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Using Flu Vaccinations to Fight the Flu

Monday, September 16, 2019   (0 Comments)
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Written By: Sydney Philpott-Streiff, MPH; Fluvention® Program Manager, Centene Corporation


Centene will be exhibiting at NWRPCA/CHAMPS 2019 Fall Primary Care Conference and is the Exclusive Premier Conference Sponsor.


Influenza, more commonly known as the flu, is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death, but the simple flu vaccination taken annually has been shown to be the best way to protect against infection. Vaccination has many benefits including reducing the risk of contracting the disease as well as preventing associated hospitalizations, and reducing the risk of flu-related death.


For nearly 10 years, Centene’s Fluvention® campaign has worked to decrease the spread of influenza by increasing the number of our health plans’ members who receive an annual flu vaccination. The Fluvention® program helps educate families, communities, and organizations to increase overall influenza vaccination rates.


Fluvention® meets members where they are, whether it’s on their cell phones, at the mailbox, or in the doctor’s office, and engages members in their preferred channel with a variety of outreach initiatives to encourage flu vaccination and provide information about the risks of influenza. Through these concerted efforts, Fluvention® has increased member vaccination rates year over year and Centene saw a full 1% increase in the 2018-2019 season compared to rates in 2017-2018.



In collaboration with the Centene Center for Health Transformation, and informed by behavioral theory, Centene has developed a spectrum of Fluvention® materials to encourage flu vaccination among members. The Fluvention® team regularly deploys new initiatives to increase flu vaccination, and in past years has piloted new strategies among groups who can suffer the most from contracting the flu. While the CDC recommends that everyone ages six months and older get a flu vaccine every season, vaccination is particularly important for those at high-risk including children, seniors, pregnant women, or other complications.


Every year, the team also monitors influenza activity in the US. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides a weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report that displays a map of the regions most affected by the virus, including data on viral surveillance, antiviral resistance, and influenza-associated hospitalizations. This can help to tailor efforts to those areas hardest hit by the virus.


While many individuals tend to view the flu shot positively, people may still struggle to get vaccinated, and report not knowing where and when they’ll get a flu shot. Reports suggest that most adults and children are getting their flu vaccine at the doctor’s office, but other common locations for adults include the pharmacy and workplace. For children, it’s the clinic, pharmacy, and school. When compared to years past, both children and adults are increasingly getting their flu shot at the pharmacy.


To address the disconnect between flu shot acceptance and real vaccination, Washington State, home to Centene’s subsidiary Coordinated Care, established a partnership with Walgreens to provide flu vaccinations during the 2018-2019 flu season. Coordinated Care hosted several community events with Walgreens, including one in a homeless encampment. The plan provided HHS vouchers to receive free vaccinations for individuals who weren’t members and didn’t have another form of insurance. In total, Coordinated Care hosted 15 successful events, which likely played a positive role in their high rate of flu vaccinations for the 2018-2019 flu season.


Another Centene health plan reached out to develop partnerships with school districts and community health organizations to help them communicate with members and boost vaccination rates. The plan called over 190,000 members and focused on educating school-aged members by distributing thousands of stickers which featured a message about hand washing and getting a flu shot. Hundreds of schools, youth, clubs and health organizations helped get the word out to kids and their families.


Many of Centene’s health plans host baby showers or similar community events throughout the flu season where they offer flu shots to plan members as well as to their family. Other plans partner with mobile health vans to deliver flu vaccines at the neighborhood level. Health plans have demonstrated great success vaccinating members leveraging diverse strategies that meet members where they are.


Centene encourages all of its subsidiary health plans to design a Fluvention® strategy that works for their state and their members. Strategies to impact different member populations are identified and not all member populations respond in the same way to every intervention. By changing the landscape of immunizations, we are able to help members understand the importance and safety of vaccines and overcome obstacles which prevent vaccination. We know that the number one way to prevent the flu is to get your seasonal flu shot, and Centene will continue to work to improve the healthcare of our members one person at a time.






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