Governor Ducey’s Plan to Fight the Flu during COVID-19
Yesterday, Governor Ducey and the Arizona Department of Health Services announced a comprehensive vaccine distribution plan to curb the spread of the flu this fall and winter. Children’s Action Alliance applauds the Governor’s effort to provide this lifesaving vaccine to everyone, regardless of immigration status or income. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed an unprecedented strain on Arizona’s hospital and health care systems. A major flu outbreak could force the health care system to fight a war on two fronts.
Influenza is one of the top ten leading causes of death in Arizona. Each year, an average of 700 people die due to the flu in our state, and young children and American Indian / Alaska Native individuals are at a particularly high risk of complications from the virus.
The Governor is taking a data-driven, multi-pronged approach to promote public health and preserve precious health care resources:
- Significantly expanding the number of flu shots available to uninsured and under-insured people in Arizona, including undocumented immigrants;
- Incentivizing AHCCCS and KidsCare participants to get the flu shot by offering a $10 gift card to all members who get vaccinated;
- Increasing payments to AHCCCS and KidsCare-contracted providers who administer flu shots;
- Allowing certified pharmacists to provide vaccines to children who participate in AHCCCS and KidsCare;
- Expanding flu shot distribution to certain COVID-19 testing sites throughout the state, and;
- Providing online resources for health care providers, businesses, and families to help them locate no-cost testing and take proactive steps to protect employees.
According to the Governor, the use of incentives to patients and providers and expanding availability of flu vaccines has shown a 50 percent increase in vaccine rates among Medicaid members in other states. We commend this proactive investment in community health and encourage everyone to get a flu shot as soon as you are able!
Additional flu-related resources will be available soon at azhealth.gov.