On June 7, the Children’s Bureau released a letter from Associate Commissioner Aysha E. Schomburg, Esq. urging equitable access to COVID-19 vaccinations for all involved with the child welfare system.
Schomburg writes, “I am writing to thank you for your ongoing efforts to serve children and families during these very difficult times and to urge all child welfare administrators to work together with your state and local public health departments to ensure equitable access to vaccinations for all involved with the child welfare system. In particular, youth ages 12 and older in foster care, young adults in extended foster care, alumni of foster care, foster parents, kinship care providers, agency caseworkers, families receiving prevention services, child protective services investigators, and other key staff are all populations that child welfare agencies should assist in securing access to critical vaccines. The health of each of these special populations is critical to the safety of children and youth in care and those who support them and critical to a well-functioning child welfare system.”
CASA volunteers interface with many of these groups, including youth, young adults, foster parents and kindship care providers. Advocates can help make sure youth they serve and their families and caregivers understand the COVID-19 vaccination options available to them so that they can make the most informed decisions for their health.
- CDC recommends everyone 12 years and older should get a COVID-19 vaccination to help protect against COVID-19. Children 12 years and older are able to get the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. Adults 18+ can receive any vaccine.
- The federal government is providing the vaccine free of charge to all people living in the United States, regardless of their immigration or health insurance status.
- The vaccine is currently authorized by the FDA for emergency use, which means getting it is voluntary and the youth should agree (if able) in addition to their medical consenter.
Guidance from DFPS
- COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs for Youth
- CPS Conservatorship Staff Memo on Vaccines for Youth Ages 12-15 Years
How to Get a Vaccination Appointment
Caregivers should check with a youth’s medical provider to see if getting the vaccine through their provider is an option. At this time, H-E-B Grocery stores are providing vaccines on a walk-in basis Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to closing. CVS pharmacies are also accepting walk-ins and scheduled appointments. More tools for locating vaccine providers are available at www.covidvaccine.texas.gov or www.vacunacovid.texas.gov.
STAR Health may also assist in finding a location. STAR Health Member Services can be reached at 1-866-912-6283.
Thank you for all that you are doing to help ensure the safety and health of the children and families you serve!