Fall is in full swing and so is flu season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that between 6,000 and 26,000 children younger than 5 years have been hospitalized each year in the United States because of influenza. Children under 5 years of age and adults over the age of 65 are at higher risk of complications from flu. There are several best practices to combat flu, such as covering coughs and sneezes, washing hands, steering clear from anyone who is sick, and getting a flu vaccine.
The flu vaccine is proven to be the most effective way to reduce the severity of illness in individuals and the risk of flu-associated hospitalizations. A 2022 study shows that flu vaccination reduced children’s risk of severe influenza by 75 percent. Getting vaccinated reduces the spread of flu to others who may be more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain long-term health problems.
Parents and caregivers can protect their children by getting them their yearly flu vaccinations, which are covered with free or low-cost health insurance through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for kids and teens up to age 19. Children as young as six months can get a flu vaccine. Medicaid and CHIP also cover a wide range of other health services, including vision and dental care, mental and behavioral services, well-child visits, blood lead screening tests, and other routine vaccinations. We encourage you to explore the Connecting Kids to Coverage National Campaign’s resources for flu and vaccine-focused outreach such as videos, social media graphics and more, so parents can rest a little easier during this season knowing their children’s vaccinations are covered.
National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is October 23 – 29!
Each year, National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW) brings together partners and community members to raise awareness of lead poisoning prevention measures to reduce the risk of childhood lead exposure. Even low levels of lead in their blood can impact a child’s academic achievement and ability to learn or pay attention. Getting kids tested for lead exposure, especially if they’re under two years old, is an important prevention measure. This year during NLPPW, consider using the Campaign’s direct mail insert to promote blood lead screening, available in English (PDF, 107.02 KB) and Spanish (PDF, 88 KB) .
Encourage Beneficiaries to Update Their Information Today
Having and maintaining health coverage is more important than ever. During the COVID-19 pandemic, CMS temporarily waived certain Medicaid and CHIP requirements. The easing of these rules helped prevent people from losing their health coverage during the pandemic, as many were not required to renew their coverage annually. Once this temporary waiver is lifted, families with Medicaid and/or CHIP will need to renew their health coverage again annually. It is important to remind beneficiaries to update their contact information with their state Medicaid or CHIP office now, before the temporary waiver is lifted, so they don’t miss important reminders about renewals. Share the Medicaid.gov/renewals website widely in your community to ensure families stay covered and check out the Medicaid and CHIP Continuous Enrollment Unwinding toolkit available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Tagalog and Vietnamese. Monthly, CMS hosts a webinar to update on resources and next steps. To learn more, sign up for the upcoming webinar on October 26 and December 7 at 12PM EST.
Explore Key Resources
- Vaccine initiative page: The Campaign’s Vaccinations Initiative page offers multiple resources that promote flu vaccination and general vaccines outreach including posters, videos, text messages, and detailed infographics that offer valuable information regarding vaccines.
- Spanish outreach resources: Our Outreach Tool Library features several free resources in multiple languages, including Spanish, to help connect communities to health coverage.
Current & Upcoming Observances:
- International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (10/23-10/29)
- Bullying Prevention Month (October)
- Children’s Health Month (October)
- Down Syndrome Awareness Month (October)
- Health Literacy Month (October)
- Healthy Lung Month (October)
- National Dental Hygiene Month (October)
- World Diabetes Day (11/14)
- National Rural Health Day (11/17)
- Native American Heritage Month (November)
- National Diabetes Month (November)
- Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness month (November)
- National Epilepsy Month (November)
- Prematurity Awareness Month (November)
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.