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TB Testing and COVID-19 Vaccination Can Occur at the Same Time

The Department of Health (DOH) recently issued a Dear Administrator Letter (DAL) and updated a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document to reflect Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations on the timing of tuberculosis (TB) testing and COVID-19 vaccination. LeadingAge NY has known of this new protocol and communicated it to members for a few months now with the issuance of CDC recommendations and communications with DOH. This guidance formally adopts these changes:

On August 31, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued the following new recommendations regarding COVID-19 vaccination and the timing of immune-based tests for tuberculosis infection, such as the TST and IGRA:

  • COVID-19 vaccination should not be delayed because of testing for TB infection. Testing for TB infection with one of the immune-based methods, either the tuberculin skin test (TST) or an interferon release assay (IGRA), can be done before, after, or during the same encounter as COVID-19 vaccination.
  • TSTs and IGRAs were previously recommended to be administered > 4 weeks after completion of COVID-19 vaccination to minimize potential interference between vaccination and TB testing. This was out of an abundance of caution during a period when these vaccines were new. However, given logistical challenges faced in delaying TB infection testing, the recommendation has been updated so that these tests may now be administered without regard to timing of COVID-19 vaccination.”
  • Patients who have active TB disease or an illness that is being evaluated as active TB disease can receive a COVID-19

Full details of the new recommendations can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid19/clinical-considerations/covid-19-vaccines-us.html.

The attached “Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Annual TB Testing”, which were issued on February 17, 2021 with DAL DHCBS 21-03, have been updated to reflect these new recommendations.

Any questions on this issue should be sent to covidhomecareinfo@health.ny.gov.

Contact: Meg Everett, meverett@leadingageny.org, 518-929-9342