Insurers launch packages to vaccinate 2 million American seniors

Residents await to receive a Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine at The Palace, an independent residential community for senior citizens, on January 12, 2021 in Coral Gables in Miami, Florida, USA.

Eva Marie Uzcategui Trinkl | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

More than a dozen health insurers are starting a pilot program to vaccinate 2 million American seniors as quickly as possible, President Joe Biden’s senior advisor for the Covid-19 pandemic announced on Wednesday.

The pilot program – Vaccine Community Connecters – is designed to educate seniors about the vaccines, schedule admissions, and arrange transportation, advisor Andy Slavitt told reporters.

Insurers will also talk about “efficacy, safety and the value of vaccinating vaccines,” said Slavitt, who served in the Obama administration. He added that insurers could deploy mobile vans in the communities most in need. The White House is working with America’s Health Insurance Plans and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association on the initiative.

“Vaccines save lives, and health insurers have worked hard to break the barriers between Americans and COVID-19 vaccines,” said Matt Eyles, CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trading group that represents Aetna, Cigna and CVS Health.

“We will continue to work on this commitment with all levels of government and every organization that shares our goal until we jointly defeat the COVID-19 crisis.”

The announcement comes as the Biden government works to increase supplies of Covid-19 vaccines and reach the majority of Americans as soon as possible. Around 51.8 million out of around 331 million Americans have received at least their first dose of a Covid vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And 26.2 million of those people have already had their second shot, which is roughly 10% of the total US adult population, according to the CDC.

The risk of developing serious illness with Covid increases with age, with older adults at the highest risk, according to the CDC.

Insurers will work with federal, state and local officials to deliver vaccines to underserved communities and will work closely with other vaccination partners, including pharmacies.

The trade group said some communities are best served by mobile clinics, voice assistance, or a combination of interventions. Others will benefit from health insurers that work directly with ridesharing to provide transportation, the group said.

This isn’t the first senior-tailored vaccination program the federal government has touted. In October, the Department of Health and Human Services announced a contract with CVS Health and Walgreens to deliver coronavirus vaccines to the elderly and workers in long-term care facilities.

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