Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the state has seen a decline in pediatric immunizations and encourages parents to get their children vaccinated for not only diseases like measles, whooping cough, and tetanus, but also the flu.
Last month ARKids First and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched public relations campaigns to spread awareness of the importance of staying up-to-date on childhood immunizations. Arkansas Department of Health Secretary and AMS member Jose Romero, MD, said, “The last thing we want in a pandemic is an outbreak of a disease that can be prevented with a vaccine. Routine vaccines will be even more important for health and safety of children as we move into flu season.”
To help catch up with pediatric immunizations, The Arkansas Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Steering Committee approved $8.77 million in federal funds from the Coronavirus Relief Fund to help close the pediatric immunization gap resulting from the impact of the pandemic. AMS supported the efforts, initiated by the Arkansas Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics who presented to the CARES Act Steering Committee.
Primary care physician practices that serve children may be eligible for reimbursements for expenses from March 1 to October 1, 2020. The maximum reimbursement for each primary care practice is $30 per child who is covered by either Medicaid ARKids A or B as of March 2020, up to the cost of the enhancements as supported by the documentation submitted to DHS.
The CDC is also encouraging physicians to prepare for the upcoming flu season by emphasizing the importance of the flu vaccine to patients. Every doctor has the power to fight the flu, and you can be a flu fighter by recommending the flu vaccine. Seasonal flu vaccine campaign material that you can share at your clinic or with your patients is linked below.