To our California pediatric colleagues,

As we reflect on almost two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, and an especially difficult last month, we would like to thank all of you for your hard work, dedication, and commitment to child health. These have been some of the most challenging times in our careers and we applaud each of you for going above-and-beyond to keep your patients and communities healthy.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has stated that “the COVID-19 vaccine is our best hope for ending the current pandemic. Children and adolescents who are vaccinated against COVID-19 have reduced rates of symptomatic illness and dramatically decreased risks of severe disease, hospitalization, and death.” Unfortunately, in California fewer than 30% of eligible children ages 5 to 11 have received their COVID vaccines, and this is even lower in California’s poorest neighborhoods, where the rate less than 15%. This leaves most of our children vulnerable to severe disease, prolongs the pandemic and continues the disruptions that have had such a negative impact on the lives, health and education of our children.

Studies repeatedly show that a strong recommendation from their pediatrician is the single most important factor in a parent’s decision to vaccinate their children. A recent survey suggested that only 1 in 6 parents said that their doctor recommended the COVID-19 vaccine to them. Further, over 40% of California pediatric clinics are NOT providing COVID-19 vaccines to their patients. The pediatric medical home is the best place for children to receive their immunizations, and this lack of access and recommendation are contributing to our low immunization rates.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH), in partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics, California, can help more pediatricians offer the COVID-19 vaccine in their office to protect children.

CDPH has the following links to step-by-step instructions for practices seeking to begin vaccinations:

CDPH has held several webinars in the past and will continue to provide real-time education for providers and their staff. Enrolling is straightforward, and the vaccine does not require any special freezers or equipment. Medi-Cal and private insurances reimburse providers for administration of COVID-19 vaccines. 

For additional enrollment support, please contact the provider call center at (833) 502-1245 or email

Rates of COVID-19 from the Omicron variant in California are finally beginning to drop and many of us are starting to feel some relief from the crush of the past month. Now is the time for all pediatricians to ramp up our efforts to increase the vaccination rates in our children. Our patients rely on us to provide them with accurate, scientific health information, and they depend on us to offer a safe and familiar place for their children to receive vaccines. Please join the pediatricians who are already administering the COVID-19 vaccine in their clinics; it is the current standard of care. We hope that we can increase the number of providers giving these vaccines so that we can finally move on from this pandemic. Once again, our children are relying on us, and we must take the lead to make sure they are protected.


Yasuko Fukuda, MD, FAAP
Chair, AAP-CA

Eric Ball, MD, FAAP
Vice Chair, AAP-CA

Robert Schechter, MD, FAAP
Chief, CDPH Immunization Branch