Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, flu vaccination is critical this year. Health plans, providers, and community partners play an important role in promoting equitable access to vaccination. On November 2nd, Resources for Integrated Care (RIC) invites you to attend a webinar featuring speakers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and health plan representatives. We also encourage you to view the recording of last year’s October 2020 event discussing promising practices for promoting flu vaccinations during COVID-19.
Older adults and adults with chronic conditions, including many people dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, face increased risk of adverse outcomes related to the flu, including hospitalization and death., Dually eligible individuals are also at greater risk for severe outcomes due to COVID-19. With a greater risk of infection from COVID-19 or flu this season, flu vaccinations for dually eligible individuals are particularly important. Evidence shows that flu vaccinations decrease flu severity and flu-related hospitalizations.  Additionally, flu vaccination uptake may reduce health care system burden during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the 2020-2021 flu season, a record number of adults received the flu vaccine. Researchers believe that the increased number of flu vaccinations along with COVID-19 mitigation measures such as social distancing and masking could explain the noticeably low numbers of influenza in the 2020-2021 season. However, dually eligible individuals, particularly those from racial and ethnic minority groups, are less likely to receive the flu vaccine.
Health plans and community partners can play a key role in educating members on the importance of annual flu vaccinations, as well as in facilitating access to them. The CDC is working with national, state, and local partners to reduce the disparities in vaccination access and uptake experienced by racial and ethnic minority groups. In this event, representatives from the CDC discuss their efforts to promote equitable access to flu and COVID-19 vaccines and share promising practices for health plans and providers to engage key partners to promote vaccinations among dually eligible beneficiaries. The event also features health plan representatives who share their partnerships with community organizations to promote flu vaccinations. By the end of this webinar, attendees should be able to:
- Understand how CDC is working with partners and supporting states to reach and engage hard to reach and disproportionately affected communities
- Identify effective strategies for messaging and promoting flu vaccinations in the context of COVID-19
- Describe ways to build vaccine confidence among beneficiaries
- 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
This webinar is intended for a wide range of stakeholders, including health plan administrators, clinical leadership, care coordinators, and case managers at health plans (including Medicare-Medicaid Plans (MMPs), Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans (D-SNPs), and managed LTSS plans), as well as providers and other health care and community-based organizations who are interested in strategies related to the communication and delivery of flu vaccinations during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
 CDC, 2021. Flu & People 65 Years and Older. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/flu/highrisk/65over.htm#:~:text=Flu%20vaccination%20is%20especially%20important,flu%20and%20from%20COVID%2D19.&text=It%20has%20been%20recognized%20for,compared%20with%20young%2C%20healthy%20adults.
 National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. Flu and Adults with Chronic Health Conditions. Retrieved from https://www.nfid.org/infectious-diseases/flu-and-adults-with-chronic-health-conditions/#:~:text=Influenza%20(flu)%20is%20a%20contagious,chronic%20conditions%20are%20well%2Dcontrolled.
 CDC, 2020. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – People with Certain Medical Conditions. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html.
 Infectious Disease Society of America, 2019. Studies Show Flu Vaccine Reduces Rise of Hospitalization in Children and Death in Adults: National Flu Surveillance Research. Retrieved from https://www.idsociety.org/news–publications-new/articles/2019/studies-show-flu-vaccine-reduces-risk-of-hospitalization-in-children-and-death-in-adults.
 Jaklevic, M., 2020. Flu Vaccination Urged During COVID-19 Pandemic. Retrieved from https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2769836.
 Better Medicare Alliance. (2020). Medicare Beneficiaries Who Are Most Unlikely to Get a Flu Shot. Retrieved from https://atiadvisory.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Medicare-Beneficiaries-Who-Are-Most-Unlikely-to-Get-a-Flu-Shot.pdf.