August is National Immunization Awareness Month
Learn About the Importance of Vaccinations
This fall, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH) will be highlighting the importance of immunizations, recognizing vaccine-related disparities that exist among minority populations and individuals living in underserved communities, and providing tools and resources to help eliminate these disparities.
Although vaccination rates are low among all adults in the U.S., research shows that racial and ethnic minority groups are disproportionately affected when it comes to receiving recommended vaccines. Many factors can contribute to lower vaccination rates, including access to care and coverage, likelihood that providers recommend vaccinations, and concerns about vaccinations, including vaccine safety.
Additionally, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccination rates have declined, putting communities at an increased risk for other preventable diseases. During this time, it is important that health care providers emphasize the importance of staying up-to-date on routine vaccines and provide their patients with helpful information on how to get them.
Most health insurance plans cover recommended vaccines at no or low cost to patients and are available at most health care provider offices. Many recommended vaccines are also available at local pharmacies, health centers, health departments, and travel clinics.
Recognizing National Immunization Awareness Month is part of our strategy to foster innovation by providing tools and resources to empower patients. We’re calling on patients, providers, and communities to help us share resources that may help high-risk individuals learn about the benefits of vaccines and talk to their providers about necessary vaccinations. Here are several resources you can use to help start the conversation.
- Learn about Medicare coverage for vaccinations (Flu, Hepatitis B, and Pneumococcal).
- Check out From Coverage to Care (C2C) preventive services flyers to learn about covered immunizations for adults, teens, children, and infants.
- Download the Health Disparities in the Medicare Population Hepatitis (Chronic Viral B & C) data snapshot to learn how hepatitis disproportionately affects certain racial and ethnic groups.
- Looking for information on COVID-19? Visit this CMS OMH webpage for COVID-19 Federal resources focusing on vulnerable populations: go.cms.gov/omhcovid19 and C2C COVID-19: go.cms.gov/c2ccovid19.
- Share the latest C2C resources, including our prevention materials, available in English and Spanish, to help patients understand preventive services that may be available to them at no or low cost.
- Download resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that you can use to promote the importance of vaccination, especially among adults with chronic health conditions. Additional resources for Spanish-speaking patients can be found here.
- Health care professionals play a key role in educating parents and patients about the importance of vaccination. Using this CDC toolkit, health care professionals can find key messages, sample social media, graphics, and other educational resources to help discuss options for vaccination with their patients and to foster support for immunization in their practices.
To learn more about the CMS Office of Minority Health, visit go.cms.gov/omh or contact us at OMH@cms.hhs.gov.
- CDC Digital Media Toolkit: 2020-21 Flu Season
- Flu FAQs
Includes differences between flu & COVID-19
Catch up to Get Ahead: August push for pediatric vaccine catch up! (Important info for Grandparents raising Grandchildren)
This week kicks off the Catch Up To Get Ahead campaign, designed to remind parents that they should see their pediatric providers to ensure that their children are fully vaccinated as we head into the fall, whether they will be in school full-time, part-time or remotely. In the Spring, because of the limited access to health care providers, many children did not receive their routine vaccinations, but now is the time to catch up safely!
Please see ADM Giroir’s blog at the first link below, as well as a video from the Surgeon General. The second link below includes excellent social media and other campaign tools to push this out via whatever platforms your division uses. Where appropriate, please blanket your networks with this important message!