Pediatric Vaccines: A Call to Action to Help Protect Illinois Children and Teens

Derek Robinson, M.D. ǀ JULY 1, 2022

As announced June 18, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends COVID-19 vaccination for children and teens – everyone 6 months and older can get the vaccine and everyone 5 years and older can get a booster, if eligible. Guidelines and resources, like a COVID-19 booster tool, are available on the CDC website.

According to the CDC, “Distribution of pediatric vaccinations for these younger children has started across the country, and will be available at thousands of pediatric practices, pharmacies, Federally Qualified Health Centers, local health departments, clinics, and other locations...” 

Unfortunately, as noted in a CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on June 30, 2022, even though COVID-19 vaccination has been recommended for the 5 to 11 age group since November 2021, the number of vaccinated children remains low.

The question is, will parents respond and move forward with getting their younger children vaccinated?

The Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (ICAAP) has issued an urgent call to action to boost awareness of pediatric COVID-19 vaccine information and resources.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL) is joining the effort to spread the word and encourage our members who haven’t received a COVID-19 vaccine yet to get one and to make sure they get their kids vaccinated too.

Some of our members may be aware of the vaccine of the CDC recommendation but are hesitant to proceed. Since our members look to you for guidance on matters concerning their health, we encourage you to actively promote pediatric COVID-19 vaccination. You can make a difference by helping patients understand the facts.

If you’d like to get involved, but aren’t sure where to begin, the Illinois Vaccinates Against COVID (I-VAC)  website is a great place to start. I-VAC is administered by ICAAP, the Extension for Community Health Outcomes (ECHO)-Chicago, and the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians (IAFP).

I-VAC provider training resources include:

  • Vaccine Bootcamp – Join a cohort of other Illinois providers and provider organizations in a series of four weekly, live web-based sessions.
  • Learning Collaboratives Participate in an online learning session. They’re offered on a bi-weekly drop-in basis and are designed around different types of patient populations served in the medical setting.
  • I-VAC Toolkit Use these self-guided education modules to learn at your own pace.
  • Implementation Support – Connect with an “on-call” provider advisor for recommendations on the community outreach and messaging needed in your region to support vaccine uptake.

ICAAP’s COVID-19 Immunization Campaign page includes links to the I-VAC site, spotlighting its goal “to ensure Illinoisans are being immunized at every opportunity and providers are prepared to immunize all eligible age-groups and special at-risk populations.”

ICAAP also offers patient outreach materials – see below for just a few examples of family friendly materials to consider sharing with your patients.

ICAAP offers these and other patient resources in English and Spanish.

The IDPH website also has resources to help you promote pediatric vaccination to your patients, including a social media toolkit. Another tool to help you get a conversation started – and field patient questions and concerns that may arise – is the COVID-19 Vaccination for Young People FAQs page on the IDPH site.

Thank you for helping the families in your care understand the importance of COVID-19 vaccination.


The above material is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician or other health care provider. Physicians and other health care providers are encouraged to use their own medical judgment based upon all available information and the condition of the patient in determining the appropriate course of treatment. References to third party sources or organizations are not a representation, warranty or endorsement of such organizations. Any questions regarding those organizations should be addressed to them directly. The fact that a service or treatment is described in this material is not a guarantee that the service or treatment is a covered benefit and members should refer to their certificate of coverage for more details, including benefits, limitations and exclusions. Regardless of benefits, the final decision about any service or treatment is between the member and their health care provider. Further, the information presented is not intended to replace or supersede any requirements set forth in your contract with BCBSIL. Any samples or suggestions in this publication are for illustrative and/or educational purposes only and should not be relied on in determining how a specific provider will be reimbursed.