The National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) and AcademyHealth, with support from Immunize Colorado, are facilitating a new community of practice (CoP) comprised of state health officials from six states interested in improving their immunization rates.
Funded by a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cooperative agreement, the Immunization Barriers in the United States: Targeting Medicaid Partnerships program is engaging six state Medicaid agencies (LA, MI, TX, WA, WI, WY) in collaboration with their public health and immunization information system partners. Through this CoP, states are working to improve Medicaid policies and outreach to increase immunization rates among low-income children and pregnant women. The project will build on the work and lessons learned from the previous CoP of five states, which ended in late 2020.
Despite coverage of vaccines through Medicaid, immunization rates among children and pregnant women enrolled in Medicaid remain lower than those who are privately insured and have higher incomes. Disparities in vaccine coverage exist for Black women and people living in poverty. Additionally, CDC data shows a significant reduction in routine vaccines administered to children during the COVID-19 pandemic. While vaccination rates are slowly returning to pre-pandemic rates, national experts are concerned that the missed vaccine doses may have future health implications and lead to outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.
Through virtual and in-person meetings over the course of the three-year project, AcademyHealth and NASHP will provide technical assistance to states, identify barriers, and share promising practices for increasing immunization rates.