirements for healthcare facilities that bill Medicare.  Currently, the Biden Administration requires that all long-term care staff working for facilities that bill Medicare must be vaccinated against COVID-19.  In the latest announcement, CMS stated that it will be expanding the mandatory vaccination requirements to other Medicare-certified facilities, including hospitals, dialysis facilities, ambulatory surgical settings, and home health agencies, and others, as a condition for participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.  CMS is developing an Interim Final Rule with Comment Period that will be issued sometime in October.

The President’s expanded COVID-19 plan follows numerous states, such as Connecticut, Rhode Island, California, Massachusetts, and several others that have already enacted mandatory vaccination requirements for healthcare, county or municipal, and long-term care workers.  Many of states that have enacted mandatory vaccination requirements provided for no vaccination exceptions, or made provisions for medical exceptions to the vaccination requirements.

We will not know the specific vaccine mandate requirements under these new rules until the Task Force, the U.S. DOL, and CMS publishes these emergency rules.  It is important for employers to understand that they are still required to engage any employee seeking an accommodation from the mandatory vaccination requirements in the interactive process as required under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.  We recommend employers follow a consistent documented process and seek legal advice when handling any accommodation requests.

We will continue to monitor developments with these new requirements.  Be sure to contact the AAA if you have questions about these Executive Orders or need assistance in ensuring you are in compliance.

EMS.gov | Template Protocol for EMS Administration of Monoclonal Antibodies

From EMS.gov on August 27, 2021

Developed by the NHTSA Office of EMS and HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, the template is intended to assist state EMS officials and local EMS systems in developing their own protocols 
he U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an Emergency Use Authorization to permit the emergency use of REGEN-COV (casirivimab and imdevimab) co-formulated product, and REGEN-COV (casirivimab and imdevimab) supplied as individual vials to be administered together, for the treatment of mild to moderate COVID-19 in adult and pediatric patients (12 years of age and older weighing at least 40 kg) with positive results of direct SARS-CoV-2 viral testing, and who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19, including hospitalization or death. Monoclonal antibodies are used to neutralize the COVID-19 virus and intended to prevent progression of disease. The U.S. Government is currently supplying REGEN-COV (casirivimab and imdevimab) for the treatment and post-exposure prophylaxis of COVID-19. The dosing is the same for both indications (casirivimab 600mg and imdevimab 600mg). The medication can be administered either intravenously (IV) or by subcutaneous (SQ) injection.EMS agencies throughout the country have been asked or may be asked to assist in the administration of this product through either route of administration.

To assist EMS agencies in planning, the NHTSA Office of EMS and HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response have developed a template protocol for state EMS offices and EMS Medical Directors to use to assist in these programs. Some states have created blanket state-level authorizations for EMS administration; some states will still require provider authorization prior to administration. Please follow local protocols and regulations. This template is only designed to facilitate the development of those local protocols as needed. Please contact the NHTSA Office of EMS with any questions.

CMS Releases Medicare COVID-19 Vaccine Data Analysis and PUF

From CMS on August 25, 2021

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released two new resources with information on Medicare beneficiaries on whose behalf at least one fee-for-service (FFS) claim for the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine has been submitted to the Medicare program.

First, we released a paper titled Assessing the Completeness of Medicare Claims Data for Measuring COVID-19 Vaccine Administration. This paper presents preliminary findings on the count of individuals ages 65 and older with at least one COVID-19 vaccine administration claim in the Medicare data compared to the count of people 65+ with at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose in the data reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Using data as of June 4th, 2021, we estimate that CMS received a claim for COVID-19 vaccine administration for roughly half of Medicare beneficiaries who have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose as compared to the estimated counts based on adjusted CDC figures (17.5 million out of 36.6 million). As a result, we recommend that the public apply significant caution when analyzing COVID-19 vaccine administration trends using Medicare claims data.

Second, we released the Medicare COVID-19 Vaccine Public Use File (PUF) which presents a high-level and preliminary overview of Medicare utilization and spending information from Medicare FFS claims for the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. The PUF shows that between December 11, 2020 and June 30, 2021, Medicare payments for administration of the COVID-19 vaccine were over $1.1 billion.  The PUF is based on Medicare FFS claims CMS received by August 6, 2021.

[Note: The Medicare FFS program is paying for COVID-19 vaccine administration on behalf of MA beneficiaries as well as for FFS beneficiaries receiving COVID-19 vaccinations in 2020 and 2021.]

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CMS Bolsters Payments for At-Home COVID-19 Vaccines

From CMS on June 9, 2021

Biden Administration Continues Efforts to Increase Vaccinations by Bolstering Payments for At-Home COVID-19 Vaccinations for Medicare Beneficiaries

As part of President Biden’s commitment to increasing access to vaccinations, CMS announced an additional payment amount for administering in-home COVID-19 vaccinations to Medicare beneficiaries who have difficulty leaving their homes or are otherwise hard-to-reach. This announcement further demonstrates continued efforts of the Biden-Harris Administration to meet people where they are and make it as easy as possible for all Americans to get vaccinated. There are approximately 1.6 million adults 65 or older who may have trouble accessing COVID-19 vaccinations because they have difficulty leaving home.

While many Medicare beneficiaries can receive a COVID-19 vaccine at a retail pharmacy, their physician’s office, or a mass vaccination site, some beneficiaries have great difficulty leaving their homes or face a taxing effort getting around their communities easily to access vaccination in these settings. To better serve this group, Medicare is incentivizing providers and will pay an additional $35 per dose for COVID-19 vaccine administration in a beneficiary’s home, increasing the total payment amount for at-home vaccination from approximately $40 to approximately $75 per vaccine dose. For a two-dose vaccine, this results in a total payment of approximately $150 for the administration of both doses, or approximately $70 more than the current rate.

“CMS is committed to meeting the unique needs of Medicare consumers and their communities – particularly those who are home bound or who have trouble getting to a vaccination site. That’s why we’re acting today to expand the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine to people with Medicare at home,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-Lasure. “We’re committed to taking action wherever barriers exist and bringing the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic to the door of older adults and other individuals covered by Medicare who still need protection.”

Delivering COVID-19 vaccination to access-challenged and hard-to-reach individuals poses some unique challenges, such as ensuring appropriate vaccine storage temperatures, handling, and administration. The CDC has outlined guidance to assist vaccinators in overcoming these challenges. This announcement now helps to address the financial burden associated with accommodating these complications.

The additional payment amount also accounts for the clinical time needed to monitor a beneficiary after the vaccine is administered, as well as the upfront costs associated with administering the vaccine safely and appropriately in a beneficiary’s home. The payment rate for administering each dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, as well as the additional in-home payment amount, will be geographically adjusted based on where the service is furnished.

How to Find a COVID-19 Vaccine:

As this action demonstrates, a person’s ability to leave their home should not be an obstacle to getting the COVID-19 vaccine. As states and the federal government continue to break down barriers – like where vaccines can be administered – resources for connecting communities to vaccination options remain key. Unvaccinated individuals and those looking to assist friends and family can:

  • Visit vaccines.gov (English) or vacunas.gov (Spanish) to search for vaccines nearby
  • Text GETVAX (438829) for English or VACUNA (822862) for Spanish for near-instant access to details on three vaccine sites in the local area
  • Call the National COVID-19 Vaccination Assistance Hotline at 1-800-232-0233 (TTY: 1-888-720-7489) for assistance in English and Spanish

Coverage of COVID-19 Vaccines:

The federal government is providing the COVID-19 vaccine free of charge or with no cost-sharing for all people living in the United States. As a condition of receiving free COVID-19 vaccines from the federal government, vaccine providers cannot charge patients any amount for administering the vaccine.

Because no patient can be billed for COVID-19 vaccinations, CMS and its partners have provided a variety of information online for providers vaccinating all Americans regardless of their insurance status:

  • Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage: Beneficiaries with Medicare pay nothing for COVID-19 vaccines or their administration, and there is no applicable copayment, coinsurance or deductible.
  • Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP):State Medicaid and CHIP agencies must cover COVID-19 vaccine administration with no cost sharing for nearly all beneficiaries during the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE) and for over a year after it ends. For the very limited number of Medicaid beneficiaries who are not eligible for this coverage (and do not receive it through other coverage they might have), providers may submit claims for reimbursement for administering the COVID-19 vaccine to underinsured individuals through the COVID-19 Coverage Assistance Fund, administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), as discussed below. Under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP), signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021, the federal matching percentage for state Medicaid and CHIP expenditures on COVID-19 vaccine administration is currently 100% (as of April 1, 2021), and will remain 100% for more than a year after the COVID-19 PHE ends. The ARP also expands coverage of COVID-19 vaccine administration under Medicaid and CHIP to additional eligibility groups. CMS recently updated the Medicaid vaccine toolkit to reflect the enactment of the ARP at https://www.medicaid.gov/state-resource-center/downloads/covid-19-vaccine-toolkit.pdf.
  • Private Plans: The vaccine is free for people enrolled in private health plans and issuers COVID-19 vaccine and its administration is covered without cost sharing for most enrollees, and such coverage must be provided both in-network and out-of-network during the PHE. Current regulations provide that out-of-network rates must be reasonable as compared to prevailing market rates, and the rules reference using the Medicare payment rates as a potential guideline for insurance companies. In light of CMS’s increased Medicare payment rates, CMS will expect health insurance issuers and group health plans to continue to ensure their rates are reasonable when compared to prevailing market rates. Under the conditions of participation in the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program, providers cannot charge plan enrollees any administration fee or cost sharing, regardless of whether the COVID-19 vaccine is administered in-network or out-of-network.

The Biden-Harris Administration is providing free access to COVID-19 vaccines for every adult living in the United States. For individuals who are underinsured, providers may submit claims for reimbursement for administering the COVID-19 vaccine through the COVID-19 Coverage Assistance Fund administered by HRSA after the claim to the individual’s health plan for payment has been denied or only partially paid. Information is available at https://www.hrsa.gov/covid19-coverage-assistance.

For individuals who are uninsured, providers may submit claims for reimbursement for administering the COVID-19 vaccine to individuals without insurance through the Provider Relief Fund, administered by HRSA. Information on the COVID-19 Claims Reimbursement to Health Care Providers and Facilities for Testing, Treatment, and Vaccine Administration for the Uninsured Program is available at https://www.hrsa.gov/CovidUninsuredClaim.

More information on Medicare payment for COVID-19 vaccine administration – including a list of billing codes, payment allowances and effective dates – is available at https://www.cms.gov/medicare/covid-19/medicare-covid-19-vaccine-shot-payment.

More information regarding the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Requirements and how the COVID-19 vaccine is provided through that program at no cost to recipients is available at https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/vaccination-provider-support.html.

CMS | Increased Medicare Payment for Life-Saving COVID-19 Vaccine

From CMS on March 15

Biden-Harris Administration Increases Medicare Payment for Life-Saving COVID-19 Vaccine

On March 15, CMS increased the Medicare payment amount for administering the COVID-19 vaccine. This new and higher payment rate will support important actions taken by providers that are designed to increase the number of vaccines they can furnish each day, including establishing new or growing existing vaccination sites, conducting patient outreach and education, and hiring additional staff. At a time when vaccine supply is growing, CMS is supporting provider efforts to expand capacity and ensure that all Americans can be vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as possible.

Effective for COVID-19 vaccines administered on or after March 15, 2021, the national average payment rate for physicians, hospitals, pharmacies, and many other immunizers will be $40 to administer each dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. This represents an increase from approximately $28 to $40 for the administration of single-dose vaccines and an increase from approximately $45 to $80 for the administration of COVID-19 vaccines requiring two doses. The exact payment rate for administration of each dose of a COVID-19 vaccine will depend on the type of entity that furnishes the service and will be geographically adjusted based on where the service is furnished.

These updates to the Medicare payment rate for COVID-19 vaccine administration reflect new information about the costs involved in administering the vaccine for different types of providers and suppliers, and the additional resources necessary to ensure the vaccine is administered safely and appropriately.

CMS is updating the set of toolkits for providers, states, and insurers to help the health care system swiftly administer the vaccine with these new Medicare payment rates. These resources are designed to increase the number of providers that can administer the vaccine, ensure adequate payment for administering the vaccine to Medicare beneficiaries, and make it clear that no beneficiary, whether covered by private insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid, should pay cost-sharing for the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Coverage of COVID-19 Vaccines:

As a condition of receiving free COVID-19 vaccines from the federal government, vaccine providers are prohibited from charging patients any amount for administration of the vaccine. To ensure broad and consistent coverage across programs and payers, the toolkits have specific information for several programs, including:

Medicare: Beneficiaries with Medicare pay nothing for COVID-19 vaccines and there is no applicable copayment, coinsurance, or deductible.

Medicare Advantage (MA): For calendar years 2020 and 2021, Medicare will pay providers directly for the COVID-19 vaccine (if they do not receive it for free) and its administration for beneficiaries enrolled in MA plans. MA plans are not responsible for paying providers to administer the vaccine to MA enrollees during this time. Like beneficiaries in Original Medicare, Medicare Advantage enrollees also pay no cost-sharing for COVID-19 vaccines.

Medicaid: State Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program agencies must provide vaccine administration with no cost sharing for nearly all beneficiaries during the Public Health Emergency (PHE) and at least one year after it ends. Through the American Rescue Plan Act signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021, the COVID vaccine administration will be fully federally funded. The law also provides an expansion of individuals eligible for vaccine administration coverage. There will be more information provided in upcoming updates to the Medicaid toolkit.

Private Plans: CMS, along with the Departments of Labor and Treasury, is requiring that most private health plans and issuers cover the COVID-19 vaccine and its administration, both in-network and out-of-network, with no cost sharing during the PHE. Current regulations provide that out-of-network rates must be reasonable, as compared to prevailing market rates, and reference the Medicare reimbursement rates as a potential guideline for insurance companies. In light of CMS’s increased Medicare payment rates, CMS will expect commercial carriers to continue to ensure that their rates are reasonable in comparison to prevailing market rates.

Uninsured: For individuals who are uninsured, providers may submit claims for reimbursement for administering the COVID-19 vaccine to individuals without insurance through the Provider Relief Fund, administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

More Information:

 

Webinar 3/25 | What the Vaccine Means for EMS Operations

From EMS.gov

What the Vaccine Means for EMS Operations

Tune in on Thursday, March 25, at 1 pm ET for the latest edition of EMS Focus, a federal webinar series hosted by NHTSA’s Office of EMS

Register Now

Millions of EMS clinicians and members of the public across the nation have now received a COVID-19 vaccine. But exactly what does that mean for EMS systems and organizations? In this webinar, learn what we know, and what we don’t know yet, about how the vaccines are changing our approach to the coronavirus pandemic. You’ll hear from experts helping to create and implement guidance for EMS services during these unprecedented times. They’ll address topics such as:

  • Testing and quarantine implications
  • EMS clinicians who have not been vaccinated
  • Vaccines and coronavirus variants

Register Now

Panelists Include:

Bryan E. Christensen, PhD, is an epidemiologist and industrial hygienist with the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion (DHQP) in the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He is also an environmental health officer in the U.S. Public Health Service. During the COVID-19 response, Bryan has been deployed in several capacities and has served on the Prehospital/EMS Team as part of the Federal Healthcare Resilience Working Group.

Kenneth A. Scheppke, MD, FAEMS, is Florida’s State EMS medical director. A board-certified EMS and emergency physician, he also serves as chief medical officer for several fire-rescue agencies in southeast Florida, and has been a leader in the state’s response to coronavirus.

Jon Krohmer, MD, director of NHTSA’s Office of EMS and team lead for the Federal Healthcare Resilience Working Group EMS/Prehospital Team, will moderate the webinar.

Attendees will be encouraged to submit questions during any point of the discussion. The webinar and Q&A will last approximately one hour.

About EMS Focus

EMS Focus provides a venue to discuss crucial initiatives, issues and challenges for EMS stakeholders and leaders nationwide. Be sure to visit ems.gov for information about upcoming webinars and to view past recordings.

EMS.gov | Training Resources for Vaccination Programs Using EMTs

From EMS.gov on February 10

These resources can serve as just in time training for vaccination programs utilizing emergency medical technicians:

Training video on COVID-19 intramuscular vaccine administration
This video created by the Maryland Institute of Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) can be used to provide EMTs with didactic knowledge to administer IM injections. With the exception of the MIEMSS link referenced in the video, it can be used by EMTs in any state or territory. It should be accompanied by a skills assessment, which is discussed below.

Intramuscular Injection Skill Checklist
A clinical skills assessment checklist for EMTs preparing to administer IM injections.

SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine Training for EMTs
A written description of the skills required of EMTs to administer the vaccine.

Moderna and Pfizer Vaccine Comparison
A simple side-by-side comparison of the Pfizer and Moderna SARS-CoV-2 vaccines

Vaccine Update Video
In this presentation from late January 2021, Florida State EMS Medical Director Kenneth Scheppke, MD, provides an overview of the latest science related to COVID vaccines.

COVID-19 Vaccination Training Programs and Reference Materials for Healthcare Professionals
CDC recommended resources to prepare healthcare workers to administer COVID-19 vaccines.

EMS Vaccine Administration Program Manual
This guide from the State of Indiana can serve as a resource to help state and local officials and EMS organizations with the creation and implementation of EMS vaccination programs.

CDC | National Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine

Download CDC Fact Sheet

In support of the Biden-Harris administration’s National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is organizing a virtual National Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine that will bring together practitioners from national, state, tribal, local, and territorial levels who are engaged in vaccinating communities across the nation.

The Forum will facilitate information exchange on the most effective strategies to:

  • Build trust and confidence in COVID-19 vaccines
  • Use data to drive vaccine implementation
  • Provide practical information for optimizing and maximizing equitable vaccine access

Practitioners include representatives of organizations focused on vaccine implementation in communities from:

  • State, tribal, local, and territorial public health departments
  • Healthcare system providers and administrators and their national affiliate organizations
  • Pharmacies
  • Medical and public health academic institutions
  • Community-based health service organizations

Dates and Deadlines:

  • February 9: Registration opens: www.cdc.gov/covidvaccineforum
  • February 16: Last day to register
  • February 22: Building Trust and Vaccine Confidence
  • February 23: Data to Drive Vaccine Implementation
  • February 24: Optimize and Maximize Equitable Access

Download CDC Fact Sheet

CMS | COVID-19 Vaccine Resources

As COVID-19 vaccines begin rolling out across the country CMS is taking action to protect the health and safety of our nation’s patients and providers and keeping you updated on the latest COVID-19 resources from HHS, CDC and CMS.

With information coming from many different sources, CMS has compiled resources and materials to help you share important and relevant information on the COVID- 19 vaccine with the people that you serve. You can find these and more resources on the COVID-19 Partner Resources Page and the HHS COVID Education Campaign page. We look forward to partnering with you to promote vaccine safety and encourage our beneficiaries to get vaccinated when they have the opportunity.

If you are a healthcare provider:

Both the CDC and CMS have useful resources for your practice. Look to CDC for the latest science, vaccine administration information and patient-focused resources.

You can find additional resources on the CDC Resources for Health Care Providers Page.

CMS released aCOVID-19 Provider Toolkit to ensure health care providers have the necessary tools to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The toolkit includes information on:

You can also review the set of COVID-19 FAQs, which has information specific to health care providers who bill Medicare for administering COVID-19 vaccines.

Here’s what else you should know:

  • Medicare covers the COVID-19 vaccine, so there will be no cost to your patients with Medicare.  Medicare will reimburse you for administering the vaccine.
  • State governments are handling the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Look for updates from your state and local officials as more doses of the vaccine become available for additional priority groups.
  • People without health insurance or whose insurance does not provide coverage of the vaccine can also get COVID-19 vaccine at no cost.  Providers administering the vaccine to people without health insurance or whose insurance does not provide coverage of the vaccine can request reimbursement for the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine through the Provider Relief Fund.
  • Most professional associations have pages devoted to COVID-19 vaccination.  Your association may have advice tailored to your discipline, specialty and/or location.

How can you help educate your patients?

  • You are a trusted source…encourage your patients to get the vaccine when it is available to them.
  • Let them know the vaccine is no cost and will help keep them from getting COVID-19. Learn more about the benefits of the vaccine.
  • Let them know the vaccine is safe and that safety is a top priority for COVID-19 vaccines.
  • Remind them to continue practicing the 3Ws (Wear a Mask, Watch your distance, Wash your hands).

Questions? Please e-mail us: Partnership@cms.hhs.gov

CDC | Essential Workers Vaccine Communication Toolkit

CDC has designed a COVID-19 Vaccination Communication Toolkit for Essential Workers to help employers build confidence in this important new vaccine. The toolkit will help employers across various industries educate their workforce about COVID-19 vaccines, raise awareness about the benefits of vaccination, and address common questions and concerns.

Access Toolkit

The toolkit contains a variety of resources including:

  • key messages,
  • an educational slide deck,
  • FAQs,
  • posters/flyers,
  • newsletter content,
  • a plain language vaccine factsheet (available in several different languages),
  • a template letter for employees,
  • social media content, and
  • vaccination sticker templates.

This toolkit will help your organization educate employees about COVID-19 vaccines, raise awareness about the benefits of vaccination, and address common questions and concerns.
Access Toolkit

BMJ | Pfizer Second Dose Efficacy 95%

Covid-19: Pfizer vaccine efficacy was 52% after first dose and 95% after second dose, paper shows
BMJ 2020; 371 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m4826 (Published 11 December 2020)
Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m4826

The Pfizer and BioNTech covid-19 vaccine may provide some early protection, starting 12 days after the first dose, the peer reviewed results of a phase III trial have found.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine,1 found that vaccine efficacy between the first and second doses was 52% (95% credible interval 29.5% to 68.4%), with 39 cases of covid-19 in the vaccine group and 82 cases in the placebo group.

Seven or more days after the second dose, vaccine efficacy then rose to 95% (90.3% to 97.6%), with eight covid-19 cases reported in the vaccine group and 162 cases in the placebo group.

The vaccine has so far been approved in Canada and in the UK, where it is already being rolled out to people over 80 and healthcare workers. In the US the Food and Drug Administration’s independent panel has voted in favour of emergency use authorisation for the vaccine, and the agency is expected to approve it within days.2

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JEMS Op-Ed | You Should Take the Vaccine

COVID-19 Can Kill You Now or Later. You Should Take the Vaccine.
By AJ Heightman on December 31, 2020

It pains me to have to write about a young, healthy EMS provider/firefighter from my hometown of Scranton, PA, but there is an important message for you to hear about COVID-19 and importance for all emergency responders to take the vaccines being offered to them.

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On-Demand | EMS Physician Virtual Town Hall: COVID Vaccines

Cohosted by NAEMT, NAEMSP, and NASEMSO
Recorded Thursday, January 7, 2021
2:00–3:00 pm EST

EMS practitioners have been serving as the “tip of the spear” in responding to and managing the COVID-19 pandemic. Paramedics and EMTs across the country have contracted COVID-19, and too many have succumbed to the virus. The launch of the vaccination program has included a great deal of information about the vaccines, not all of which has been accurate. Confusing or misleading information about COVID-19 vaccinations may cause some EMS practitioners to choose not to receive the vaccine.

To help cut through the noise, NAEMT has assembled some of our nation’s most notable EMS physician leaders for a virtual town hall to answer your questions and concerns regarding the COVID vaccines. This will be a spirited discussion, led primarily by the questions YOU ask. Questions can be asked live, or submitted in advance to Matt Zavadsky.

Moderator: Matt Zavadsky, MS-HSA, NREMT – Chief Strategic Integration Officer, Medstar Mobile Healthcare, Ft. Worth, TX; 2019-2020 President, NAEMT

Panelists:

  • Doug Kupas, MD, FAEMS, FACEP – EMS Medical Director, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; NAEMSP Board Member; NASEMSO Medical Director’s Council
  • Kenneth A. Scheppke, MD, FAEMS – EMS Medical Director, State of Florida; Medical Director, Palm Beach County Fire Rescue
  • Veer D. Vithalani, MD, FACEP, FAEMS – System Medical Director, Office of the Medical Director, Metropolitan Area EMS Authority; Chief Medical Officer, MedStar Mobile Healthcare
  • Jon R. Krohmer, MD, FACEP, FAEMS – Director, Office of EMS, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; Team Lead, HHS Healthcare Resiliency Working Group EMS/Prehospital Team

de Beaumont | COVID-19 Vaccine Acceptance Language

From the de Beaumont Foundation

The findings of a new national poll, “The Language of Vaccine Acceptance,” reveal the urgent need for political and health leaders to adjust their messaging to improve confidence in COVID-19 vaccines. The poll identifies the language that will be most effective in reaching all Americans, especially those who are currently less likely to take a vaccine, including rural Americans, Republicans age 18-49, Black Americans 18-49, and women 18-49.

The nationwide poll was conducted by the de Beaumont Foundation and pollster Frank Luntz in partnership with the American Public Health Association, the National Collaborative for Health Equity, and Resolve to Save Lives, an Initiative of Vital Strategies.

Highlights

  • Sixty percent of Americans said they were either “absolutely certain” or would “probably” get the vaccine if they could now.
  • The groups least likely to say they were “absolutely certain” were Americans in rural/farm communities (26%), Republicans age 18-49 (27%), Black Americans 18-49 (28%), and women 18-49 (29%). This compares with 41% of all respondents who said they were “absolutely certain” they would get the vaccine.
  • When asked about the biggest concern about taking the COVID-19 vaccine, one-third of all respondents (33%) said either long-term side effects or short-term side effects. The top three statements about side effects that respondents found most reassuring were “the likelihood of experiencing a severe side effect is less than 0.5%,” mild side effects “are normal signs that their body is building protection,” and “most side effects should go away in a few days.”
  • When asked what they want most from a vaccine, respondents said “a return to normal,” followed by “safety” and “immunity.”
  • When asked which statement was the most convincing, 62% of respondents chose “getting vaccinated will help keep you, your family, your community, the economy, and your country safe and healthy” over “taking the vaccine is the right thing to do for yourself, for your family, your community, the economy, and the country” (38%). This highlights the need to avoid moralizing and lecturing Americans when it comes to the importance of vaccine acceptance.
  • Family is by far the most powerful motivator for vaccine acceptance. Significantly more Americans said they’d be most willing to take the vaccine for their family as opposed to “your country,” “the economy,” “your community,” or “your friends.”
  • The most convincing reasons to take the vaccine were “at 95 percent efficacy, this vaccine is extraordinarily effective at protecting you from the virus” and “vaccines will help bring this pandemic to an end,” and “getting vaccinated will help keep you, your family, your community, and your country healthy and safe.”

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COVID-19 Healthcare Resilience Working Group Vax Videos

The Federal Pre-Hospital / EMS COVID-19 Healthcare Resilience Working Group put together two wonderful videos to encourage EMS providers to get both the COVID-19 vaccination and seasonal flu shot. Please share with your staff!

Watch Video 1: https://vimeo.com/492847212/3682909c4c

Watch Video 2: https://vimeo.com/492847424/d5a17f6b4c

 

 

NYT | What You Can Do Post-Vaccine, and When

From the New York Times

Vaccines are here, bringing hope of the pandemic’s end. But even when you get your dose, it won’t mean an immediate return to life as you knew it.

Scientists cite several reasons for staying masked and cautious as you start your post-vaccine life. Vaccines don’t offer perfect protection; we don’t yet know whether vaccinated people can spread the virus; and coronavirus is likely to continue its rapid spread until a large majority of the population is vaccinated or has survived a natural infection.

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National Academies | Vaccine Confidence Information Gathering Session

Friday. December 18, 2020
11:30–16:00 ET

Register Free

To inform a forthcoming rapid expert consultation on building public confidence in SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, the Societal Experts Action Network (SEAN) of the National Academies will hold an information gathering session on vaccine confidence. The session will cover the current state of vaccine confidence, reasons for hesitancy, and best practices for messaging. Facilitated discussions will incorporate special attention to communities at higher risk of contracting and dying from COVID-19, including underserved and vulnerable communities. Drawing from what is known about reaching and engaging diverse audiences to change beliefs and attitudes, this session will illustrate strategies that are likely to promote uptake of FDA-approved vaccines to prevent COVID-19.

This project is being done in collaboration with the Standing Committee on Emerging Infectious Diseases and 21st Century Health Threats.

Register Free

ACEP | EMS Priority Access to the COVID-19 Vaccine

Thank you to ACEP for the following statement.

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