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Vaccine Awareness

Ensuring Access to a Safe and Effective COVID-19 Vaccine

Matt Eyles

President and CEO, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP)

As the fight against COVID-19 reaches a climax, health insurance providers are working with everyone to ensure the best vaccine distribution.

Every American deserves affordable, comprehensive coverage that provides them access to safe and convenient care, especially as the nation fights the COVID-19 crisis.

Health insurance providers have been heavily engaged in the fight, taking decisive actions from waiving cost-sharing payments for COVID-19 treatment to expanding telehealth services. As several COVID-19 vaccines move closer to approval, health insurance providers are already working to ensure that all Americans have easy access to authorized vaccines.

Ensuring the right distribution

Health insurance providers will cover the COVID-19 vaccine with no cost to patients. We are also working closely with federal, state, and local leaders to provide the necessary support to ensure that these vaccines get to the people who want and need them.

We have worked closely with Operation Warp Speed, a public-private partnership dedicated to developing and distributing a vaccine, to understand the pipeline for the vaccine.

Also, we have worked closely with the National Academies to review the framework for determining the vaccine’s equitable allocation and distribution. Finally, we are closely tracking the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices that will recommend who should receive the vaccine.

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According to current consensus, frontline health workers and long-term care facility residents will get the vaccine first. After this initial phase, the vaccine will go to the highest risk groups and to essential workers.

Committed to health

Health insurance providers have always played an important role in vaccinations. For childhood vaccines, we conduct outreach and education programs; assess and help overcome the barriers to vaccination; and, partner with hospitals, doctors, pharmacists, schools, and local communities. Health insurance providers also have expertise in delivering culturally and linguistically appropriate messaging to diverse populations. Our role will be similar when COVID-19 vaccines are ready.

Our work does not stop after a vaccination. Following the release of a COVID-19 vaccine, health insurance providers will support post-market safety surveillance, analyzing the vaccine’s safety and efficacy over time. The experience of our members will be aggregated for reporting to the FDA, the CDC, and other authorities, strengthening the nation’s future response even more.

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