By Jacqueline LaPointe

- In anticipation of an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the American Medical Association (AMA) has created Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes for AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine.

AMA assigned Category 1 CPT code 91302 to the vaccine manufactured by the Cambridge, United Kingdom (UK) company, as well as vaccine administration CPT codes 0021A and 0022A to track the initial and second dose of the vaccine, respectively.

AstraZeneca is closing in on an authorization from its home country for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed in conjunction with the University of Oxford. A clinical trial recently determined the vaccine to be 90 percent effective despite some setbacks with the trial’s design.

The medical organization intends for the new CPT codes, which will be effective for use once the FDA greenlights the use of the vaccine, to support the vaccination of people in the US.

“A mass vaccination effort with the first available COVID-19 vaccines presents enormous logistical challenges,” Susan R. Bailey, MD, AMA president, said in a press release. “The ability to correlate each COVID-19 vaccine with its own unique CPT code provides analytical and tracking advantages that ensures optimal vaccine distribution and administration, especially for patients who will need to complete the two-dose immunization schedule.”

Only two COVID-19 vaccines have received approval or emergency use authorization from the FDA. The first was the vaccine developed by Pfizer and biotechnology company BioNTech.

Just this weekend, FDA also approved Modern’s vaccine candidate for emergency use authorization.

AMA has also issued CPT codes for both vaccines, as well as separate vaccine administration codes.

AstraZeneca has said it has begun the application process for emergency use authorization, which would make it the third pharmaceutical company to apply for a COVID-19 vaccine.

An approval for the UK-based company could help to bridge the gap in supply, especially since the vaccine is cheaper and easier to distribute compared to the vaccines from the other two companies. Notably, the AstraZeneca vaccine does not require special freezing equipment to ship and can last significantly longer in refrigerated conditions.

The company has also promised to manufacture up to 3 billion doses of the vaccine in 2021, pending regulatory approval. About 300 million of those doses would be for the US, according to an agreement HHS made with AstraZeneca through Operation Warp Speed.

Tracking the administration of the three vaccines will be critical to the US’ vaccination strategy, according to healthcare experts.

Using the CPT codes, health officials will be able to track, report, and analyze vaccination efforts, which can in turn support data-driven planning and allocation of the vaccines, AMA says.

The early release of the CPT codes for the AstraZeneca vaccine ensures providers are prepared to start administering the vaccine once the FDA gives an official nod for its use. Providers can now update EHR systems with the codes.

The newly assigned codes and their long descriptors are as follows:

  • 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
  • 0021A: Immunization administration by intramuscular injection of 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; first dose
  • 0022A: second dose

CPT codes for other vaccines are 91300 to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and code 91301 to the Moderna.

To document the administration of the vaccines, AMA has also created codes 0001A and 0002A to track the initial and second dose of the Pfzier vaccine and 0011A and 0012A to track the first and second dose of the Moderna vaccine.



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