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A Letter to Providers from the NYS Department of Health

January 27, 2022


Dear Pediatric Providers,

Your recommendation to vaccinate against COVID-19 is extremely important to your patients in ensuring that they are protected against the virus. Research consistently shows that a

provider’s recommendation to vaccinate is the single most influential factor in parents’ and guardians’ decisions to vaccinate their children. As a trusted source of information for your patients and their medical decision-makers, you can provide reassurance about the safety, efficacy, and importance of COVID-19 vaccination for all children 5 to 11-years-old and beyond. While over 500,000 children in this younger age group have received a COVID-19 vaccine, coverage remains far too low.


Here’s how you can help and the resources available to help you:


1. Enroll as a COVID-19 vaccine provider. Enrollment information is available here: COVID- 19 Vaccine Information for Providers | Department of Health (ny.gov).


2. Administer and advocate. Medicaid now provides reimbursement for COVID-19 vaccine administration, an enhanced rate for vaccination with counseling, and for vaccination counseling as a standalone visit which could occur in person or via telehealth. See Medicaid COVID-19 Vaccine Administration and Medicaid COVID-19 Vaccine Counseling. For more information, see Medicaid COVID-19 Coverage Policy and Billing Guidance.


3. Discuss the importance of vaccination and answer parents’ and guardians’ questions. These new resources can help:

• Ready-made resources, including posters, stickers, and certificates.

• A discussion guide, resources and training module, created by the CDC, to help talk to families who may have concerns about the vaccine.

• A dedicated frequently asked question page about the COVID-19 vaccine and children ages five through 11, as well as a separate page for adolescents ages 12 through 17.

• The Department’s latest research on COVID-19 pediatric hospitalizations, including the press release here, the full report here, and the summary report here.


4. Amplify your voice. This can be through social media, local or community-based event participation, or more. By sharing your medical experience with those around you, including that you are vaccinate and that you may have children or grandchildren who are vaccinated

– you can help more parents and guardians confidently make the decision to get their children vaccinated.


If appointments are not available in your office, make sure you have the information you need to:

• Direct parents and guardians to schedule their child’s free COVID-19 vaccine at over 2,000 locations offering pediatric vaccines statewide.

• All state mass vaccination sites are offering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children five years and older, booster doses for New Yorkers 12 years and older, and additional doses for immunocompromised children five years and older.

• Parents and guardians can also visit vaccines.gov, text their ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 to find nearby locations.

• Note other clinics in your immediate area that are offering the pediatric vaccine.

• Share trusted resources. This includes NYS’s dedicated website ny.gov/VaxForKids, ny.gov/Boosters, and ny.gov/GetTheVaxFacts.


Thank you for everything that you do to keep our children and families safe. I know that there are many competing demands on your time. Your work has made New York a national leader in routine pediatric immunizations, and we appreciate everything you are doing to help ensure we vaccinate as many children as possible against COVID-19.


Respectfully,

Mary T. Bassett, M.D., M.P.H. Commissioner of Health

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