New regulations expand COVID vaccine access for kids covered by Dr. Dynasaur

Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 6:22 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Vermonters on Dr. Dynasaur can now access COVID vaccines at pharmacies.

Two weeks ago I told you Dr. Dynasaur-- the state’s Medicaid program for kids under 19-- wouldn’t cover COVID vaccines at pharmacies. Now, new federal regulations make that coverage possible.

All fall, Elaine Cissi struggled to get her daughter Greer vaccinated against COVID. Her pediatrician was out of vaccines and pharmacies wouldn’t accept Greer’s Dr. Dynosaur coverage, asking Cissi to pay $192 out of pocket.

A week and a half ago, Medicaid announced it would cover COVID vaccines at pharmacies for children ages 3-18.

Last Friday, Greer got her booster at Costco, just in time for Thanksgiving.

“She’s covered and so we can see her pop-pop who is in his nineties, and no problems,” Cissi said.

Under new federal requirements, pharmacies now cover COVID vaccines for 67,000 kids on Dr. Dynasaur. Plus, pharmacies will reprocess claims of patients who paid out of pocket for a COVID vaccine on or after Sept. 11 of this year.

The update is temporary and the state isn’t sure how long it will last. Alex McCracken with the Department of Vermont Health Access hopes people take advantage of the change while it stands.

“The important thing is Medicaid will provide payment for pharmacies to vaccinate children for COVID-19 who are under Medicaid. We’re really excited about that change and we want to continue to protect that access as much as we can,” McCracken said.

McCracken says the state updated its resources and faxed pharmacies regarding the change.

But Cissi had to reach out to the state herself for the update. And several local pharmacists, including Kyle Maxwell at Lakeside Pharmacy, say they didn’t get the memo.

“It’d be great to you know just get an email that would kind of update us here at the pharmacy level. That way we know we’re making sure we’re doing the right thing for the right people,” Maxwell said.

The Department of Vermont Health Access says it will alert patients to the change and send a second fax blast to pharmacies as soon as possible. In the meantime, they ask anyone with questions to contact them.

Related Story:

Health Watch: Kids on Dr. Dynasaur face COVID vaccine roadblock