Mon, 15 March 21

Health Plans Helping to Bridge the Vaccine Gap

July 9, 2021

By: Jamie Dudensing

Throughout the COVID-19 Crisis, health plans have done their part to help Americans get and stay healthy. Now, they are helping to increase vaccinations, especially for the most vulnerable populations who may have the toughest time getting to vaccine sites.

Last week AHIP, the national association for health plans, announced that health insurance providers helped vaccinate more than 2 million seniors against COVID-19 in under 100 days as a result of the Vaccine Community Connectors (VCC) program.

The VCC program was initiated to encourage the vaccination of people over the age of 65 in socially vulnerable communities. In Texas, health plans joined efforts from Gov. Abbott and the Health and Human Services Commission in a program called Save our Seniors. Participating Medicare health plans include UnitedHealthcare, Humana, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas.

This good news comes at a time when we are learning more about what is keeping some Texans from being vaccinated.

A new poll from the Dallas Morning News and UT-Tyler suggests that while some Texans do not want a vaccination, at least one-in-five are open to the possibility. This is an opportunity for everyone in the health care community to educate and address the reasons cited for not yet getting the vaccine such as: concerns with side effects (34%) waiting to see (16%), not enough information (11%), too busy (6%).

The need to address these concerns and encourage higher rates of vaccination becomes more urgent as the more contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 is spreading in Texas. Vaccination remains the strongest defense against COVID. Recent data from the Department of State Health Services shows that 99% of Texans hospitalized for COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

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