We hope you are staying safe and weathering these very difficult weeks.
Today we are releasing a new NEHI white paper, “Unlocking the Unrealized Potential of Adult Immunization,” a paper that has more relevance now than we could have imagined just a few weeks ago.
Vaccines for COVID-19 may not be available for months, if ever, but the coronavirus pandemic brings home the importance of raising the rates at which American adults are immunized with the yearly influenza vaccine, as well as with other high-priority vaccines recommended by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). The importance of maintaining the health of our general population, and especially of adults with health risks, cannot be overstated. COVID-19 makes this truth unavoidable.
Encouraging progress has been made in the last decade. Insurance coverage of adult immunizations is better for many patients. Community pharmacists play an ever-growing role as immunizers providing greater access. Adult immunization rates have ticked up over the last decade. But progress remains incremental and, as our findings make clear, immunization policy remains a patchwork. Among other things, out-of-pocket cost obligations for patients varies from one type of insurance coverage to another. Immunization authority for pharmacists and other community-based immunizers is inconsistent from state to state. Payment incentives for raising adult immunization rates are misaligned among payers, hospital systems and physician offices, and community-based immunizers such as pharmacists.
NEHI’s analysis is an outgrowth of discussions it generated among leading patient advocates, clinicians, health insurance leaders, biopharma experts, and others. For more information, please contact Tom Hubbard, NEHI Vice President of Policy Research, at firstname.lastname@example.org.