What’s the news: The AMA has published an update to the Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) code set that includes new vaccine-specific codes to report immunizations for the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, that are unique to the COVID-19 vaccine candidate under development by Janssen Pharmaceutica, a division of Johnson & Johnson.

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Working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CPT Editorial Panel has approved a unique CPT code for each of four coronavirus vaccines—those from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna that have been authorized in the U.S., along with the vaccine candidates made by Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca—as well as administration codes unique to each such vaccine.

The CPT codes clinically distinguish each coronavirus vaccine for better tracking, reporting and analysis that supports data-driven planning and allocation. The CPT codes will facilitate the updating of health care electronic systems across the U.S.

Why it’s important: “Janssen’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine would mark a big change from the double-dose vaccines currently available,” said AMA President Susan R. Bailey, MD. “The change will place greater importance on accurately reporting COVID-19 immunizations by vaccine type and dose to ensure patients complete the appropriate immunization schedule. Unique CPT codes that clinically distinguish each COVID-19 vaccine provide the needed informational precision to ensure optimal vaccine distribution and administration.”

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For quick reference, the Category I CPT codes and long descriptors for the vaccine products are:

  • 91300: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19]) vaccine, mRNA-LNP, spike protein, preservative free, 30 mcg/0.3mL dosage, diluent reconstituted, for intramuscular use.
  • 91301: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (Coronavirus disease [COVID-19]) vaccine, mRNA-LNP, spike protein, preservative free, 100 mcg/0.5mL dosage, for intramuscular use.
  • 91302: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (coronavirus disease [COVID-19]) vaccine, DNA, spike protein, chimpanzee adenovirus Oxford 1 (ChAdOx1) vector, preservative free, 5x1010 viral particles/0.5mL dosage, for intramuscular use.
  • 91303: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) (coronavirus disease [COVID-19]) vaccine, DNA, spike protein, adenovirus type 26 (Ad26) vector, preservative free, 5x1010 viral particles/0.5mL dosage, for intramuscular use.

In accordance with the new vaccine-specific product CPT codes, the CPT Editorial Panel has worked with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to create new vaccine administration codes that are both distinct to each coronavirus vaccine and the specific dose in the required schedule. This level of specificity is a first for vaccine CPT codes, which offers the ability to track each vaccine dose, even when the vaccine product is not reported—for example, when the vaccine may be given to the patient for free.

These CPT codes report the actual work of administering the vaccine, in addition to all necessary counseling provided to patients or caregivers and updating the electronic record.

Learn more: All the vaccine-specific CPT codes published here  will be available for use and effective when that particular coronavirus vaccine gets emergency use authorization or approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

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Answering health professionals’ COVID-19 vaccination questions

Short, medium and long descriptors for the new vaccine-specific CPT codes can be accessed on the AMA website, along with several other recent modifications to the CPT code set that have helped streamline the public health response to the SAR-CoV-2 virus and the COVID-19 disease.

Part of the AMA’s COVID-19 CPT guidance, the “Find your COVID-19 Vaccine CPT Codes” resource, helps you determine the appropriate CPT code combination for the type and dose of vaccine that you are using. With the rapidly expanding availability of different vaccines coming to market, understanding the appropriate reporting for the vaccine that physicians and qualified health care professionals plan to deliver to patients is critical.

Questions on CPT coding and content should be directed to the CPT Network, the authoritative source for CPT coding answers.

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