Search form

The Academy is continuously monitoring the public health situation related to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to provide information and resources for you, your practice, and your patients.

COVID-19 information for patients can be found on

Updated April 14, 2021

Guidance for Return to Practice for Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery

The AAO-HNS, with the collaboration of the otolaryngology specialty societies, has developed recommendations for a safe return to practice that are being presented in two parts. These will be “living documents” that will be updated on a regular basis as new information becomes available. Resources include downloadable PDFs, podcasts, and video versions of each podcast. To access all of the materials available, click HERE

  • Part One, released on May 7, contains comprehensive general considerations that are applicable to all practice settings and specialty areas of otolaryngologists’ practice. Page 6 was updated on July 1, 2020, to include testing guidelines from the Infectious Diseases Society of America. 
  • Part Two, released on May 15, contains specific recommendations encompassing prioritization and special circumstances related to surgical procedures for all specialty areas.


[April 14] CDC and FDA Recommending a Pause in the Use of the J&J COVID-19 Vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are reviewing data involving six U.S. cases of a rare type of blood clot in individuals after receiving the J&J COVID-19 vaccine that were reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS).  Read the FAQs about this action.

[April 7] NIH Begins Study of Allergic Reactions to Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccines Read More. 

[April 1] UPDATE to AAO-HNS Statement on Bell’s Palsy Related to Approved COVID-19 Vaccines

The AAO-HNS is providing an update to the December 19, 2020, Statement on Bell’s Palsy Related to Approved COVID-19 Vaccines. This update analyzes the most current data available on the incidences of Bell’s Palsy as related to an ever-increasing pool of  COVID-19 vaccinations in the United States. A special thank you to the collaborative work of the following AAO-HNS/F committee members on the development of this updated analysis:  CW David Chang, MD, Chair, Patient Safety and Quality Improvement (PSQI); Michael Brenner, MD, Chair, Outcomes Research and Evidence-Based Medicine; John D. Cramer, MD (PSQI);  Marc Bennet, MD, Chair, Otology and Neurotology Education Committee;  and P. Daniel Knott, MD, Chair-Elect, Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Education Committee.  Read the updated statement and analysis. 

[March 8] CDC Releases Guidance for People Who Have Been Fully Vaccinated Read More.

[March 1] SBA PPP Provisions for Small Businesses with Fewer than 20 Employees: Now through March 9

In order to reach the smallest businesses, SBA will offer PPP loans to businesses with fewer than 20 employees and sole proprietors only from Wednesday, February 24 through Tuesday, March 9, 2021, at 5:00 pm (ET). Additional program changes were also announced to make access to PPP loans more equitable. Read More. 

[February 27] FDA Issues Emergency Use Authorization for Third COVID-19 Vaccine Read More

Statement from NIH and BARDA on the FDA Emergency Use Authorization of the Janssen COVID-19 Vaccines Read More. 

[February 19] Study Looks at Nasal Spray as a Prevention of COVID-19 Transmission

The authors of a recently published report designed lipopeptide fusion inhibitors that aim to block the first critical step of infection of SARS-CoV-2‒membrane fusion between the viral and host cell membranes, mediated by the viral spike protein. According to the study, they selected a dimeric form for evaluation in ferrets and found that "daily intranasal administration to the ferrets completely prevented SARS-CoV-2 direct-contact transmission during 24-hour co-housing with infected animals, under stringent conditions that resulted in infection of 100% of untreated animals. These lipopeptides are highly stable and thus may readily translate into safe and effective intranasal prophylaxis to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV-2." This study was published in Science on February 17. Read the published paper.

[February 12] NIH Experts Discuss SARS-CoV-2 Viral Variants Experts from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, outline how these variants have arisen, concerns about whether vaccines currently authorized for use will continue to protect against new variants, and the need for a global approach to fighting SARS-CoV-2 as it spreads and acquires additional mutations. Read More. 

[February 10] UPDATED: Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Authorized in the United States

Summary of recent changes (last updated February 10, 2021) included but are not limited to "Updated quarantine recommendations for vaccinated persons. Fully vaccinated persons who meet criteria will no longer be required to quarantine following an exposure to someone with COVID-19. Additional considerations for patients and residents in healthcare settings are provided." Read More 

[February 10] Maximizing Fit for Cloth and Medical Procedure Masks to Improve Performance and Reduce SARS-CoV-2 Transmission and Exposure, 2021

CDC conducted experiments to assess two ways of improving the fit of medical procedure masks: fitting a cloth mask over a medical procedure mask, and knotting the ear loops of a medical procedure mask and then tucking in and flattening the extra material close to the face. Each modification substantially improved source control and reduced wearer exposure. Read More. 

[February 9] FDA Authorizes Monoclonal Antibodies for Treatment of COVID-19 Read More.

[February 8] NIH: Clinical Trial in Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients Evaluates Long-Acting Antibody Therapy Read More.

[January 21] AAO-HNS Statement on Treatment of Idiopathic Facial Paralysis (Bell’s Palsy) During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Academy released a statement on “Treatment of Idiopathic Facial Paralysis (Bell’s Palsy) During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” The aim is to guide physicians on the treatment of 1) patients who develop Bell’s palsy shortly after vaccination, and 2) unvaccinated patients who develop Bell’s palsy during the COVID-19 pandemic. The statement was coordinated by C. W. David Chang, MD, Co-chair of the AAO-HNS Patient Quality and Safety Improvement Committee. Members of six AAO-HNS committees and two infectious disease specialists participated. Read the full statement

[January 21] CDC: Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Authorized in the United States Read More. 

[January 14] Reminder: MIPS Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances Exception Application Deadline February 1

For the 2020 Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) performance period, CMS is using the Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances policy to allow clinicians, groups, and virtual groups to submit an application requesting reweighting of one or more MIPS performance categories due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing the varying effects of the pandemic on eligible practitioners, CMS has extended the deadline to submit a COVID-19 related 2020 extreme and uncontrollable circumstances application to February 1, 2021. Learn More.

[January 11] U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Loan Resumes  On January 11 the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), along with the U.S. Treasury Department, reopened the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The SBA began accepting “first draw” loans from small businesses that had not yet received a PPP loan. Effective January 13, businesses that already applied for a PPP loan can pursue “second draw” PPP loans. To promote access for smaller lenders and their customers, SBA will initially only accept “first draw” and “second draw” loan applications from participating community financial institutions. Applicants are generally eligible for a “second draw” PPP loan if the borrower previously received a “first draw” PPP loan and will or has used the full amount only for authorized uses; has no more than 300 employees; and can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020. Learn more about loan details and how to apply as well as access additional resources provided by the SBA. 

[January 4] FDA Statement on Following the Authorized Dosing Schedules for COVID-19 Vaccines Read More. 

[December 26] CDC Guidance: COVID-19 Vaccination Considerations for Persons with Underlying Medical Conditions Read More. 

[December 25] Allergic Reactions Related to COVID-19 Vaccinations in Allergic Patients: Joint Statement by the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery (AAO–HNS) and the American Academy of Otolaryngic Allergy (AAOA) Read the full statement. 

[December 19] AAO-HNS Statement on Bell’s Palsy Related to Approved COVID-19 Vaccines

AAO-HNS issues statement on incidence of Bell’s palsy related to FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines. These rare events should not dissuade healthcare personnel or patients from receiving these critical vaccines. Read the full statement.

[December 19] CDC Update on COVID-19 Vaccines and Severe Allergic Reactions Read more. 

[December 18] FDA Takes Additional Action in Fight Against COVID-19 By Issuing Emergency Use Authorization for Second COVID-19 Vaccine Read more.  FDA: Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions 

[December 11] AAO-HNS Calls on Governors to Prioritize Otolaryngologists in COVID-19 Vaccination Distribution Plans

On December 11 the Academy sent letters to each of the 50 state Governors, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia urging prioritization of otolaryngologists and other frontline medical workers for receipt of the Food and Drug Administration’s first approved COVID-19 vaccine. The letters implored Governors to consider the particular vulnerability of otolaryngologists in treating patients with COVID-19 as vaccine distribution plans are established in their individual state. Read the Letter.  

[December 11] FDA Takes Key Action in Fight Against COVID-19 By Issuing Emergency Use Authorization for First COVID-19 Vaccine Read more.  FDA: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

[October 6] FDA launched a new vaccines webpage to highlight new information as it becomes available. The new page includes the October 6 FDA issued guidance with recommendations for vaccine sponsors regarding the scientific data and information that would support issuance of an emergency use authorization (EUA) for investigational vaccines intended to prevent COVID-19. 

AAO-HNS and Highlight Proper COVID-19 Testing Procedures

Spencer C. Payne, MD, Chair of the Board of Governors, recorded an informational video that provides an overview of proper testing techniques for COVID-19. This video is available here and on the “What You Should Know about COVID-19” webpage. Access the Video Here.