The moment many of us have been waiting for over the past nine months has finally arrived. On Monday, December 14, 2020, the administration of the Covid-19 vaccine began across the country. It is a milestone for the U.S. and a glimmer of hope as our country aims to gain control over this virus. We are still very early on in this process and much is still to uncover. The process of making available the Covid-19 vaccine to the general population will be nothing short of a herculean effort. So, what will this mean for those who work in various Allied Health careers? Here are some of our thoughts on what the future may hold for several of these occupations.
The initial distribution of Covid-19 vaccines is happening in many hospitals across the country. Ass time goes, physicians’ offices may play a key role in administering the vaccine. These offices already help administer vaccinations such as the flu vaccine that many receive each year. As the Covid-19 vaccine becomes more widely available to the public, there will be a need for more vaccination sites. This could include local doctors’ offices and clinics.
Medical Assistants are already playing an instrumental role in keeping these practices running smoothly. Medical Assistants perform duties such as recording a patient’s personal info and their health history. They also measure vitals, give injections, draw blood, and perform tests such as EKGs. If local doctors’ offices begin to offer the Covid-19 vaccine in the future, they will likely see an increase in traffic as many choose to receive their vaccine at these locations out of convenience. According to the AAMA via the CDC website, professions that will be able to administer the vaccine, “vaccinators,” include RNs, LPNs, and medical assistants. And should the vaccine require multiple doses, “vaccine-only appointments” would likely be introduced as a service provided by vaccinating facilities, which would fall under the list of duties for medical assistants.
Medical Billing and Coding Professionals
Like Medical Assistants, Medical Biller and Coders play a key role in helping healthcare practices run smoothly. These professionals perform a variety of tasks such as office scheduling, medical billing, insurance claims and reimbursements, and patient record management. As the general population begins to get vaccinated, this process will require a very coordinated effort at all levels. This includes local sites (whether they be hospitals, clinics, or doctors’ offices) to help coordinate everything that needs to happen. From scheduling patients to updating records to communicating with insurance companies, Medical Biller and Coders professionals are sure to play an important role in helping coordinate this effort locally from behind the scenes.
So What Does This Potentially Mean Long-Term for Careers in Allied Health?
While there are still unanswered questions, medical experts think that the Covid-19 vaccine may also require a “booster.” Dr. Anthony Fauci recently shared with CBS News that while it’s currently unclear how often we will need to get a booster, he would be surprised if the vaccine provided lifelong immunity. This means that those who elect to receive the Covid-19 vaccine will likely need to make subsequent healthcare visits to receive a “booster.” The need for allied health professionals and their contributions will continue to be of great importance as we respond to the impacts of Covid-19.