COVID-19 Update: Boosters for Adolescents, Therapeutics Update and More
On Monday, the FDA amended its EUA to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech booster dose for use in adolescents age 12 to 15. The amended EUA also shortens the wait time between primary vaccine series completion and a booster dose from six to five months. In addition, it allows for a third primary series dose for certain immunocompromised children age 5-11.
The CDC has endorsed ACIP recommendations, expanding booster dose eligibility and recommending adolescents 12-17 years of age receive a booster shot five months after the initial Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination series. Pfizer-BioNTech's EUA has not been amended to reflect this recommendation.
Pharmacies administering COVID-19 vaccines or boosters to Medicare patients need to know of a significant change to the billing process. Patients who have a standalone prescription drug plan will still be paid by Part B fee-for-service. All other Medicare patients (e.g., Medicare Advantage plans, MAPDs) will be covered by the managed care plan which may cover the administration fee on the pharmacy benefit, medical benefit, or both. CMS allows these managed care plans to deny payment to out-of-network providers unless the plan has an out-of-network benefit.
The Omicron variant is not neutralized by bamlanivimab/etesevimab or casirivimab/imdevimab (REGEN-COV), the most frequently prescribed monoclonal antibody-based COVID-19 treatments. Beginning this week (Jan. 3), the Federal COVID-19 Response Team will not be allocating bamlanivimab etesevimab or REGEN-COV to states with greater than 80% prevalence of the Omicron variant. IDPH will notify administration sites when allocations are paused in Iowa. Healthcare provider questions regarding COVID-19 therapeutics can be directed to the C19 Therapeutics Call Center at (515) 281-7317 or emailed to C19Therapeutics@idph.iowa.gov.
Sotrovimab is the only available monoclonal antibody that is anticipated to have activity against the Omicron variant. Sotrovimab is in limited supply, and its use should be prioritized. IDPH publishes a weekly COVID-19 Therapeutics Brief and Vaccine Information Brief for providers. It is highly encouraged to read the weekly briefs for the most up-to-date information.
COVIDScan is a distributor and marketer of COVID-19 tests that offers rapid PCR, antibody and antigen testing. If you are an interested pharmacy owner, please contact David Haney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Public Health Collaborative offers a free COVID-19 toolkit with talking points, social media content and other resources. Updated this week, the toolkit includes “Answers to Tough Questions” for your patients and sample social media posts regarding vaccinations and boosters for everyone 12 years and up.
IPA is looking towards a new platform for monthly COVID-19 updates. Watch for this next month!