The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health is honoring National Immunization Awareness Month.
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 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 and C2C COVID-19.
- 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. Download CDC resources for Spanish-speaking patients.
- 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 posts and graphics, and other educational resources to help discuss options for vaccination with their patients and to foster support for immunization in their practices.