AmeriHealth Caritas Promotes Access to COVID-19 Vaccines for Children

AmeriHealth Caritas

NEWTOWN SQUARE, PA — With the arrival of winter, AmeriHealth Caritas is stressing the importance of being current with age-appropriate COVID-19 vaccinations as recommended by the CDC, including the new bivalent boosters, which offer protection against Omicron variants.

AmeriHealth Caritas has worked to facilitate vaccine accessibility from adults to the Medicaid managed care organization’s youngest members. The organization and its respective plans have orchestrated efforts across plans to create better vaccine access for all individuals, including partnering with local governments to use AmeriHealth Caritas locations as vaccination sites and hosting COVID-19 vaccination events within local communities.

“Facilitating COVID-19 vaccinations for vulnerable populations plays a large part in our commitment to build healthy communities across our nation,” said Karen Amstutz, MD, MBA, FAAP, executive vice president and chief medical officer at AmeriHealth Caritas. “Through AmeriHealth Caritas’ vaccine programs and events, we are providing more accessibility to vaccines that have the ability to limit adverse health outcomes caused by this virus.”

The FDA-authorized bivalent boosters include protection from Omicron subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5, and are available for children as young as six months old. 1

“COVID-19 vaccines continue to be safe and recommended for infants, children, adolescents, and adults” said Amstutz. “As children are now back in school and during holiday season when there are a lot of family gatherings, we encourage families and eligible infants and children to get the most up-to-date boosters to protect themselves and others.”

Bivalent boosters are approved for all children ages six months and up, regardless of which company manufactured their primary vaccine series. Current COVID-19 vaccine schedules for those under the age of 18 are as follows1:

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Vaccine

Age

# of Doses in Primary Vaccine Series

Booster

Pfizer-BioNTech

6 months – 4 years old

3
*1 bivalent vaccine as 3rd dose in primary series, if not completed yet.

No booster
* if already completed the 3 dose primary series.

5 years old

2

1 bivalent booster

6 – 11 years old

2

1 bivalent booster

12 -17 years old

2

1 bivalent booster

Moderna

6 months – 4 years old

2

1 bivalent booster

5 years old

2

1 bivalent booster

6 – 11 years old

2

1 bivalent booster

12 -17 years old

2

1 bivalent booster

Novavax

12 -17 years old

2

1 bivalent booster

AmeriHealth Caritas encourages everyone to ask their COVID-19 vaccine provider or pharmacist which kind of vaccine and how many doses they and their family members will need especially as recommendations continue to adjust. For infants and children who are moderately or severely immunocompromised or have unique conditions, it is best to speak with their provider for specific vaccination guidance.

The CDC website states that COVID-19 vaccines and boosters are safe to administer at the same time as flu or other vaccines, reducing the travel and appointment burden for families. Annual flu shots are available for children as young as six months and can be received anytime through the winter during the flu season.2

1 “Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines Currently Approved or Authorized in the United States,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/clinical-considerations/interim-considerations-us.html#children
2 “Frequently Asked Influenza (Flu) Questions: 2021-2022 Season,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/flu/season/faq-flu-season-2021-2022.htm#coadmin

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