AMA releases new CPT codes for coronavirus immunizations to prepare for vaccine rollout

A nurse preparing a medical injection
New CPT codes clinically distinguish each coronavirus vaccine for better tracking, reporting and analysis that support data-driven planning and allocation, the American Medical Association said. (Getty/scyther5)

Amid positive COVID-19 vaccine news this week, the American Medical Association (AMA) announced new vaccine-specific Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes to report immunizations for the novel coronavirus.

Working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the AMA's CPT editorial panel has approved a unique code for each of two coronavirus vaccines as well as administration codes unique to each such vaccine. The new CPT codes clinically distinguish each coronavirus vaccine for better tracking, reporting and analysis that support data-driven planning and allocation, according to the AMA in a press release.

The AMA noted that these CPT codes are available prior to the public availability of the vaccines to facilitate updating of electronic medical record systems across the country.

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“An effective national immunization program is key to bringing the coronavirus pandemic to an end,” said AMA President Susan R. Bailey, M.D., in a statement. “Correlating each coronavirus vaccine with its own unique CPT code provides analytical advantages to help track, allocate, and optimize resources as an immunization program ramps up in the United States.”

RELATED: AMA announces new CPT codes for tests aimed at detecting COVID-19 and flu

The new Category I CPT codes and long descriptors for the vaccine products are 91300 for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) vaccine, mRNA-LNP, spike protein, preservative-free, 30 mcg/0.3mL dosage, diluent reconstituted, for intramuscular use and 91301 for 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.

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 but offers the ability to track each vaccine dose, even when the vaccine product is not reported, such as when the vaccine may be given to the patient for free, the AMA said.

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.

The AMA has published resources (PDF) about the new vaccine administration CPT codes and long descriptors.

All the new vaccine-specific CPT codes published in today’s update will be available for use and effective upon each new coronavirus vaccine receiving Emergency Use Authorization or approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

Short and medium 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.

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