Coronavirus News Roundup: European Countries Suspend Use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 Vaccine, CMS Increases Medicare Reimbursement for COVID-19 Vaccines

Here’s a roundup of the latest coronavirus-related news.

The COVID-19 vaccination effort is well underway in the US, with over 115.73 million administered doses and 12.3% of the population fully vaccinated against the virus as of March 18.

This week, several European countries have temporarily suspended the use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is increasing the Medicare payment for administering COVID-19 vaccines.

Here’s a roundup of the latest coronavirus-related news:

Community Pharmacies Well Equipped for COVID-19 POC Testing, But Barriers Remain

The preliminary results of a recent survey showed that independent community pharmacies may be better positioned to implement COVID-19 point-of-care (POC) than chains, although strategies across the board could be improved.

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The Effects of “Long COVID” and How Pharmacists Can Help

Often referred to as “long COVID” patients or “long-haulers,” these patients continue to experience symptoms of illness far past the acute phase of this viral disease.

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Virtual Tour of Self-Care Resources

Patrick Bordnick, dean of the Tulane University School of Social Work, discusses the resources that the university has been offering for health care professionals and anyone else who is interested in prioritizing self-care amid the pandemic.

Watch the virtual tour.

European Countries Suspend Use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 Vaccine

Several European countries have temporarily suspended AstraZeneca’s vaccine for COVID-19 due to reports of patients having severe blood clots, though the pharmaceutical company pointed to a lack of evidence for the claim.

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OTC Considerations for COVID-19

Many individuals have been asking if they can take things at home, such as vitamins and OTC medications, to decrease their risk of contracting the virus or to self-treat themselves.

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CMS Increases Medicare Reimbursement Rate for COVID-19 Vaccines

CMS is increasing the Medicare payment amount for administering the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a statement from CMS.

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Expanding Scope of Practice Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond

An update on COVID-19 advocacy activity and regulations affecting your pharmacy practice.

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