WASHINGTON, D.C., January 12, 2021 — In a new policy statement released today, the American College of Physicians (ACP) made a series of recommendations about the provision, distribution and payment of COVID-19 vaccines that address the role of physicians as vaccinators, informing physicians, clinicians, and the public about COVID-19 vaccines, the importance of communication and collaboration among physicians and other vaccinators to ensure patient safety and continuity of care, information technology issues, and reimbursement and billing. ACP has issued previous guidance on the ethics of vaccine allocation and support for the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccines.
ACP’s recommendations include:
- Using all appropriately trained, state-licensed clinicians to administer COVID-19 vaccines in accordance with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendations and informed by ACP’s guidance on the ethical allocation of vaccines.
- Urging the CDC, FDA, vaccine manufacturers, state and local health departments and other stakeholders to widely distribute to all vaccinators all vaccine-related educational materials, quality protocols, storage and handing information, documentation, and other requirements. This should include information about any potential adverse events, and it should include tools to educate patients in linguistically and culturally appropriate ways. ACP also supports a national public education campaign about why and how to get vaccinated.
- That all vaccinators, including those working in retail health clinics, should coordinate, collaborate and communicate with the patient’s primary care team to ensure patient safety and continuity of care. This includes providing appropriate paperwork to patients, referring patients to their physician any necessary counseling and follow-up care, and having a structured referral system to primary care settings.
- That vaccinators record the vaccine administration data within the patient’s medical record and promptly report to the state’s immunization information system (IIS) or other designated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) system. ACP also supports funding for a coordinated effort to improve electronic exchange of public health data to support public health registries.
- That insurers be required to provide adequate reimbursement for all vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines. Payers also need to inform care teams of billing, coding, and other information necessary to obtain prompt reimbursement for administering the vaccine, but also for providing counseling and follow-up care.
“A vaccine can only be as effective as our ability to turn them into actual vaccinations given to our patients and the public,” said Jacqueline W. Fincher, MD, MACP, president, ACP. “A coordinated effort is critical to distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to the public and will require communication, collaboration and information sharing among physicians and other vaccinators.”
About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 163,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
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