During August, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Office of Minority Health (CMS OMH) recognizes National Immunization Awareness Month. Immunizations, often referred to as vaccinations, vaccines, or shots, may include commonly known vaccinations, such as flu shots and COVID-19 vaccines, in addition to other important, routine vaccinations for different age groups. Throughout this month and beyond, we will be highlighting the importance of immunizations and encouraging all those served by CMS to stay up-to-date on routine vaccines.
The CDC recommends certain vaccines, including the Tdap, Td, HPV, influenza, and hepatitis B vaccines, for teens and adults based on different age groups. CDC also recommends that adults over the age of 50 receive the shingles vaccine, pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine, and pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, which protect against serious pneumococcal diseases including meningitis and pneumonia. Although significant vaccine-related advancements have been made in the United States, adult vaccination rates still remain low overall, especially among racial and ethnic minority populations, who have been shown to be less likely to be vaccinated against certain diseases than their non-minority counterparts. Among children, vaccination rates have remained above 90% for the majority of recommended pediatric vaccines,
Many factors contribute to lower vaccination rates, including employment, housing, education, and transportation, among other social determinants of health. Additionally, concerns about vaccinations, including vaccine safety, have contributed to recent declines in vaccination rates.
As the vaccine landscape continues to evolve, especially regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, it is important that health care professionals and partner organizations emphasize the importance and benefits of vaccines and share helpful information with the populations they serve on how to get vaccines. Below are resources you can share with your community to help them learn more about vaccinations that are available at no or low cost under most health coverage.
The CDC now recommends COVID-19 vaccines for everyone 6 months and older and boosters for everyone 5 years and older, if eligible. Visit the CDC’s Vaccines for COVID-19 webpage and COVID-19 Vaccines for Children and Teens webpage for the most up-to-date information.