Resident wait to receive a Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine at The Palace, an independent living community for seniors, at Coral Gables in Miami, Florida, United States on January 12, 2021.
Eva Marie Uzcategui Trinkl | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
More than a dozen health insurers are launching a pilot program aimed at getting 2 million American seniors vaccinated as quickly as possible, President Joe Biden‘s senior advisor on the Covid-19 pandemic announced Wednesday.
The pilot program – called Vaccine Community Connecters – is designed to educate seniors on the vaccines, help schedule appointments for shots and arrange transportation, advisor Andy Slavitt told reporters during a White House news briefing.
Insurers will also talk about “vaccine efficacy, safety and the value of vaccination,” said Slavitt, who also worked in the Obama administration, adding insurers may deploy mobile vans into 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 insurance providers have been working hard to break down barriers that stand between Americans and COVID-19 vaccines,” Matt Eyles, the CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, said in a press release. The trade group represents Aetna, Cigna and CVS Health.
“We will continue to work on that commitment with all levels of government and every organization that shares our goal until we defeat the COVID-19 crisis together,” Eyles added.
The announcement comes as the Biden administration works to ramp up the supply of Covid-19 vaccines and get the majority of Americans as quickly as possible. Roughly 51.8 million out of some 331 million Americans have received at least their first dose of Covid vaccine, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And 26.2 million of those people have already gotten their second shot, representing about 10% of the total adult U.S. population, according to the CDC.
The risk for severe illness with Covid-19 increases with age, with older adults at the highest risk, according to the CDC.
Insurers will work with federal, state, and local leaders to deliver vaccines to underserved communities and closely collaborate with other vaccination partners, including pharmacies.
The trade group said some communities may best be served by mobile clinics, language assistance or a combination of interventions. Others will benefit from health insurance providers who partner directly with ride share services to provide transportation, the group said.
This isn’t the first Covid-19 vaccine program tailored to seniors that the federal government has touted. In October, the Department of Health and Human Services announced a deal with CVS Health and Walgreens to administer coronavirus vaccines to the elderly and staff in long-term care facilities.