COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Weekly Updates

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COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Weekly Updates

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Minnesota Department of Health

March 25, 2021


Good afternoon,

Here are the COVID-19 vaccine provider updates for 3/19-3/25.

COVID-19 vaccine is free for recipients

The federal government is providing the vaccine 100% free of charge to all people living in the United States, regardless of their immigration or health insurance status.

There should not be a perceived requirement for insurance. All organizations and providers participating in the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program:

  • Must administer COVID-19 vaccine at no out-of-pocket cost to the recipient.
  • May notdeny anyone vaccination based on the vaccine recipient’s coverage status or network status.
  • May notcharge an office visit or other fee if COVID-19 vaccination is the sole medical service provided.
  • May not require additional medical services to receive COVID-19 vaccination.
  • May seek appropriate reimbursement from a program or plan that covers COVID-19 vaccine administration fees for the vaccine recipient, such as:
  • May not seek any reimbursement, including through balance billing, from the vaccine recipient.

Any potential violations of these requirements will be reported to the Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, by calling 1-800-HHS-TIPS or at Submit a Hotline Complaint.

Medicare COVID-19 vaccine payment

On March 15, 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) updated the Medicare payment rates for administering COVID-19 vaccination. Medicare will pay approximately $40 for each dose of COVID-19 vaccine; effective for services that occurred on or after March 15, 2021. For more information, refer to CMS: Medicare COVID-19 Vaccine Shot Payment. For additional information regarding vaccination program provider requirements and reimbursement for the uninsured, refer to CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program Provider Requirements and Support.

Accessibility is not only the right thing to do, it’s the law

Vaccinating all Minnesotans requires that we provide the most welcoming and accessible environment to ensure that people with disabilities of all types are able to get their vaccine. MDH has received many requests for assistance because a vaccine site or the registration process was inaccessible.

Take steps to ensure your site and staff are ready and able to accommodate all Minnesotans.

Updated COVID-19 vaccine provider trainings

The following on-demand trainings for registered COVID-19 vaccine providers that are on the COVID-19 Vaccine Trainings for Health Professionals site have been updated:

  • Module 3: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
  • Module 4: Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

Below each training is the transcript and resources pertaining to each module. Module 5 has had no new updates.

Dose interval reminders

Some providers have been scheduling Pfizer vaccine for 28 days instead of the 21-day interval approved by CDC. The second dose of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines should be administered as close to the recommended interval as possible. If you cannot adhere to the recommended interval and it is unavoidable to delay vaccination, the second dose may be administered up to six weeks after the first dose. It should not be routine practice to schedule outside of the indicated intervals. We have limited data for efficacy of mRNA vaccines administration outside of this window. Learn more at CDC: Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Authorized in the United States: Vaccine Administration. Find MDH guidance on second doses at COVID-19 Vaccine Second Dose Guidance.

COVID-19 vaccination preparation and safety FAQs

The United States Pharmacopeia has a new set of frequently asked questions that provide more information on low dead-volume syringe and needle combinations in ancillary kits and ways to obtain a sixth dose from a Pfizer vaccine vial. Refer to ASHP: FAQ for Optimizing COVID-19 Vaccine Preparation and Safety.

Remember to properly label prefilled syringes if drawing up for others to administer. See MDH guidelines, “Preparing COVID-19 Vaccines for Administration,” at COVID-19 Vaccine Providers.

Providers are sending race/ethnicity data!

We have seen a large increase in providers sending race/ethnicity data with vaccine administration information in the Minnesota Immunization Information Connection (MIIC). Thank you for all your incredible efforts in this area! Please reach out to the MIIC help desk if you have any questions about ensuring these data are included with dose administration data.

Janssen and Moderna vaccine shipping timelines

Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine and Moderna vaccine shipments often go out for next-day delivery once the order is placed in MIIC. If you receive an order confirmation email on a weekday morning, it is likely that you will receive your vaccine the next day. Please keep these details in mind when planning for appointments.

Hold onto your packing slips

Vaccine ancillary kit shipments come with packing slips. Please keep these packing slips for your records, especially if you are redistributing vaccine. You will need the information included on the packing slip if you need to report any issues with the ancillary kits.

CDC COVID-19 vaccine webinar series

CDC is offering a series of brief webinars (15 to 20 minutes) addressing topics around COVID-19 vaccination, available at CDC: COVID-19 Vaccine Webinar Series. These interactive, web-based training modules offer a real-world perspective on different issues around COVID-19 vaccines. These two are currently available:

  • Preventing Vaccine Administration Errors​: A Primer for Healthcare Workers.
  • Getting Shots in Arms: A Primer for Healthcare Workers on Storing and Transporting Vaccines.

Continuing education will be available for each module.

Just-in-time training

A reminder that vaccinators, especially volunteer vaccinators, need just-in-time training for the COVID-19 vaccine. The ancillary kits may contain supplies that they are not familiar with. Experienced vaccinators should review specifics about the vaccine they are using, IM injections in the deltoid muscle, and patient education. Staff should also know who to ask about questions or problems, such as needle sticks.

Needle sticks

With the volume of vaccinations being administered, needle sticks may be on the rise. All vaccination sites should have policies and procedures in place should an employee or volunteer experience a needle stick injury. Include this information in your training. When a needle stick occurs (or other exposure to blood or body fluid), the person should immediately follow these steps:

  • Wash puncture site with soap and water for 15 minutes.
  • Flush splashes to the nose, mouth, or skin with water.
  • Irrigate eyes with water, saline, or sterile irrigants.
  • Report the incident to a supervisor.
  • Immediately seek medical treatment.

Resources for post-exposures:

Resources on needle stick prevention:

COVID-19 vaccine provider guide

The provider guide and appendices received a refresh last week at COVID-19 Vaccine Providers.

COVID-19 vaccine office hours with MDH

We are hosting office hours for health care providers. The office hours happen weekly on Tuesdays at 12:30 p.m., for 30 minutes.

This is time for you to come and ask questions of the vaccine clinical experts at MDH. Feel free to drop in at any point during the half-hour time slot.

Tuesdays at 12:30 p.m.: Click here to join the Teams meeting. Join on your computer or mobile app.

Find previous bulletins at COVID-19 Vaccine Provider Updates.