chevron_leftBlog
Home Blog ItsVaccinationSeason

It’s Vaccination Season

Nov 16, 2021
reading takes 3 min

As we head into the winter months and spend more time indoors, it’s vital to get up to date on the seasonal flu vaccine, as well as COVID-19 vaccines and boosters. We’ve pulled together the latest information from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC), so you know where, when, and how to get the protection you need to stay healthy.

Before COVID-19, seasonal flu vaccination was the most important annual vaccination for most of us to get. According to the U.S. CDC, flu vaccination prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related provider visits each year. The CDC estimates that from 2019-2020, the flu vaccination prevented 7.5 million influenza illnesses, 3.7 million influenza-associated medical visits, 105,000 influenza-associated hospitalizations, and 6,300 influenza-associated deaths.

The U.S. and Maine CDCs recommend that people six months and older get an annual flu vaccine as early in the fall as possible. If you haven’t already done so, call your primary care provider (PCP) or your local pharmacy to schedule your flu vaccination today. The good news is that Health Options makes the flu vaccine available at $0 cost-share to Members, and you can receive a flu shot at the same time as a COVID-19 shot if you still need one.

Also, COVID-19 boosters are available to everyone aged 18 and older­­ – just in time for holiday gatherings. The latest (CDC) booster recommendations are:

  • If you received the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccination, you are eligible for a booster if you are aged 18 years and older and at least six (6) months have passed after completing your primary COVID-19 vaccination series. Any of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States can be used for the booster dose.
  • If you received the J&J/Janssen vaccine, you should get a booster if you are 18 years or older and at least two (2) months have passed after completing your primary COVID-19 vaccination series. Any of the COVID-19 vaccines authorized in the United States can be used for the booster dose.

You can get your booster shot anywhere that provides the COVID-19 vaccine. You may hear directly from your healthcare provider about getting a booster, or you may contact the locations linked below for an appointment. Many locations also offer drop-in vaccinations with no appointment necessary.

For a final piece of vaccination news, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is now widely available for individuals aged 5 and older throughout Maine. As the Delta variant continues to be a prominent strain, vaccination is the safest way to protect against severe illness in children and adults.

It’s also important to continue protecting unvaccinated children ages two and older, who should wear a mask in public spaces and around people with whom they do not live.

If you need help scheduling an appointment, or want to know if a site near you offers vaccinations without an appointment, call the Maine COVID-19 Community Vaccination Line at (888) 445-4111. You may also search for COVID-19 vaccine availability here: Maine vaccination sites.

Your health, well-being, and safety are our priorities. Please call our Member Services at (855) 624-6463 for more information about vaccines and other preventive care benefits.

SEE ALSO

Ever Heard of Interoperability?

Long word, long process; here’s the short story

Unless you work in the healthcare industry, you’re probably living your life without knowing what interoperability means. But soon, if you use health and wellness services at all, you’ll need to know at least a little bit about what it means.

 

Good to Know

Interoperability means that healthcare information and data can be connected among doctors, facilities, service providers, insurers, and others so that you have access to your health information wherever and whenever you need it. If you’ve ever changed providers or needed to see a specialist, you know that your medical records can take a while to catch up with you. That’s all going to change.

To get technical about it, this transfer of data will happen through application programming interfaces (APIs). Eventually, rather than waiting weeks for your medical records to move between providers’ offices, files will transfer almost instantaneously. That’s progress!

 

Need to Know

Opening these channels of information is actually a federal requirement for businesses in healthcare.  So, as an insurance company, we’re required to create a secure information network that gives you access to your health information in real-time. This kind of accessibility helps you get more efficient and accurate care. It will enable your providers to identify problems more quickly and allow them to make quicker and more informed decisions.

Interoperability is a huge change in how the entire health industry works, and it won’t happen overnight, but the first steps are about to begin. In early July, 2021, Health Options will support electronic access to your claims through third-party applications in your mobile device or browser. For additional information, please click here

But don’t worry. You’re still in control. Health data applications that you choose to connect will have access to your name, date of birth, plan information, providers used, medical, pharmacy and lab claims, and other data. See a list of the healthcare applications here. If you choose not to share your access – your information remains private. You turn data sharing on and off via your health and wellness application on your personal device. If you don’t download an app and turn on permission, nothing changes.

 

More to Know

You might never have given a single thought to healthcare data connections, or maybe you thought all your data dots were connecting behind the scenes already. Either way, knowledge is power. At its very basic level, this data sharing will help you and your providers make informed choices, eliminate wasted time and resources, and streamline healthcare services. This might mean fewer redundant blood tests and X-rays in the future, and we can all connect with that idea.