Leveraging Partnerships To Promote Flu Vaccinations Among Dually Eligible Beneficiaries During COVID-19: Webinar Key Takeaways

Date: January 24, 2022
Time to read: 3 minutes.

On November 2, 2021, Resources for Integrated Care (RIC) hosted a webinar entitled Leveraging Partnerships To Promote Flu Vaccinations Among Dually Eligible Beneficiaries During COVID-19. Experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) joined health plan representatives to share their valuable insights on how health plans and community partners can play a key role in educating members on the importance of vaccinations, including flu and COVID-19 vaccinations, as well as in facilitating access to them. Key takeaways include:

  • CDC’s efforts to improve vaccine equity: Speakers shared information about CDC’s efforts to reduce disparities in vaccination rates and access among racial and ethnic minority groups, particularly their Partnering for Vaccine Equity program. This program partners with national, state, local, and community organizations working on the ground to increase vaccine confidence and access in their communities.

Successes from CDC’s programs include the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program, which funds 38 partners in 23 states. REACH worked with its partners to develop communication materials and train influential community messengers to rebuild confidence in influenza and COVID-19 vaccinations. Their partners have collaborated with other local and state health agencies and have held more than 575 mobile clinics to increase vaccination opportunities for thousands of members from minority communities who may not otherwise have access to vaccinations.

  • Building trust and vaccine confidence: CDC speakers discussed vaccine confidence and how to build trust in the healthcare system. They provided tips for providers and other trusted messengers to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine with individuals through an empathetic listening approach and tips to address vaccine misinformation. Tips included:1
    • Listen to questions and/or concerns with empathy
    • Ask open-ended questions to explore individuals’ concerns
    • Help individuals find their own reason to get vaccinated and help make their vaccination happen (e.g., refer them to local vaccination sites)
    • To build trust, it is important to let communities know that it is okay and valid to have questions, especially for those that have been hurt by societal systems. Encourage two-way dialogue and allow space for people to ask questions and be heard.
  • Using behavioral economics to encourage vaccinations: Representatives from Aetna Better Health Premier Plan shared information about their member outreach strategy to promote vaccinations, including behavioral economics and motivational interviewing techniques and encouraging members to receive the flu and COVID-19 vaccinations at the same time.
  • Community partnerships to promote vaccinations: UCare provided information about how they partnered with community organizations to encourage uptake of flu and COVID-19 vaccinations among members, including a mobile vaccine clinic that targeted ethnic minority groups in Minnesota. 

For more information, click here to visit the event page, which includes a recording of the webinar, the slides, transcript, and an accompanying resource guide.

Special thanks to the webinar speakers:

  • Richard Quartarone, Liaison to COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, Immunization Services Division, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Samra Ashenafi, Public Health Advisor, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Bob Frantz, Senior Director, Medicaid/MMP Member Engagement & Analytics, Aetna Better Health Premier Plan
  • Jamie Galbreath, Quality Improvement Associate Director, UCare
  • Monica Gossett, Community Outreach Manager, UCare

[1] Visit the CDC webpage for more resources on communicating about vaccines.