Washington, D.C. — As pandemic-era Medicaid protections wind down, Congress must act now to protect the health of all Americans through expanding vaccine access, at no cost, no matter one’s health insurance status. A new CAP column calls on Congress to establish a Vaccines for Adults (VFA) program, modeled after the successful Vaccines for Children program, that would help the 27 million uninsured Americans access essential vaccines at no cost. If carried out, this program could save tens of thousands of lives and close vast vaccination gaps across the country.
The COVID-19 vaccination campaign showed just how essential federal support is in making vaccines and treatments easily available to both underinsured and uninsured citizens. While there was tremendous success with the COVID-19 vaccine campaign, the transition of COVID-19 vaccine coverage to the commercial market poses an important opportunity to improve vaccination rates by guaranteeing vaccine access for all, regardless of cost. On top of this, less than half of adults (42 percent) are up to date on routine vaccinations, compared with 93 percent of school-age children. The new CAP column examines how investing in a Vaccines for Adults program would improve access, strengthen equity, and diminish health disparities faced by marginalized groups across the United States.
“Vaccination is one of the safest, most powerful, and most cost-effective public health tools at our disposal,” said Marquisha Johns, associate director for Public Health Policy at CAP and author of the column. “We’ve seen just how successful a Vaccines for Children program can be in reducing adverse health outcomes over a lifetime. Implementing a Vaccines for Adults program is critical and would save lives and keep communities safe.”
Read the column: “The U.S. Needs a Federal Program To Expand Vaccine Access and Equity for Adults” by Marquisha Johns.
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