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By: Lee Savio Beers, MD, FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics
"The White House actions announced today take important steps toward protecting children and families from COVID-19 and include a major development that will ensure families who rely on Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) can talk with their trusted primary care doctor about the vaccine for their children. With nearly 132,000 new cases of COVID-19 in children reported this past week, and as new variants emerge, it is essential that all eligible children can benefit from the protection that the vaccine offers as soon as possible.
"Pediatricians across the country have been playing a vital role in their communities to vaccinate eligible children and adolescents against COVID-19, in addition to making sure they are caught up on all of their routine immunizations. This work is at the core of pediatrics. Pediatricians know first-hand the importance of vaccine counseling for their patients and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has been advocating for this to be recognized through strong policy action; today it is clear that federal leaders listened.
"By funding and requiring payment for vaccine counseling in Medicaid and CHIP, today's action will help make sure that parents can receive the guidance they need and can get their questions answered about vaccination from a physician who knows their child. These programs provide health care coverage for more than 39 million children in the United States, including many children from communities of color, making this support for vaccine counseling critically important.
"The AAP applauds the Biden administration for taking this step and pediatricians are eager to continue doing the work to protect children and teens against this virus. If families have questions about the vaccine and their child's health, pediatricians are here to help."
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds