The start of fall means flu season is here once again, but parents and caretakers can rest a little easier knowing children and teens up to age 19 can get immunizations, including flu vaccine, with free or low-cost health insurance through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Now that students have returned to the classroom and extra-curricular activities, it is more important than ever to make sure they are protected from the spread of flu and severe illness.
Paired with healthy habits like covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands, and avoiding close contact with anyone sick, the flu vaccine is proven to reduce the chance that a child who gets the flu will end up hospitalized and reduces the length and severity of the illness. Getting vaccinated also prevents the spread of flu to those who aren’t able to get vaccinated, so by protecting themselves, kids are also protecting their loved ones, friends, and communities.
Everyone 6 months and older is encouraged to get a flu vaccine as soon as possible to prevent severe illness and hospitalization, especially among young children and pregnant women. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has stated that flu vaccines and COVID-19 vaccines can be given at the same time. The CDC recommends that everyone 12 years of age and older get a free COVID-19 vaccine.
The Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign has a variety of resources to encourage families to protect themselves against flu and take advantage of the other preventive and emergency services covered by Medicaid and CHIP. Organizations can use the free customizable materials in their outreach efforts year-round, including digital videos, palmcards, posters, infographics, social media messages, graphics, and more. Be sure to explore the Outreach Tool Library for all Campaign resources.
Resources for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN)
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services also offers multiple resources promoting flu vaccination, including ads, flyers, bookmarks, and email signature blocks to help reach AI/AN families. Additional tools for outreach and engagement include the new Back-To-School Checklist, brochures, flyers, and fact sheets that detail comprehensive care covered under Medicaid and CHIP. To get the latest resources for AI/AN families, sign up for the monthly e-newsletter or visit the outreach and education resources page.
New Digital Video Series
Have you seen the Campaign’s collection of short digital videos? These new Campaign videos lend a hand with encouraging eligible families to enroll in Medicaid and CHIP year-round, providing kids access to routine check-ups, vision and dental care, mental and behavioral services, vaccinations, and more. Check out a few videos in the series:
Remind parents and caregivers that a flu shot is the best way families can protect their kids from getting the flu and spreading it to other family members.
Remind parents and caregivers to schedule regular visits to the dentist for their child every 6 months to help kids maintain good oral health through preventive and routine care.
Share the importance of why regular comprehensive eye exams are an essential part of routine care, especially for helping kids succeed in the classroom during the school year.
Lead Screenings Available Through Medicaid and CHIP
Did you know that Medicaid and CHIP cover blood lead screening? About 3.3 million American households, including 2.1 million low-income households, have children under 6 years of age who live in homes with lead exposure hazards. Even relatively low levels of lead exposure can impair a child’s cognitive development. Low levels of lead in blood have been shown to impact learning, academic achievement, and overall health, so it is important to make sure children are getting tested to catch and treat exposure to lead.
According to recent data from the CDC, there has been a decrease in children who received blood lead level testing due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week takes place October 24-30 this year. It is the ideal time to share resources from the CDC and partners to remind parents and caregivers of the dangers of lead exposure and encourage them to call their child’s provider and schedule a screening today.
- National Hispanic Heritage Month (Ends October 15)
- Children’s Health Month (October)
- National Health Education Week (October 18-22)
- National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (October 24-30)
- National Diabetes Month (November)
- World Diabetes Day (November 14)
- National Rural Health Day (November 19)
- Thanksgiving (November 25)
Stay Connected with the Campaign
- Share our Campaign materials. Our ever-growing, multi-lingual Outreach Tool Library features a variety of targeted resources to use in your outreach and enrollment efforts, available in multiple formats.
- Contact us. To get more involved with the Campaign, contact us via email at ConnectingKids@cms.hhs.gov.
- Follow the Campaign on Twitter. Remember to re-tweet or share our messages from @IKNGov with your social network and be sure to use our #Enroll365 and #KidsEnroll hashtags in your posts.
Subscribe to the “Campaign Notes” eNewsletter
The Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign eNewsletter “Campaign Notes” is distributed throughout the year and provides updates on Campaign activities. If a friend or colleague forwarded this email to you, we invite you to sign up to receive this eNewsletter directly to your inbox.