Can Medical Assistants Give COVID-19 Vaccines?

Q. Recently, we have learned that the NYS Office of Professional Medical Conduct, which governs the actions of physicians and physician assistants, has begun to investigate those physicians who use medical assistants to administer COVID-19 vaccinations. Is there currently a scenario where New York State permits an unlicensed medical assistant to administer COVID-19 vaccinations?

A. No. It is professional misconduct under the NYS Education Law § 6530 sections 11 and 25 to permit an unlicensed person to do that which can only be performed by licensed individuals. Medical assistants are not licensed and thus should not be permitted to inject any type of medication, including a vaccine. Billing for the services of a medical assistant that should have been performed by a licensed professional is fraudulent behavior and could have severe professional consequences, including the suspension or revocation of a provider’s medical license. Additionally, such conduct could result in criminal prosecution for insurance fraud and/or Medicare/Medicaid fraud.