KHF Breaking News

Advisories and Breaking News

Kids Health First is closely monitoring COVID-19 updates from the leading authorities across the globe, including:

  • World Health Organization
  • Centers for Disease Control
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American Board of Pediatrics
  • Georgia Department of Public Health
  • Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and
  • Other leading authorities.

Please check back often for new developments and community advisories as they become available.

Recent News Updates:

Pfizer: COVID-19 vaccine produces significant immune response in children ages 5-11 years- On September 20, Pfizer and BioNTech announced on Monday that their COVID-19 vaccine is safe in children ages 5-11 years and produces a significant immune response. “We are encouraged by Pfizer-BioNTech’s announcement and look forward to reviewing the data from the clinical trial,” said AAP President Lee Savio Beers, M.D., FAAP.  Click here for more information. 

American Academy of Pediatrics Cautions Against Off-label Use of COVID-19 Vaccines in Children Under 12- On August 23, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized the full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for ages 16 and older. While questions may now arise about the administration of the vaccine off-label for children aged 11 and younger, who currently have no available vaccine, the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly discourages that practice.  Click here for more information. 

FDA Approves First COVID-19 Vaccine- On August 23, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine has been known as the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, and will now be marketed as Comirnaty (koe-mir’-na-tee), for the prevention of COVID-19 disease in individuals 16 years of age and older. The vaccine also continues to be available under emergency use authorization (EUA), including for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals. Click here to read the full press release. 

Interim Guidance for Fully Vaccinated People-  On July 27, The CDC released an updated version of their Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People. Updated information includes information for fully vaccinated people given new evidence on the B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant currently circulating in the United States. Updated recommendations also include wearing a mask in public indoor settings or areas of high transmission as well as universal indoor masking for all teachers, staff and students as schools get back in session. Click here to view the updated recommendations.  

Guidance for Operating Youth Camps—On May 28, the CDC issued a new guidance intended for all types of youth day and overnight camps. The guidance outlines strategies that camp programs can use to help maintain healthy environments and operations, lower the risk of COVID-19 spread in their programs, prepare for when someone is sick with COVID-19, and support coping and resilience. Click here to view the guidelines.

New CPT Code Approved for Use During Pandemic: Though Implementation is Pending—Last week we told you about this new code, 99072, which can be reported for additional supplies, materials, and preparation time required and provided by the physician over and above those usually included in an office visit, when performed during a nationally declared public health emergency. However, CMS has not issued a Final Rule on this code, and at this point, payers vary widely in how they are treating the code. Click here for more information.

New Provider Relief Funding Phase 3: General Distribution – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the next phase of provider relief funding. It will distribute $20 billion to pediatricians and other providers who have experienced lost revenue and increased expenses due to COVID-19. Providers can apply from October 5 to November 6. More information can be found via this press release.

10.28.20Ransomware Activity Targeting the Healthcare and Public Health Sector

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have credible information of an increased and imminent cybercrime threat to U.S. hospitals and healthcare providers.

CISA, FBI, and HHS have released AA20-302A Ransomware Activity Targeting the Healthcare and Public Health Sector that details both the threat and practices that healthcare organizations should continuously engage in to help manage the risk posed by ransomware and other cyber threats. The advisory references the joint CISA MS-ISAC Ransomware Guide that provides a ransomware response checklist that can serve as a ransomware-specific addendum to organization cyber incident response plans.

In addition to these materials regarding the most recent ransomware threat to the Healthcare and Public Health Sector, the HHS Office for Civil Rights’ Fact Sheet: Ransomware and HIPAA provides further information for entities regulated by the HIPAA Rules.

CISA, FBI, and HHS are sharing this information in order to provide a warning to healthcare providers to ensure that they take timely and reasonable precautions to protect their networks from these threats. CISA encourages users and administrators to review CISA’s Ransomware webpage for additional information.

HHS Revises Definition of “Lost Revenue,” Clarifies Definition of “Reporting Entity,” and Expands Phase III Eligibility

On October 22, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued revised instructions regarding permitted uses of Provider Relief Fund (PRF) payments. The legislation creating the PRF restricts its use to “healthcare-related expenses or lost revenues that are attributable to coronavirus” and requires recipients to report on their use of funds. Read our detailed explanation of the HHS revisions here.

10.21.20- CDC Update COVID-19 Guidance

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updated its guidance regarding COVID-19 testing (namely, a recommendation that asymptomatic persons should get tested) and the many considerations employers should make when reopening buildings after they’ve been closed or reduced in operations.

New Report: U.S. Schools Have Avoided Spike in COVID-19 Cases

Reuters recently reported Friday, Oct. 2, that U.S. schools from kindergarten to high school have avoided a spike in COVID-19 cases, noting reassuring data that shows you can open schools safely when you put in place the right measures and have control of community spread. Medical experts say the real test is coming as students in large densely-populated cities such as New York and Miami return to classrooms.

GA AAP – 9.30.20

  • Update on CPT Code 87426 – The Chapter learned last week that the Georgia Department of Community Health (Medicaid) is reimbursing CPT code 87426 at a “default rate” of $15 until CMS sets a rate for this code. Once the rate has been set, Georgia Medicaid will have all Fee for Service claims reprocessed at the higher rate.
  • Flu Vaccine Bidirectional Borrowing – Georgia VFC has announced they will allow borrowing between VFC and private flu vaccine stocks for the 2020-2021 flu season.  Please refer to the recently released guidance here.
  • AAP Updates Guidance on Returning to Sports Activities –  On September 17th, the AAP updated its guidance for children and teens who participate in sports activities, clarifying the recommended amount of time athletes should be held out of practices and games if they or close contacts show symptoms or test + for COVID-19.

CDC Issues Updated Guidance regarding COVID-19 testing – 9/18/20

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updated its guidance regarding COVID-19 testing (namely, a recommendation that asymptomatic persons should get tested) and the many considerations employers should make when reopening buildings after they’ve been closed or reduced in operations.


Georgia Health News reports a growing number of parents are increasingly uncomfortable with taking their children to the doctor. Given that Georgia is a COVID-19 hot spot and now has more than 260,000 confirmed cases, some parents feel the risk is too great. This post features comments from Dr. Keyana Washington- a KHF physician with Gwinnett Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine and ,Dr. Sally Goza- President of the AAP.

Health Inequity in the Hispanic/Latinx Population During the COVID-19 Pandemic– 9/2/20

Georgia AAP Partners with DPH to Promote Well Child Care– 8/12/20 The Georgia Chapter has partnered with the Georgia Department of Public Health on a social media campaign to promote the need for children to go to their pediatricians for well child care.

Updated Guidance for Discontinuing Isolation and Testing After COVID-19 Recovery

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated guidance related to discontinuing isolation and testing after recovery. This guidance has implications for patients returning to you for care and for individuals returning to work or school.

For more information, refer to the Georgia Department of Public Health memo dated Wednesday, July 29, 2020.

The Georgia AAP Releases The Pediatrician’s Toolkit for School Re-Entry and Children’s Health in the Time of COVID-19– June 2020

The Georgia Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) School Health Committee has developed a toolkit that can serve as a template for how the pediatrician can become involved in school re-openings.

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