Read AMA Morning Rounds®’ most popular stories in medicine and public health from the week of Sept. 8, 2020 – Sept. 11, 2020.

Distributing flu vaccine taking on new urgency amid coronavirus pandemic, experts say

CNN International (9/8, Smith) reports, “Getting a flu shot is a safe, inexpensive way to stay healthy. But in a typical year, less than half of Americans get the vaccination (just 45% last year),” and “with the [COVID-19] pandemic spreading rapidly around the globe, distributing the flu vaccine takes on new urgency, according to medical experts.” American Medical Association president Susan R. Bailey, M.D., said, “Since hospitals and doctors’ offices are going to be very busy caring for [COVID-19] patients, a flu vaccine can help decrease burdens on the health care system and make sure that those who need medical care are able to get it.” She added, “Influenza is a deadly disease in its own right.”

AMA approves two additional CPT codes to support COVID-19 response

HIT Consultant (9/9, Pennic) reports, “The American Medical Association (AMA) published an update to the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) code set that includes two code additions for reporting medical services sparked by the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.” American Medical Association President Susan R. Bailey, M.D., said, “The CPT code set continues to quickly adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic to streamline the reporting of innovative tools and services now available to help reduce the COVID-19 disease burden, improve health outcomes and reduce long-term care costs. This update is the latest in a series of modifications to the CPT codes set to meet the needs of the health care industry as medical advancements expand the fight against COVID-19.”

Editor’s Note: View full information on the new CPT codes.

Report: People who rely on USPS for prescription drugs may have experienced “significant” delivery delays 

The Washington Post (9/9, Romm) reports people who rely on USPS for prescription drugs “may have experienced ‘significant’ delays in their deliveries, according to a” report from Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Robert P. Casey Jr. The report accused Postmaster General Louis DeJoy of placing the “health of millions of Americans” at risk.

USA Today (9/9, Wu) reports Warren and Casey “said some of the nation’s largest pharmacies told them they were experiencing, on average, delivery delays of 18-32%, meaning deliveries that would normally take 1-2 days would instead take 3-4 days.” The senators also said the delays could pose “serious health risks to millions of Americans and (increase) costs for consumers and taxpayers.”

The AP (9/9, Daly, Izaguirre) says the report conflicts with claims made by DeJoy that the changes he implemented “should not have impacted anybody.”

AstraZeneca starts safety review of suspended coronavirus vaccine trial

The New York Times (9/10, Wu) reports AstraZeneca has started a safety review following the suspension of a late-stage trial of its coronavirus vaccine candidate due to a participant falling ill. An independent board of experts will conduct the safety review and will aim to “determine if the participant’s condition was a reaction to the vaccine candidate or merely coincidental.” The board’s findings “are expected to heavily influence whether and when trials might resume.”

Reuters (9/10, Miller, Burger) the company “should still know by year-end whether its experimental vaccine protects people against coronavirus, as long as it is cleared to resume trials soon, its chief executive said on Thursday amid doubts over its rollout.”

AMA Morning Rounds news coverage is developed in affiliation with Bulletin Healthcare LLC. Subscribe to Morning Rounds Daily.

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