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COVID-19 Briefs for June 1, 2021

The following are COVID-19 briefs for June 1, 2021.

Paid Leave for Vaccine Recovery: On May 27, Governor Cuomo announced that the New York State Department of Labor will be issuing guidance to all employers that any necessary recovery period from the COVID-19 vaccine is covered under the state’s Paid Sick Leave Law. More information is here. 

Domestic Travel  

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has posted updated information about domestic travel for fully vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. 

For those fully vaccinated, during travel

  • Wearing a mask over your nose and mouth is required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. 
  • Follow all state and local recommendations and requirements, including mask wearing and social distancing.

For those fully vaccinated, after travel:

For those who are unvaccinated

  • Before you travel, get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before your trip.
  • While you are traveling, wearing a mask is required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations. Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet from anyone who is not traveling with you. Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60 percent alcohol).
  • After you travel, get tested with a viral test 3 to 5 days after travel and stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel, even if you test negative. If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected. If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel. Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for 14 days, whether you get tested or not. Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms. Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements. 

New OIG COVID-19 FAQ 

The Office of the Inspector General has posted a Frequently Asked Question that addresses whether providers can offer incentives to Medicare/Medicaid individuals in connection with receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. 

The question is: “Would the offer or provision of cash, cash-equivalent, or in-kind incentives or rewards to federal health care program beneficiaries who receive COVID-19 vaccinations during the public health emergency violate OIG’s administrative enforcement authorities?” 

OIG answers:”In the limited context of the COVID-19 public health emergency, a health care provider, supplier, or managed care organization offering or providing a reward or incentive in connection with the beneficiary receiving the COVID-19 vaccine (either one or both doses) would be sufficiently low risk under the Federal anti-kickback statute and Beneficiary Inducements CMP” (Civil Monetary Penalties) as long as certain conditions are met.

These conditions include safeguards ensuring that the incentive or reward: is in connection with receiving a required dose of a COVID-19 vaccine that is authorized or approved by the Food and Drug Administration; is not tied to or contingent upon any other arrangement or agreement or conditioned on the recipient’s past or anticipated future use of other items or services that are federally reimbursable; is offered without taking into account insurance coverage “unless the incentive or reward is being offered by a managed care organization and eligibility is limited to its enrollees”; and is provided during the COVID-19 public health emergency. Please see the FAQs for details.

OIG adds that it “expresses no opinion on the merits or utility of any particular incentive or reward to address the goal of encouraging vaccination; this FAQ is limited to application of OIG’s administrative enforcement authorities.”

Vaccine Transport Guidance 

DOH has released an updated guidance on transporting refrigerated, frozen and ultra-frozen COVID-19 vaccine; and separate updated guidance on an “out-of-range temperature incident,” also called a temperature excursion, that includes any temperature outside the recommended range for a vaccine.   

The materials should soon be posted here.