Rural Health Information Hub Latest News

COVID-19 Vaccination Record Cards: What to Do When They’re Full

Providers and jurisdictions are raising questions about the procedure for issuing new Vaccination Record Cards if someone’s card is full. The ancillary kits that accompany every COVID-19 vaccine order include vaccination record cards for every dose and if a vaccination card is full, CDC recommends that providers complete a second card for the patient, staple the two together and encourage the patient to photograph both cards in case the two become separated. Patients should present both cards when vaccination history is required for travel, employment, or any other purpose requiring official, universally recognized documentation. They should also bring both cards to future vaccination appointments for verification of vaccination history. Some providers have the option to provide the immunization record from the jurisdiction’s immunization information system (IIS). The record would list the patient’s received doses. However, for travel, employment, or any other purpose that requires official, universally recognized documentation, the IIS record may not be acceptable. Questions may be directed to

Long COVID-19 Reports Have Been Released

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released two new reports on Long COVID-19 as part of President Biden’s actions to address the long-term effects of COVID-19. The Services Report outlines available services and resources to assist people with Long COVID-19. The second report, the National Research Action Plan, outlines a national research plan to advance the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of Long COVID-19.

House Members Ask HHS to Clarify Enforcement Plans for 96-Hour Rule

A bipartisan group of 25 House members asked Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra to clarify by September 9 whether and how the Administration plans to enforce Medicare’s 96-hour payment rule and condition of participation for critical access hospitals after the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The rule requires CAHs to certify inpatients will be discharged or transferred to another hospital within 96 hours of admission to receive payment. A related Medicare condition of participation requires CAH inpatient stays to remain below 96 hours on an annual average basis. HHS has not prioritized enforcement of the rule since 2018 due to its financial burden on hospitals and waived the condition of participation in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

“Even after the PHE formally ends, COVID and other respiratory diseases are likely to cause some patients to need hospitalizations lasting longer than 96 hours,” the representatives wrote. “These and other patients who can safely and effectively be treated in their local hospital deserve the option of receiving care closer to their homes, families, and usual doctors.”

Pennsylvania Medicaid Program: Vaccines for Kids Older Than Six Months Now Available

COVID-19 vaccines are now available for children 6 months through 5 years of age. As a result of the recommendation from the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) as well as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), nearly 20 million additional children are now eligible nationally for vaccination. 

The pediatric COVID-19 vaccine is safe, and it is highly effective at protecting children against COVID-19-related illness, hospitalization, and death. Vaccinating children against COVID-19 is the best way to help keep families and communities healthy and schools safer this fall.

All children, including children who have already had COVID-19, should get vaccinated.

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. Children in this younger age group can be vaccinated with whichever vaccine is available (either Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech). Parents can reach out to their doctor, nurse, local pharmacy, or local health department, or visit to see where vaccines for children are available.

Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines for children:

Finding a Vaccine is Easy!

Many vaccine providers now take walk-ins and offer same-day appointments. You can find a vaccine provider near you:

  • Online – go to Vaccine Finder and search by zip code.
  • Text – send your zip code to GETVAX (438829) for English, or VACUNA (822862) for Spanish and receive three possible vaccination sites in your area, with phone numbers to call for an appointment.

Phone – if you need help or do not have internet access, call the PA Department of Health Hotline at 1-877-724-3258.

About the Pediatric Vaccine

Vaccine Dosage

The dosage for the pediatric COVID-19 is based on the child’s age on the day of vaccination, not the child’s size or weight. Children get a smaller dose of COVID-19 vaccine than teens and adults that is the right amount for their age group. COVID-19 primary series vaccination for children and teens. As of June 18, 2022:

​Child’s Age




​6 months–4 years old ​3 dose primary series ​2 dose primary series ​Not authorized
​5 years old ​2 dose primary series ​2 dose primary series ​Not authorized
​6–17 years old ​2 dose primary series ​2 dose primary series ​Not authorized

More than 596 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been given in the United States since December 2020.

  • View the CDC COVID Data Tracker — See current total COVID-19 vaccinations administered in the United States.
  • Enroll in V-Safe — V-safe provides personalized and confidential health check-ins via text messages and web surveys so you can quickly and easily share with CDC how you, or your dependent, feel after getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. COVID-19 vaccines were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials. The vaccines met the FDA’s rigorous scientific standards for safety, effectiveness, and manufacturing quality needed to support authorization.

The Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson/Janssen COVID-19 vaccines will continue to undergo the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history. This monitoring includes using both established and new safety monitoring systems to make sure that COVID-19 vaccines are safe.

Spread Vaccine Awareness!

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has created a number of resources to help you share accurate vaccine information with children and families regarding the COVID-19 vaccines.

Additional COVID-19 Vaccine Resources

CMS Launches COVID-19 Toolkit for Pediatricians and Family Physicians

This toolkit has resources for pediatricians and family physicians who want to help increase confidence in and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines among their patients and in the communities they serve. Developed in partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics, it includes information from CDC and new, culturally tailored materials from the HHS COVID-19 Public Education Campaign and its team of multicultural experts.

See for resources.

SCOTUS Won’t Hear Challenge to Health Worker Vaccine Mandate

From HealthCareDive

Dive Brief:

  • The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to hear a challenge brought by healthcare workers to New York’s statewide vaccine mandate that doesn’t include a religious exemption, according to court documents.
  • Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch and Samuel Alito dissented, with Thomas writing in an opinion from the dissenting justices that healthcare workers in the state objected to the mandate on religious grounds “because they were developed using cell lines derived from aborted children.”
  • Religious organizations have refuted that claim, reiterating that fetal cells were used in the testing and development of such vaccines though the shots themselves don’t actually contain those cells. The Vatican said in a 2020 statement that “it is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses in their research and production process.”

Dive Insight:

New York’s Department of Health issued its vaccine mandate in August 2021, requiring healthcare staff at hospitals, long-term care facilities, and other medical settings be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

While the mandate allows medical exemptions for those who said the shot would be detrimental to their health, it did not include a similar religious exemption, prompting 16 healthcare workers to file an emergency application for the high court to block the order in December.

The justices declined to do so then, and again on Thursday said the court will not hear the case.

In December, Gorsuch, Thomas and Alito dissented to that decision as well, with Gorsuch arguing in a 14-page dissent that it violates the First Amendment.

The AMA and the Medical Society of the State of New York released a joint-statement in September voicing support for the state’s vaccine mandate, writing that “the path to ending the pandemic must be based on science, and vaccination is an indispensable part of the solution.”

In Thursday’s decision, Thomas wrote for the dissenting justices that the healthcare workers were “ordered to choose between their jobs and their faith,” and since the court declined to block the mandate in December, every petitioner except one “has been fired, forced to resign, lost admitting privileges, or been coerced into a vaccination,” he wrote.

He also wrote that three federal appeals courts and one state supreme court agreed the mandate is not neutral or generally applicable, while the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and three other federal appeals courts have disagreed.

“This split is widespread, entrenched, and worth addressing,” Thomas wrote.

The court also previously refused to grant relief to healthcare workers in Maine for a similar state requirement and others at Mass General Brigham in Boston challenging that health systems’ mandate based on religious exemptions.

Updated Messaging from CDC: Mask Guidance and Travel

On May 3, the CDC released a statement reinforcing the recommendation that everyone age 2 and older should wear a well-fitting mask or high filtration mask when indoors on public transportation and at transportation hubs–especially older adults and people with underlying health conditions. The CDC recommendations on mask-wearing on public transportation are based on the latest scientific data on COVID-19 and current and projected trends in the CDC’s COVID-19 Community Level Framework.

In light of the CDC’s released statement, visit our updated Answers to Tough Questions for more messaging about mask-wearing on public transportation. For additional resources to help you answer questions in your community, you can also use our Talking Points and Answers to Tough Questions on overall mask guidance and CDC Community Level, and our “What Mask Should I Wear?” graphic to promote use of the most effective kinds of masks.

Results of Nationwide Rural COVID Survey Published

With support from CDC and in collaboration with FORHP, NRHA recently partnered with Morning Consult on a nationwide poll of rural residents regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, trusted sources of information, and barriers to vaccine uptake.

With an initial goal of approximately 1,000 responses from adults, parents of children under 18, and teens 15 to 18, the final number of responses exceeded 2,500.

NRHA is most excited about the teenage subpopulation surveyed, as it marks the first time data has been gathered on attitudes for this age group.

Survey results are made possible by the CDC and FORHP. A full breakdown of responses, a three-page summary of the data, and the most interesting findings are included with this notice.