Administration to focus efforts on seniors and high-risk communities
Today, the Biden Administration is announcing a six-week campaign through the end of the year urging Americans to get their updated COVID-19 vaccine. With winter and holiday gatherings right around the corner, more Americans getting their updated vaccine will help avoid thousands of preventable COVID-19 deaths. The six-week campaign will focus on reaching seniors and the communities that were hardest hit by COVID-19 by making it even more convenient to get vaccinated and increasing awareness through paid media.
Making it even more convenient to get vaccinated – particularly for seniors and communities most impacted:
Over 70,000 locations are offering the updated COVID-19 vaccines, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has taken steps this month to expand to even more locations, including mobile settings and sites in rural and remote areas, through more flexible ordering options for providers. HHS will continue direct outreach in communities with trusted community partners and messengers to provide easy access to updated COVID-19 vaccines and information on the benefits of vaccination. HHS is standing up pop-up vaccine clinics and educational booths at major community gatherings – from libraries to sporting events to county fairs, and more.
Additional funding for community health centers and community-based organizations to increase the pace of vaccinations:
- $350 million for community health centers to expand locally-driven efforts to get more Americans their updated COVID-19 vaccines: HHS, through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), will invest $350 million into community health centers, which they can use for mobile, drive-up, walk-up, or community-based vaccination events, partnerships with community and faith-based organizations for vaccination activities, raising awareness of the updated shot, and more.
- $125 million for efforts to get more older Americans and people with disabilities vaccinated, including through accessible vaccination clinics, in-home vaccinations, transportation, outreach and education: HHS, through the Administration for Community Living will award $125 million in grants to national organizations that serve people with disabilities and older adults to support community vaccination programs and efforts. Funding will be provided to help local aging and disability networks hold vaccination events at senior and community centers; build up confidence in the vaccine; educate people about the risks of COVID-19 in the weeks ahead and how vaccination will help; provide supportive services, such as accessible transportation and individual assistance to overcome barriers so more Americans can get the vaccine; and connect people to the information they need to protect themselves from COVID-19.
New enforcement guidance to ensure nursing homes are offering updated COVID-19 vaccines and timely treatment to their residents and staff: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) requires nursing homes to educate their residents on the benefits of lifesaving COVID-19 vaccinations and to offer the vaccines to their residents. CMS will issue guidance today reminding health care providers of this requirement. In its guidance, CMS will make clear that nursing homes with low vaccination rates will be referred to state survey agencies for close scrutiny, and that facilities that do not comply with the requirement to offer and educate on the benefit of lifesaving COVID-19 vaccinations will face enforcement actions, including the need to submit corrective action plans to achieve compliance.
HHS will also ask governors for their assistance and partnership in increasing COVID vaccination rates for long-term care residents and highlight for them how their states are performing against their peers. And, CMS will provide data to states and health plans about the poorest performing nursing homes to help them encourage action and promote increased vaccination uptake.
Hundreds of pop-up vaccination clinics to make it even easier for people to get their updated COVID-19 vaccines before the end of the year: National and local organizations, state and local health departments, K-12 school districts and higher education institutions, and pharmacies will continue to host pop-up vaccination clinics in urban and rural communities. Americans can also get vaccinated at ongoing events across the country run by schools, colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and state, county, research, and health fairs. And, organizations around the country are answering the call to host more community-based vaccination clinics in New Orleans, LA, Albuquerque, NM, Houston, TX, Jackson, MS, Miami, FL, Justin, TX, San Antonio, TX, Dallas, TX, Atlanta, GA, Berea, OH, and Salisbury, MD, to name a few. Because of these ongoing efforts, Americans have learned more about updated COVID-19 vaccines and gotten vaccinated at a wide-range of events across the country – from sporting events to health fairs to cultural festivities and trade shows.
Increasing awareness of the updated COVID-19 vaccine:
Activating the health care workforce to highlight vaccinations and treatments for older Americans: On Monday, a coalition of the nation’s leading medical societies stepped forward to encourage their members – doctors, nurses, and other health care workers whom patients know and trust – to use every interaction with patients as an opportunity to make strong recommendations to get vaccinated against COVID-19, educate and answer questions about prevention and treatment options, and where feasible, provide vaccination. In addition, organizations, such as the Black Coalition Against COVID, LeadingAge, AARP, and the National Council of Aging will host town halls with their thousands of members.
Reaching people with facts and information about the updated COVID-19 vaccines through paid media: HHS’s We Can Do This public education campaign is airing TV and digital ads during the World Cup, as well as ads focused on reaching adults 50+ for Black, Latino, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (AANHPI), American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) and rural audiences.
Launching a targeted paid media effort to urge older Americans to talk with a provider about seeking treatment if they contract COVID-19: HHS is launching a new, targeted paid media effort urging Americans age 50 and those with chronic conditions to seek treatment right away if they get COVID-19. The national TV ad, “Can’t Wait,” began airing on November 21 in English and Spanish, with local TV ads running in 46 markets across the country, as well as social and digital and social ads.