How to Become a COVID-19 Vaccinator
Obstetrician–gynecologists are eligible to become COVID-19 vaccinators. The process for becoming a COVID-19 immunization administrator, or vaccinator, is different than for other vaccines.
In order to become a COVID-19 vaccinator, you must first be licensed to administer vaccines in the state or local area where you will be vaccinating people. If you are part of a health system, reach out to the appropriate point of contact about whether your health system is already enrolled or would be interested in joining this effort. If you are an independent health care professional, contact your state or local immunization program.
This outline covers:
- Preparing to enroll as a COVID-19 vaccinator
- Obtaining vaccine doses
- Vaccine storage and handling
- Vaccine reporting
- Billing for the vaccination administration
Preparing to Enroll as a COVID-19 Vaccinator
- Enroll at the state, local, or jurisdictional level. If you are having difficulty finding your state’s COVID-19 enrollment page, use search terms such as “COVID Immunization Provider Enrollment” with your state name
- Sign the vaccinator agreement. When you enroll with your local or state immunization program, you must sign the CDC COVID-19 vaccination program provider agreement
- Participate in training
- The CDC offers several resources for training and education for COVID-19 vaccination. You should continuously check the training website as new COVID-19 vaccines become available and recommendations evolve about the vaccines and the process
- The CDC recommends that all vaccinators complete the training module for the vaccine(s) they will be administering
- Review additional vaccine preparation and administration resources for each vaccine product
- Make sure to check your state, local, or jurisdictional immunization program for separate training requirements
- Enroll in your jurisdiction’s reporting system
- To meet the CDC’s reporting requirements, you must enroll in your jurisdiction’s immunization information system if you are not already enrolled. As a vaccinator, you will be required to enter the specific vaccine administration information into your organization’s medical record system within 24 hours of vaccine administration and report that information to an immunization information system within 72 hours
- Additionally, you will be required to report the following:
- On-hand vaccine supply each day through vaccines.gov
- Certain adverse events related to COVID-19 vaccines through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System portal
- COVID-19 vaccine administration errors, regardless of whether the error led to an adverse event
For specific questions, visit the CDC’s FAQs for private and public health care providers about implementing the CDC COVID-19 vaccination program in provider practices.
Obtaining Vaccine Doses
Vaccines are allocated to practices by their leading jurisdiction. Practices and organizations do not order vaccines through the CDC or federal government. After the enrollment process is completed, vaccines will be ordered and sent to you by the jurisdiction through the CDC’s vaccine tracking system. You will be entering information in your jurisdiction’s immunization information system daily, enabling the jurisdiction to track your supply. Leftover doses from each week roll over into the next week.
Vaccine Storage and Handling
Vaccine storage and handling are very particular for some COVID-19 vaccines. The CDC has added a detailed section on COVID-19 vaccines to its storage and handling tool kit.
Reporting is an essential part of the vaccination process. The data reporting requirements for vaccine inventory and administration include practice information, vaccine specifics (eg, type, vial), and patient information.
If you aren’t already enrolled, your practice will have to enroll in your state’s immunization information system to become a vaccinator in order to comply with reporting requirements. You will receive more information by email after enrollment.
Vaccine Inventory Reporting
Vaccine inventory will be reported daily to vaccines.gov or to your jurisdiction’s immunization information system (also referred to as an immunization registry) for uploading to vaccines.gov depending on jurisdiction requirements.
Daily reporting of vaccine doses, both those in stock and those administered that day, is essential to ensure that your practice will be provided with enough second doses for those patients. The vaccine enrollment training will cover how to properly report to your immunization information system and vaccines.gov.
Reporting also makes your practice discoverable to patients as an active vaccination location on the various federal and state websites. Patients will be able to see the types of vaccinations in stock, the number of doses available, office hours, and additional pertinent information in the notes section. You will probably need to change your privacy settings on vaccines.gov or in the immunization information system to make sure your clinic’s location is publicly visible. For more information on vaccines.gov, see the CDC fact sheet and v.gov FAQs.
Vaccine Administration Reporting
All vaccine doses administered must be reported daily, along with patient information. You can submit vaccine reports online in your jurisdiction’s immunization information system, directly to vaccines.gov, or through a printable report form. You must enter the specific vaccine administration information into your organization’s medical record system within 24 hours of vaccine administration and report that information to an immunization information system within 72 hours.
Some electronic health record systems may have the capability to report directly to the IIS systems. Check with your facility, managers, or electronic health record vendor for more information.
The CDC recommends enrolling your patients in a text reminder or equivalent appointment reminder service to ensure they return for their second vaccination dose. This will also help you keep track of your returning patients.
Adverse Event Reporting
COVID-19 vaccinators are required to report adverse events related to the vaccine through the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System portal. This includes any administration errors. Find further instructions related to COVID-19 adverse event reporting online.
Not all adverse events occur within the office, so the CDC also recommends counseling patients to use the system so that they can self-report any post-vaccination adverse events.
Patients can report vaccine side effects to the CDC’s v-safe after-vaccination health checker, a post-vaccine symptom monitoring service that texts web surveys to patients. The text alerts will prompt patients to report their vaccination side effects and schedule a second dose if appropriate. V-safe will check in with patients at intervals for up to one year following their vaccination. Instructions for v-safe registration can be found on the v-safe web page.
Billing for the Vaccination Administration
COVID-19 vaccines must be administered at no out-of-pocket cost to the patient.
The CDC is explicit in their billing requirements. A COVID-19 vaccinator may not:
- Deny anyone vaccination based the patient’s coverage status
- Charge an office visit or other fee if COVID-19 vaccination is the only service provided
- Require additional services prior to receiving COVID-19 vaccination
- Seek reimbursement through balance billing
The COVID-19 vaccinator may seek reimbursement from the patient’s health plan or a program to cover the administration fees.
Plans and programs include:
- Private insurance companies (specific to the patient)
- Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement
- HRSA COVID-19 Uninsured Program for non-insured vaccine recipients
Billing codes for the vaccines are available at ACOG’s Coding for COVID-19 Immunizations page. Medicare claims are submitted through the regional Medicare Administrative Contractor. Please check with the patient’s plan for specific instructions to submit claims for vaccine administration.
For billing, coding, and insurance policy questions, go to ACOG’s Payment Advocacy and Policy Portal.
To spread the word about being a vaccinator, use the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services tool kit, which contains sample messages you can share on your social media channels.