After rigorous review and safety testing, the COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized for kids ages 5 and up by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The approval and availability of the vaccine for children is an exciting and long-awaited moment in the nation’s fight against the pandemic, as the COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to protect children and families from the virus.
Children are being infected with COVID-19, and case rates are increasing as the holidays approach. As of November 18, 2021, child cases had risen 32% compared to the previous two weeks. Some children are experiencing serious illness, but even children who do not get severely ill could face long-term health issues or pass the virus on to others, including vulnerable family members. Since the start of the pandemic, 6.8 million children have tested positive for COVID-19, representing 16.9% of all cases.
As families get ready to gather over the holidays, let them know that the COVID-19 vaccine is the best way to keep everyone safe, and the vaccine is available for free in every state. Share how to find a COVID-19 vaccine within your community. Families can go to www.vaccines.gov to find the vaccine in their area, or they can call their child’s health care provider to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine and check in on other critical vaccinations like flu vaccine, which is crucial to keeping children healthy this winter. The flu sickens millions of children each year and is more dangerous than the common cold.
The flu vaccine is recommended for children 6 months and older, and can protect the individual receiving the shot and help stop the spread to family members and peers. Flu vaccines have also been shown to reduce the severity of illness in those who get vaccinated.
If your organization is looking for resources to encourage vaccinations in your community, please visit InsureKidsNow.gov for digital videos that highlight the importance of flu vaccine and are available in English and Spanish. Please note, these digital videos can be used in outreach indefinitely, but only as produced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
Register Today for the Pediatric COVID-19 and Flu Vaccines Webinar
On December 9th from 1:00-2:30 p.m. ET, the CMS Office of Minority Health and the Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign will host a webinar to discuss childhood vaccination and provide information and resources for partners and providers encouraging vaccinations in their community. The webinar will focus on COVID-19 vaccines and will also include information about flu shots for National Influenza Vaccination Week.
Speakers and panelists will highlight newly released recommendations on the COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11, federal COVID-19 resources, flu shot information, and more. Speakers include Dr. LaShawn McIver, Director, Office of Minority Health, CMS; Rebecca Siegel, We Can Do This Campaign, HHS; Erin Hemlin, We Can Do This Campaign, HHS; Jessica Beauchemin, Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign, and additional community guest speakers.
Reminder: Renew Medicaid and CHIP Coverage
Families can apply for Medicaid and CHIP coverage at any time of the year, but coverage does need to be renewed. During the COVID-19 pandemic however, states have been required to maintain enrollment (commonly referred to as the “continuous enrollment” requirement) of nearly all individuals enrolled in Medicaid as one of several conditions of receiving the temporary 6.2% Federal Medical Assistance Percentage increase under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. When the continuous enrollment requirement expires, states will generally have up to 12 months to return to normal eligibility and enrollment operations. This will include conducting a full renewal for all individuals enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP, as well as processing pending applications, and conducting routine verifications and changes in circumstances.
To ensure states have what they need so that eligible individuals enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP can maintain their healthcare coverage, CMS has released two new tools. The first, Strategies States and U.S. Territories Can Adopt to Maintain Coverage of Eligible Individuals as they Return to Normal Operations, will help states consider and implement policy and operational strategies to maintain coverage for eligible individuals once states return to regular eligibility and enrollment operations.
CMS has also released the Connecting Kids to Coverage: State Outreach, Enrollment and Retention Strategies to share effective and practical strategies to improve state Medicaid and CHIP outreach, enrollment, and renewal activities.
Current & Upcoming Observances:
- National Influenza Vaccination Week (December 5-11)
- New Year’s Eve (12/31)
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day (1/17)
- National Children’s Dental Health Month (February)
Stay Connected with the Campaign
- Share our Campaign materials. Our ever-growing, multi-lingual Outreach Tool Library features a variety of targeted resources to use in your outreach and enrollment efforts, available in multiple formats.
- Contact us. To get more involved with the Campaign, contact us via email at ConnectingKids@cms.hhs.gov.
- Follow the Campaign on Twitter. Remember to re-tweet or share our messages from @IKNGov with your social network and be sure to use our #Enroll365 and #KidsEnroll hashtags in your posts.
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