Blog Posts, Reports & Infographics
July 21, 2020

AVAC Hosts Virtual Briefing Immunization Best Practices

The Adult Vaccine Access Coalition (AVAC) held the second virtual briefing in a series on “Immunizing in a COVID-19 Environment.” The briefing focused on best practices for immunizing, vaccinating safely during a pandemic, and what we should be doing now to prepare for the upcoming flu season. In addition to the recording of the briefing, below please find a number of related resources. AVAC Resources:

  • Immunization Infrastructure. AVAC led a letter signed by a diverse group of stakeholders providing recommendations to Congress on how to prepare for the allocation, distribution, and administration of a new COVID-19 pandemic vaccine by investing in immunization infrastructure. Read the letter here.
  • The Protecting Seniors Through Immunization Act eliminates out-of-pocket costs for vaccines covered under Medicare Part D and improves vaccine awareness and education for beneficiaries. You can learn more about this important piece of legislation here.
  • AVAC's First Virtual Briefing on Immunizing in a COVID-19 Environment. The Adult Vaccine Access Coalition (AVAC) held a virtual briefings entitled “Immunizing in a COVID-19 Environment: Using Technology to Promote Vaccinations and Reduce Disparities” in June. You can view the briefing, the PowerPoint presentation, and related resources here.
Speaker Resources: 
  • Biographies. View the biographies for our panelists here.
  • The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) developed a repository of resources intended for use by healthcare settings, state and local health departments, professional societies, immunization coalitions, advocacy groups, and communities in their efforts to maintain immunization rates during the COVID-19 pandemic. The repository includes links to international, national, and state-level policies and guidance and advocacy materials, including talking points, webinars, press releases, media articles, and social media posts, as well as telehealth resources. The materials listed below can be sorted and searched by date, title, geographic area, source, type, category, or setting.
  • Families Fighting Flu conducted a national survey on flu vaccination. The survey examines who gets the flu vaccine, where and when they receive the vaccine, and the implications of vaccine myths and skepticism. View the survey results here.

May 29, 2020

AVAC Hosts Virtual Briefing on Immunizing in a COVID-19 Environment

The Adult Vaccine Access Coalition (AVAC) held a virtual briefing entitled “Immunizing in a COVID-19 Environment: Using Technology to Promote Vaccinations and Reduce Disparities.” In addition to the recording of the briefing and the PowerPoint presentation, below please find a number related resources. AVAC Resources:

  • Blog Post. AVAC Manager Abby Bownas published a blog to explain the importance of developing a COVID-19 vaccine and the need to create and implement new and innovative ways to deliver current and future vaccines to the public.
  • Immunization Infrastructure. AVAC led a letter signed by a diverse group of stakeholders providing recommendations to Congress on how to prepare for the allocation, distribution, and administration of a new COVID-19 pandemic vaccine by investing in immunization infrastructure. Read the letter here.
  • The Protecting Seniors Through Immunization Act eliminates out-of-pocket costs for vaccines covered under Medicare Part D and improves vaccine awareness and education for beneficiaries. You can learn more about this important piece of legislation here.
Speaker Resources: 
  • Biographies. View the biographies for our panelists here.
  • BIO Infographic. The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) released a useful infographic describing the development, manufacturing, and distribution process of vaccines  during a pandemic. View the infographic here.
  • BIO Pipeline Tracker. BIO’s Industry Analysis Team has reviewed and annotated pipeline data from BioCentury and Biomedtracker to create a granular, interactive view of the Covid-19 pipeline. View the tracker here.
  • Drive-Thru Flu Shots: A Model for Mass Immunization. Panelist Ruth Carrico Ph.D., RN, CIC published this report on Drive-Thru Flu Shots: A Model for Mass Immunization, detailing the establishment of their drive-thru flu shot program. Another study, entitled Simulation and Optimization Modeling for Drive-Through Mass Vaccination – A Generalized Approach, illustrates how drive-through clinics can be customized for a community of any size to administer vaccines particularly during a pandemic outbreak.
  • AIRA Preparing for a COVID-19 Vaccine One-Sheet. A national strategy for a novel COVID-19 vaccine rollout is currently being developed. In the interim, there are things that all immunization programs and immunization information systems (IIS) can do to better prepare for pandemic vaccination. This one-sheet resource includes some ideas for steps to take today.
  • AIRA IIS Policies to Support Pandemic and Routine Vaccination One-Sheet. As immunization programs and immunization information systems (IIS) prepare to support pandemic response vaccination efforts, there is a need for decision-makers to ensure IIS policies do not inhibit data exchange and reporting. This one-sheet resource highlights areas to focus on strengthening policy related to data exchange, vaccine reporting and consent to achieve more uniform, consistent policies.
  • A Map of Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Influenza Vaccine Uptake in the Medicare Fee-for-Service Program. This study seeks to understand why, despite improved understanding of the risks of influenza and better vaccines for older patients, influenza vaccination rates remain subpar, including in high-risk groups such as older adults, and demonstrate significant racial and ethnic disparities.
  • USA Today Article. USA Today published an article discussing the critical role immunization registries will play in the successful distribution of a future coronavirus vaccine. The article featured a statement from briefing speaker Rebecca Coyle, the executive director of the American Immunization Registry Association.
Additional Resources:
  • The Immunization Action Coalition (IAC) developed a repository of resources intended for use by healthcare settings, state and local health departments, professional societies, immunization coalitions, advocacy groups, and communities in their efforts to maintain immunization rates during the COVID-19 pandemic. The repository includes links to international, national, and state-level policies and guidance and advocacy materials, including talking points, webinars, press releases, media articles, and social media posts, as well as telehealth resources. The materials listed below can be sorted and searched by date, title, geographic area, source, type, category, or setting.
   

March 31, 2020

Protecting seniors through immunizations

Protecting Seniors Through Immunizations By Reps. Donna E. Shalala (D-FL), Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), and Larry Bucshon M.D. (R-IN) The Hill OPINION CONTRIBUTORS — 03/30/20 01:00 PM EDT As our health care and public health emergency preparedness systems rush to contain, treat and prevent coronavirus, we need to consider how longstanding structural flaws in our vaccine policies have hindered our nation’s disease prevention efforts and put older adults and persons with serious chronic conditions needlessly at risk. Picture this scene. A woman, age 50, decides to take her father, age 80, to the pharmacy so they can get their vaccines together. The woman has insurance through her work, while her father is on Medicare. Before they get their shots to keep them safe, the pharmacy tech rings them up and tells the woman that her vaccine is completely covered with no co-pay. The tech then tells her father that he has a co-pay of $80, because under Medicare, beneficiaries can still incur some out-of-pocket costs for recommended vaccines. Does this make any sense? No. But we have a plan to fix it. Before vaccines, nearly everyone got measles. Diseases like whooping cough, polio, and rubella were commonplace among children and adults. Today, though, vaccines are one of the main reasons we live longer and healthier lives. However, not everyone can afford to take advantage of this monumental public health achievement. Each year more than 50,000 adults in the United States die from vaccine-preventable diseases, and millions more become ill. Ten thousand Americans turn 65 every day, which means the number of Medicare beneficiaries who need easy access to vaccines is constantly increasing. Vaccines are particularly important for older adults because our immune systems weaken with time. Adults age 50 and over are particularly susceptible to many vaccine-preventable diseases and account for a disproportionate number of the deaths and illnesses they cause. This is why older adults are most at risk of developing severe illness from coronavirus. Improving adult access to vaccines can save thousands of lives and billions of dollars. The health care costs associated with low adult vaccine rates are high—each year, the U.S. spends $15 billion treating Medicare beneficiaries alone for four vaccine-preventable diseases (Flu, Pneumococcal, Shingles, Pertussis). Cost-sharing and co-pays for vaccinations recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices were removed for all Affordable Care Act compliant private plans in 2010; however, Medicare beneficiaries were left out of this change and can still face high out-of-pocket costs for vaccinations. We don’t believe older adults should pay more than other Americans for vaccines that help prevent the spread of contagious diseases and keep us all safe. This is why we introduced the Protecting Seniors Through Immunization Act: to eliminate out-of-pocket costs for vaccines to everyone under Medicare. Currently, Medicare vaccine coverage is split between Medicare Part B (which covers physician services, outpatient services, certain home health services, and durable medical equipment) and Medicare Part D (which covers drugs). Seniors can access vaccines covered under Part B—such as flu, pneumonia and Hepatitis—with no out-of-pocket costs. However, under Part D, vaccines such as shingles (herpes zoster) and pertussis (Tdap) often include a cost to beneficiaries. For seniors, many of whom live on fixed incomes, these additional costs may delay or even prevent them from getting vaccinated. A 2018 study of Tdap and herpes zoster vaccine claims under Medicare Part D demonstrated that when the costs of vaccines are high, seniors can’t or won’t get them. The study found that costs of $51 or more to the beneficiary are associated with a greater rate of cancelled vaccination claims compared to beneficiaries with no out-of-pocket costs. In addition to removing cost-sharing for vaccines under Medicare Part D, the Protecting Seniors Through Immunization Act updates the vaccine information used to guide seniors in the national Medicare handbook. The bill also authorizes a study to understand how we can reduce racial and socio-economic differences in vaccination rates, as well as understand the administrative burden faced by providers. Scientists are working overtime to bring new vaccines to market for emerging threats like coronavirus and a host of other preventable diseases—but their efforts will be less effective if the gaps in our current vaccine policies remain. Congress needs to make sure these innovations are accessible to and affordable for all Americans—regardless of whether they are insured by the private marketplace or Medicare Part D. As scientists like to say: vaccines cause adults. We say: let’s make sure they cause seniors, too. Shalala represents Florida’s 27th District and is former HHS secretary, Roe represents Tennessee’s 1st District and is a member of the House GOP Doctors Caucus, Kuster represents New Hampshire’s 2nd District, and Bucshon represents Indiana’s 8th District and is a member of the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee. He is also a member of the House GOP Doctors Caucus.

October 18, 2019

APIC’s Vaccine Position Statement

The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) released their vaccine position statement. Read their statement here. You can learn more about APIC's vaccine work here.

August 7, 2019

Immunizations for Older People: Round-Up

It’s National Immunization Awareness Month, and stories about vaccines for older adults keep evolving. Read more to learn about why immunizations matter for older people and catch up on these stories. https://strianews.com/shingles-shortage-and-whooping-cough-immunization-news-for-older-people/

July 31, 2019

Study: Cost Benefit of High-Dose vs Standard-Dose Influenza Vaccine in a Long-Term Care Population During an A/H1N1-Predominant Influenza Season

Check out this study authored by several researchers, including Dr. Stefan Gravenstein who recently presented at an AVAC briefing on Capitol Hill. The study is entitled Cost Benefit of High-Dose vs Standard-Dose Influenza Vaccine in a Long-Term Care Population During an A/H1N1-Predominant Influenza Season. The study found that the use of HD influenza vaccine in long-stay NH residents reduced total health care expenditures for a net benefit despite HD being more expensive per dose. These cost offsets applied to Medicare beneficiaries residing in NHs could result in important savings to the Medicare program.

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