Maximizing the potential of the private sector is “essential to ensuring more efficient and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines,” according to a new white paper examining vaccine efforts in the United States. The paper, published Monday (April 12) by the COVID Collaborative and Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy, noted four major areas where the work of the private sector can add significantly to the ongoing local, state and federal efforts to accelerate vaccine distribution, promote equity, and increase engagement with communities at higher risk for infection.
The paper also identified several ways the private sector efforts can be most important in achieving the nation’s vaccination goals. They include expanding the capacity of the vaccination network, support for workforce vaccine access and education, and promoting equity.
“Expanding existing capacity to meet the goal of vaccinating millions in the weeks and months ahead, and to do so equitably,” the paper said, “requires new or strengthened partnerships and collaborations.”
Among other examples, the paper cited Blue Shield of California’s role as the Third Party Administrator supporting California’s vaccination efforts as an example of the “pivotal role” a private sector partner can offer in solving a state’s logistical and operational challenges when it comes to expanding capacity. Among the benefits of the California arrangement, the paper noted, is improved access to real-time data that can be used to allocate vaccines to hard-hit communities in support of the state’s equity goals.
The paper’s conclusions are based on roundtable discussions with vaccine and health experts representing academia, public health, state governors, healthcare providers, insurers (including representatives from Blue Shield of California) and several large private employers including Amazon, Google and Walmart.
“Moving forward, existing and future public-private partnerships can continue to augment vaccination capacity, reduce barriers to access, support equity and outreach strategies, and promote vaccines to employees and the broader public,” the authors wrote. In addition: “Private entities such as health plans, HIEs (health information exchanges), and others with access to health data can play a critical role in following individuals after they are vaccinated to understand their long-term health.”
About Blue Shield of California
Blue Shield of California strives to create a healthcare system worthy of its family and friends that is sustainably affordable. Blue Shield of California is a tax paying, nonprofit, independent member of the Blue Shield Association with over 4.5 million members, over 7,500 employees and more than $21 billion in annual revenue. Founded in 1939 in San Francisco and now headquartered in Oakland, Blue Shield of California and its affiliates provide health, dental, vision, Medicaid and Medicare healthcare service plans in California. The company has contributed more than $150 million to Blue Shield of California Foundation in the last four years to have an impact on California communities.
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