Kaiser Permanente, Centene, others join White House effort to boost vaccination rates

President Joe Biden recently announced his administration’s goal of getting Covid-19 vaccine shots into the arms of at least 70% of Americans by July 4th, and several healthcare organizations are eager to help.

Kaiser Permanente, Centene Corp., the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and several healthcare societies are all contributing to the White House vaccination effort in different ways.

Oakland, California-based Kaiser Permanente is launching various different programs and incentives to engage unvaccinated individuals, including a sweepstake that is open to anyone aged 12 and older who has been vaccinated by the health system. Rewards for the 1,000 winners selected include wellness retreats, gym memberships and family trips to theme parks and national parks.

The health system also plans to identify 100 community-based organizations to receive about $10 million total in funding to support their work promoting messages that raise confidence in the vaccines.

Further, Kaiser will launch an influencer and social media campaign to deliver relevant vaccine information to those between the ages of 18 and 30.

“Kaiser Permanente’s strategy involves several proven approaches to increasing confidence in the safety and effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines, and we hope that by reaching different groups of people in ways that resonate best with them, we can help motivate many more people to seek and receive a vaccine,” said Dr. Andrew Bindman, the health system’s executive vice president and CMO, in an email.

There are many reasons why vaccination rates are lagging in some states — especially those in the South. These include concerns about the vaccine’s side effects, conspiracy theories and a lack of access.

“That is why the White House, Kaiser Permanente and many other partners are approaching this challenge from many different angles,” Bindman said.

To specifically target misinformation, a group of medical associations is contributing to the effort by partnering with the National Association of Broadcasters. Together they will air vaccine education segments on TV and the radio, featuring experts from the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics and American Hospital Association, among others.

Payers, on the other hand, are looking to provide financial incentives to providers and health plan members to help increase vaccination uptake.

For example, St. Louis-based Centene has launched an initiative that involves working with network physicians to deploy a call campaign. Via the campaign, calls will be made to health plan members nationwide, during which they will be asked whether they have been vaccinated.

If they have not, providers will help them arrange an appointment. The top 100 providers who have the highest increase in vaccination rates as a result of this initiative will receive $5,000 each for medical equipment.

Meanwhile, Chicago-based Blue Cross Blue Shield Association is joining the White House’s vaccination effort through the BCBS Government-wide Service Benefit Plan, also known as the Federal Employee Program. Plan members, over the age of 18 with an FEP MyBlue account, will receive $50 on their Wellness Card when they provide their official Covid-19 vaccination record. Members can use these funds for qualified medical expenses.

These initiatives are being directed at the millions of Americans who haven’t received any Covid-19 vaccine doses as yet. Overall, 172 million people have received one dose of the vaccine, but that is still only 52% of the population, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control.

Photo: Geber86, Getty Images


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