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Cigna launches COVID-19 vaccine transportation for Medicare Advantage members

(Photo by zoranm / Getty Images)

In an effort to help older Americans access the COVID-19 vaccine, Cigna provides transportation to and from vaccine sites to customers at no additional cost in most of its Medicare Advantage plans in the US.

Cigna has partnered with its Medicare Advantage transportation provider, Access2Care, which coordinates transportation for customers. Participating transport companies differ per location.

Cigna’s MA customers completed more than 400,000 trips through the program by 2020, primarily to physicians and pharmacies.

WHAT IS THE IMPACT

The move comes at a critical time in efforts to contain the global pandemic, as mass vaccination is seen as perhaps the most important tool to finally get the coronavirus under control.

Yet access to vaccines is unequal, and while many factors play a role, social determinants of health can prove to be a significant barrier. Transport, or more specifically its lack, is a social determinant that occurs mainly among economically disadvantaged communities, including many colored communities.

In the health insurance company transportation program, more than 500,000 customers in 23 states are eligible for four one-way trips, up to 60 miles each way, to receive their vaccine. The program allows four trips as some vaccines require two doses. Transportation for an adult companion is also included to accommodate caregivers.

Customers who qualify for the vaccine in their state can arrange the outward and return journey during an initial call. For safety and security reasons, the service is not available for drive-through clinics. Riders and drivers must follow local COVID-19 safety guidelines.

THE BIGGER TREND

At the national level, vaccination efforts are moving in the right direction. On April 15, the seven-day average number of COVID-19 vaccinations given daily was 3.3 million, a 10.3% increase from the previous week’s average, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That translates to approximately 198.3 million total vaccine doses administered. In total, nearly 126 million Americans (37.9% of the US population) have received at least one dose, while about 78.5 million (23.6%) have received both doses.

Disappointingly, the case’s seven-day average is rising, reaching 69,577 last week, up 8.1% from the week before. But the average is still down more than 72% since the pandemic’s seven-day average peak of 249,861 on Jan. 11.

When analyzing samples collected through March 27, the CDC attributes 44.1% of US COVID-19 cases to the UK variant B.1.1.7, while the Brazilian variant accounted for approximately 1.01. 4% of all cases and the South African variant made up 0.7% of all cases. all cases.

The current average of a seven-day hospitalization is 5,507, 4.5% more than the previous week, but is down 66.7% from the highest seven-day average of 16,521 reported on January 9. Deaths showed a similar pattern, with 10.8% week on week. to hit 712, which is still down 79.4% from the Jan. 13 peak of 3,457 deaths.

Twitter: @JELagasse
Email the writer: [email protected]

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