FAQs on Reporting COVID-19 Vaccination Data

September 2021

Data Reporting: General

Q1. Where can facilities access training materials on reporting COVID-19 vaccination data through NHSN?

Facilities can visit the following webpage to access training materials on reporting COVID-19 vaccination data through NHSN:

These webpages contain data collection forms, tables of instructions for reporting data, training slides, reporting and analysis guides, data tracking worksheets and .CSV file templates and instructions.

 

Q2. Should facilities complete all data fields of the COVID-19 Vaccination Modules?

CDC encourages facilities to complete all data fields of the COVID-19 Vaccination Modules. However, not all data fields are required. Only fields designated with a red asterisk (*) next to the question and a red box around the field are required to save the data.

 

Q3. What is the monthly reporting plan in NHSN and how is it used for COVID-19 vaccination data reporting?

The monthly reporting plan indicates to the NHSN system which modules and protocols a user intends to follow for surveillance purposes in a specific month. The plan must be completed before data are entered for that month. Monthly reporting plans must be created or updated to include resident and healthcare personnel (HCP) COVID-19 vaccination summary reporting, i.e., vaccination data must be “in-plan” for data to be shared with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

 

Q4. How should facilities report cumulative data?

Report the total number of individuals at the facility for that week. Then, of these individuals, report the number who have ever received COVID-19 vaccination (at that facility or elsewhere) since it became available in December 2020. Do not limit reporting to just the individuals who were vaccinated that week; instead, report the cumulative total of all individuals vaccinated to date.

For example, 50 healthcare personnel received only dose 1 of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during the first week of reporting. During the second week, 5 more healthcare personnel received only dose 1 of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Therefore, the facility should report that 55 individuals received only dose 1 of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the second week.

 

Q5. Which healthcare personnel should I include in the weekly COVID-19 vaccination data?

Facilities should report COVID-19 vaccination data on healthcare personnel who were eligible to have worked at this healthcare facility for at least 1 day during the week of data collection, regardless of clinical responsibility or patient contact.

To save a data record in the NHSN application, facilities must enter data on four categories of healthcare personnel: employees, licensed independent practitioners (non-employee physicians, advanced practice nurses, and physician assistants), adult students/trainees and volunteers aged 18 and over, and other contract personnel.

Q6. Should I include healthcare personnel who are on sick leave in the weekly COVID-19 vaccination data?

Facilities should include healthcare personnel if they are on temporary leave during the week of data collection. Temporary leave is defined as less than or equal to 2 weeks in duration. Examples of temporary leave may include sick leave or vacation. In instances where temporary leave extends past 2 weeks, the healthcare worker should not be included in question #1 for the current week of data collection. Therefore, facilities would include an individual who was on sick leave for 3 days during the week. However, an individual on maternity leave for 2 months would not be included in the data.

 

Q7. Should I include individuals not yet eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccination due to age in the data?

Individuals not yet eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccination because of their age should be excluded from question #1 on the data collection form.

 

Q8. If an individual works at multiple facilities, does each facility need to report vaccination data for this individual through NHSN?

These reports describe vaccination rates among individuals working at a specific facility, so all eligible individuals must be counted at each facility where they work during the week of data collection.

 

Q9. Our facility started administering COVID-19 vaccines in January 2021. Should my facility enter data in NHSN beginning with the first week vaccines were administered in January 2021?

Facilities can enter (and edit) data retrospectively; however, they are not required to do so.

 

Q10. What if there are no changes to my data from one week to the next?

If there are no changes to your data (for example, there are not any changes in the number of individuals and their vaccination status), then you would report the same numbers as the previous week. Because there could be new staff, residents, and/or patients joining or leaving the facility, vaccination coverage could change week by week even though no new vaccines are given.

Q11. I entered and saved data into the NHSN application for the incorrect week. What should I do?

Once COVID-19 vaccination data are entered and saved in NHSN, a week cannot be deleted in its entirety. We recommend that you enter zeros (0) on the data collection form for the incorrect week. Please note that data can be updated or edited at any time. For the correct week, you can proceed to enter your COVID-19 vaccination data.

 

Q12. How should we report healthcare personnel who no longer work at the facility?

Please include healthcare personnel who were eligible to have worked at this healthcare facility for at least 1 day during the week of data collection, regardless of clinical responsibility or patient contact. For example, if an individual worked at the facility from Monday through Thursday, but was terminated on Friday of the current reporting week, you would still include the individual in the data for the current reporting week. However, you would remove the individual from your data for subsequent reporting weeks.

 

Q13. Is the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine the same as the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes. These are the same vaccines.

 

Q14. Individuals at my facility received COVID-19 vaccine from various manufacturers. How should I report these data through NHSN?

Facilities should report COVID-19 vaccination data for all vaccine manufacturers as applicable. To enter data for more than one vaccine manufacturer in Question #2, please follow the following steps:

Step 1: Select a COVID-19 vaccine from the drop-down box.
Step 2: Enter the cumulative number of individuals who received only dose 1 of vaccine.
Step 3: Enter the cumulative number of individuals who received both dose 1 and dose 2 of vaccine.
Step 4: If some individuals received another type of vaccine, then return to the drop-down box and select the other vaccine and repeat steps 1 through 3 as described above.

 

Q15. How should facilities report data for individuals receiving dose 1 and dose 2 of the COVID-19 vaccine?

For question 2 of the COVID-19 Vaccination Modules, facilities report the number of individuals who have received only dose 1 of COVID-19 vaccine and separately report the number of individuals who have received dose 1 and dose two of the COVID-19 vaccine.

For example, 10 individuals received dose 1 of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. One month later, 3 of the 10 individuals received dose 2 of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. The 3 individuals who received dose 2 of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine would then be reported as receiving dose 1 and dose 2 of the Moderna vaccine. The other 7 individuals would still be reported as receiving only dose 1 of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

Q16. How should we categorize individuals who do not want to disclose their vaccination status?

Please report these individuals in question 3.3 under “Unknown COVID-19 Vaccination Status.”

 

Q17. An individual received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine but declined to receive the second dose. How should we categorize this individual?

The individual should be counted only as receiving the first vaccine dose. They would not be counted as declining the vaccine. Individuals should only be counted in question 3.2 as declining vaccination if they declined to receive any doses of the vaccine.

Q17. An individual received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine but had a severe allergic reaction to this. As a result, the individual did not receive the second vaccine dose. How should we categorize this individual?

The individual should be counted only as receiving the first vaccine dose for question 2. Individuals should only be categorized in question 3.1 if they did not receive any doses of COVID-19 vaccine due to having a medical contraindication or exclusion to this vaccine.

 

Q18. An individual received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine but had a severe allergic reaction to this. As a result, the individual did not receive the second vaccine dose. How should we categorize this individual?

The individual should be counted only as receiving the first vaccine dose for question 2. Individuals should only be categorized in question 3.1 if they did not receive any doses of COVID-19 vaccine due to having a medical contraindication to this vaccine.

 

Q19. If an individual received two vaccine doses, but the manufacturer for one dose is unknown, how should this be categorized?

If the manufacturer for one or more doses of vaccine is unknown, you would record the vaccination status for the individual in the “Unspecified Manufacturer” category.

 

Q20. If an individual received two vaccine doses, each from different manufacturers, how should this be categorized?

Individuals who received a complete two-dose COVID-19 vaccination series and had documentation of different manufacturers for both doses should be counted in the “Unspecified Manufacturer” category.

Q21. An individual received a COVID-19 vaccine that is not Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved or authorized. How should we categorize this individual?

Individuals who received all recommended doses of a COVID-19 vaccine that is neither approved nor authorized by FDA but listed for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO) should be counted in the “Unspecified Manufacturer” category (question 2.99), if they provide documentation of vaccination. Please refer to Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines | CDC for the complete list of COVID-19 vaccines that have received an emergency use listing from WHO.

 

Q22. If an individual cannot produce any documentation of COVID-19 vaccination received outside of the facility, how should this be categorized?

If individuals cannot provide any documentation of vaccination, they should be reported in question
question 3.3 under “Unknown COVID-19 Vaccination Status.”

 

Q23. What are considered medical contraindications for COVID-19 vaccination?

The latest information on medical contraindications may be found in Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Approved or Authorized in the United States.

For the purpose of NHSN COVID-19 vaccination surveillance, philosophical, religious, or other reasons for declining COVID-19 vaccine not listed in the Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Approved or Authorized in the United States are not considered medical contraindications for COVID-19 vaccination.

 

Q24. Question 3.1 on medical contraindications is required for saving data in NHSN. How should I complete this question if I was unable to obtain information on medical contraindications for individuals at my facility?

If a facility is not able to obtain information on medical contraindications, then the facility can enter a zero (0) in the NHSN application for this question.

 

Q25. Which individuals are considered fully vaccinated?

Fully vaccinated individuals have completed an initial COVID-19 vaccine series.

Q26. How are additional and booster doses defined?

An additional dose refers to an additional dose of vaccine administered when the immune response following an initial completed vaccine series is likely to be insufficient. A booster dose refers to an additional dose of vaccine administered when the initial sufficient immune response to an initial completed vaccine series is likely to have waned over time.

 

Q27. What is the difference between a COVID-19 vaccination series and an additional dose or booster?

The initial completed COVID-19 vaccine series received by an individual since December 2020 includes dose 1 and dose 2 of COVID-19 vaccines requiring two doses for completion or one dose of COVID-19 vaccine requiring only one dose for completion. The additional dose or booster is received at least two weeks or more after completing an initial vaccine series.

 

Q28. Can facilities enter data on additional doses or boosters for COVID-19 vaccine?

Yes, facilities should enter data on additional doses or boosters for COVID-19 vaccine in question 4 and question 5 of the data entry form. Question 4 allows facilities to report on the cumulative number of individuals eligible to receive an additional dose or booster of COVID-19 vaccine. Facilities should report on the cumulative number of individuals who received an additional dose or booster of COVID-19 vaccine (by manufacturer type) in question 5.

 

Q29. How should my facility determine who is considered eligible for an additional dose or booster at this time?

Facilities should refer to the CDC’s Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Approved or Authorized in the United States to determine individuals who are eligible to receive additional doses or boosters after receiving an initial completed vaccination series. For more information about COVID-19 vaccine indications for individuals who are immunocompromised, please see the FAQs.

 

Q30. My facility has a staff member who only received dose 1 of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. However, this staff member expressed an interest in receiving an additional dose of the vaccine. How should I categorize this staff member?

The facility would not include the staff member in questions 4 and 5 on the data collection form since he/she did not complete an initial COVID-19 vaccination series.

Q31. My facility cannot determine if an individual is eligible for an additional dose at this time because we do not know of the individual’s health status to determine if he/she is moderately to severely immunocompromised.

If a facility is unable to determine whether an individual is considered eligible to receive an additional dose or booster at this time, the individual should not be reported in question 4 or question 5 on the data collection form.

 

Q32. My facility is not aware or unable to determine whether any staff members currently meet the eligibility criteria for receiving an additional or booster dose per the Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Approved or Authorized in the United States. However, two staff members have documentation of receiving an additional dose. How should I categorize these staff members?

For reporting through the NHSN COVID-19 vaccination modules, assume these two staff members were eligible to have received an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Include these two staff members in question 4 and question 5 of the data collection form.

 

Q33. After reviewing the current Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Approved or Authorized in the United States, my facility does not have any individuals who are eligible to receive an additional dose or booster of COVID-19 vaccine. How should I report these data?

This facility should report that zero individuals are eligible to receive an additional dose or booster of COVID-19 vaccine in question 4.  The new question 4 and question 5 on the data collection form are required fields.  A value must be entered for each of these questions for the form to be saved successfully.  A zero (“0”) should be entered for question #4 and a zero “0” entered for question #5 (select any manufacturer from the dropdown). This will allow the form to save successfully.

 

Q34. Question 6 on the data collection form pertains to COVID-19 vaccine supply at a facility. Question 6.1 asks about if a facility is enrolled as COVID-19 vaccination provider. What is the definition of a COVID-19 vaccine provider?

At this time, all COVID-19 vaccine in the United States has been purchased by the U.S. government for administration exclusively by providers enrolled in the CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Program. Only healthcare professionals enrolled as vaccination providers directly through a health practice or organization can legally store, handle, and administer COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. Check here for additional details. How to Enroll as a COVID-19 Vaccination Provider | CDC.

 

Q35. If my inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF) or inpatient psychiatric facility (IPF) unit has the exact same CCN as my acute care or critical access facility, do I need to report the IRF or IPF unit data separately from this facility?

No.  If the IRF or IPF unit CCN is 100% identical to the CCN of its acute care or critical access facility, then separate HCP COVID-19 vaccination summary data reporting is not required by CMS.  Therefore, counts of HCP working in the IRF or IPF unit can be included in the total counts for the acute care or critical access facility. However, IRF or IPF units whose CCNs differ from the acute care or critical access facility CCN by even one letter or number – for example, having a “T” or “R” in the third position – must either be mapped as locations of the parent facility or enrolled as a separate NHSN facility, and their data must be reported separately.

Q36. Are there tools to help account for staff or resident turnover at my facility?

CDC has developed data tracking worksheets that will automatically calculate data for entry each week for the COVID-19 Vaccination Modules. For example, the worksheet for residents of long-term care facilities can be used to track the number of residents who receive COVID-19 vaccination. After entering COVID-19 vaccination data for each resident in the worksheet, simply select a reporting week, and the worksheet will automatically calculate each entry that should be reported to NHSN for that week.

The data tracking worksheets can be found under the “Supporting Materials” section of the following webpages:

 

Q37. The NHSN COVID-19 vaccination data tracking worksheets are password-protected. Can CDC provide a version of the worksheet that is not password-protected?

The cells in the worksheet are locked to prevent the many formulas in the worksheet from becoming compromised. This will ensure that the data entered into the worksheet data are summarized and calculated correctly. If you would like to track additional information (such as adding columns to the worksheet), CDC recommends that facilities create their own worksheet by copying the information from the CDC-developed worksheet into a new worksheet. Please note that the any new worksheets created will be outside the scope of the CDC-developed worksheets. View more information on how to use the data tracking worksheets pdf icon[PDF – 600 KB].

Q38. Can facilities submit COVID-19 vaccination data through NHSN using .CSV files?

Yes. One option for submitting COVID-19 vaccination data to NHSN is using .CSV upload. The .CSV file templates and instructions for uploading COVID-19 vaccination data can be found under the “Supporting Materials” section of the following webpages:

 

Q39. What is the maximum file size for uploading .CSV files of COVID-19 vaccination data?

The maximum file size for optimal upload is 1,000 lines. For facilities submitting COVID-19 vaccination data through large .CSV files, we recommend uploading files with a maximum of 500 rows to enable successful file upload.

 

Q40. Are there any alerts built into the .CSV files to prevent mathematical errors?

The .CSV upload has an alert built into the reporting grid to show a message that indicates when the upload is successful. NHSN will automatically populate the uploaded data. If errors are found during upload, a window displaying a description of these errors will be generated.

Q41. Why should facilities report data through NHSN if vaccination data are already submitted through other systems, such as the Immunization Information Systems (IIS)?

Facilities are encouraged to report data through NHSN (in addition to any other data reporting systems), because NHSN collects COVID-19 vaccination data for your facility. Most state Immunization Information Systems do not include the information needed to determine if an immunized person is a resident of a nursing home, a dialysis patient, or a healthcare worker. Using the NHSN COVID-19 Vaccination Modules allows tracking vaccination coverage among the residents, patients, or healthcare personnel in your facilities.

 

Q42. Who should facilities contact for questions about reporting COVID-19 vaccination data through NHSN?

Please send an e-mail to: nhsn@cdc.gov and include ‘Weekly COVID-19 Vaccination’ in the subject line of the e-mail.

Reporting: Dialysis Facilities

Q43. Are facilities required to report healthcare personnel and patient COVID-19 vaccination data through NHSN?

Yes, there is a requirement. However, since data reporting requirements are not established by CDC, we recommend that you contact your ESRD network. Your ESRD Network will be able to provide you with the relevant information on reporting COVID-19 vaccination data through NHSN for healthcare personnel and patients of dialysis facilities.

 

Q44. What is the reporting week for submitting COVID-19 vaccination data for dialysis patients?

Each calendar week begins on a Wednesday and ends on a Tuesday.

 

Q45. Which patients do I include in question #1 on the data collection form?

You would include all patients receiving dialysis care from the facility during the week of reporting, whether they received care at the facility or at home. Home dialysis patients include those receiving hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis at home.

Q46. How do you count a patient who receives care from the facility each week?

If a patient receives care from the dialysis facility for multiple weeks, you should count the patient for each week the patient receives care. For example, if a patient received care from the dialysis facility for five weeks, you would include the patient in the facility’s data for each of the five weeks.

 

Q47. When reporting the number of patients receiving dialysis care from the facility during the current reporting week, do we include patients that expired?

Yes, if the patient received care in the facility for at least 1 day during the reporting week, they would be counted in Question #1 on the data collection form for the current week. However, these patients would not be included in data reporting for subsequent weeks.

 

Q48. Should I report data for a patient who received dialysis treatment during a recent hospitalization?

Please include patients treated by your outpatient dialysis facility at least 1 day during the reporting week. If a patient only received dialysis care during a hospitalization you should not report data for that patient. However, if a patient was hospitalized during the week and was also treated by your dialysis facility at least 1 day during the reporting week, then you should report data for that patient.

 

Q49. How should I report data for patients with chronic or acute conditions?

Please include all patients who received dialysis care from the facility during the week, including those with chronic or acute conditions.

 

Q50. For hospital-based programs, do healthcare personnel need to be reported in both the hospital and dialysis facility data?

If healthcare personnel were eligible to have worked in hospital and dialysis facility, each facility should include the personnel in their data.

Q51. How should we report data if none of the patients at my facility have received COVID-19 vaccine?

If patients have not received the COVID-19 vaccine at the facility or elsewhere, please enter a zero (0) for Question #2 on the data collection form. Facilities still must complete Question #1 and enter the total number of patients receiving dialysis care from the facility.

 

Q52. My outpatient dialysis unit does not provide vaccination, but it is located within a hospital that does provide COVID-19 vaccination. How should I answer Question 6.1 “Is your facility enrolled as a COVID-19 vaccination provider?”

If the outpatient dialysis unit does not provide vaccination, but it is located within a hospital that does provide COVID-19 vaccination, you would select “No” for Question 6.1.

 

Q53. Should we report adverse events if the vaccine was not given at the outpatient dialysis facility?

Facilities should report clinically significant COVID-19 vaccine adverse events to any doses of the specific COVID-19 vaccine, given at the dialysis facility or outside the facility. Adverse events should be reported to VAERSexternal icon.

 

Q54. Do individual outpatient dialysis facilities need to confer rights for networks to view the weekly COVID-19 vaccination data for dialysis patients?

NHSN has set up auto-confer rights on weekly COVID-19 vaccination summary reporting for outpatient dialysis facilities.

 

Q55. Can multiple groups upload .CSV files of COVID-19 vaccination data?

NHSN users can belong to multiple groups. Users should be sure they are uploading and/or viewing COVID-19 vaccination data for the correct group in NHSN. Users should be logged into the Healthcare Personnel Safety Component for uploading and/or viewing COVID-19 vaccination data for healthcare personnel. The Dialysis Component should be used for uploading and/or viewing COVID-19 vaccination data for patients.

Data Reporting: Long-term Care Facilities

Q56. What level of Secure Access Management Service (SAMS) access do long-term care facilities need to report COVID-19 vaccination data through NHSN?

Long-term care facilities can currently access the NHSN COVID-19 Vaccination Modules with Level 1 SAMS access. However, Level 1 access is an interim measure with limited access to the NHSN application. Monthly reporting plans will be required to enter weekly resident and healthcare personnel COVID-19 vaccination data beginning October 1, 2021. Level 3 access will be required to complete these monthly reporting plans in the Long-term Care Facility Component. If your facility does not have a Level 3 user, please follow the instructions here to increase your access to Level 3: Increasing LTCF SAMS Level Access to NHSN | NHSN | CDC. NHSN strongly encourages all facilities to have at least two users with Level 3 access.

 

Q57. How should I report weekly COVID-19 vaccination data through NHSN?

COVID-19 vaccination data for healthcare personnel (HCP) and residents is to be reported to NHSN each calendar week and must represent data for each standard week, which is Monday through Sunday. For example, vaccination data for the week of Monday, 5/10/2021 through Sunday, 5/16/2021 can be reported to NHSN during the following week (5/17/2021-5/23/2021). As another example, DHQP nursing home reports COVID-19 vaccination data to NHSN every Wednesday. Data reported on Wednesday May 26 represented vaccination data for the previous standard week of Monday, May 17 through Sunday, May 23. Data may also be reported during the current standard week if preferred. Data may be updated at any time.
Additional specific questions related to CMS reporting requirements and data submission deadlines should be sent to the following e-mail box: DNH_TriageTeam@cms.hhs.gov.

Q58. Is the reporting requirement only for skilled nursing facilities? Or are other types of facilities, such as assisted living and continuing care retirement communities, required to report COVID-19 vaccination data for residents and healthcare personnel?

At this time, only skilled nursing facilities are required to report COVID-19 vaccination data. Please see: Federal Register: Medicare and Medicaid Programs; COVID-19 Vaccine Requirements for Long-Term Care (LTC) Facilities and Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals With Intellectual Disabilities (ICFs-IID) Residents, Clients, and Staffexternal icon

 

Q59. How should we report residents who have been discharged from the facility?

Please include residents occupying a bed at the facility for at least 1 day (at least 24 hours) during the week of data collection. For example, if a resident stayed at a facility for two days during the current reporting week but was then discharged, you would still include the resident in the data for the current reporting week. However, you would remove the resident from your data for subsequent reporting weeks.

 

Q60. When you open the NHSN application, it shows reporting forms for weekly influenza vaccination and weekly COVID-19 vaccination reporting. Are we required to report weekly influenza vaccination data?

No. Weekly influenza vaccination data reporting is not required at this time.

 

Q61. If a pharmacy conducted COVID-19 vaccination clinics at my facility, do they report the vaccination data to NHSN or does my facility report the data?

Pharmacies and other vaccinating organizations are not reporting COVID-19 vaccination data to NHSN, so it is important for long-term care facilities to report these data to NHSN.