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National Flu Vaccine Awareness Month: Vaccine Hesitancy in Rural Areas

Vaccine hesitancy in rural areas often stems from a combination of factors, including distrust in healthcare systems, concerns about vaccine safety, and the influence of tight-knit community networks. National Flu Vaccine Awareness Week provides an opportunity to engage local leaders, community influencers, and healthcare providers in initiating conversations about the importance of vaccination. By fostering open and transparent communication, public health campaigns can work towards dispelling myths and addressing specific concerns that contribute to hesitancy, ultimately building trust and encouraging higher vaccine uptake.

In addition to communication strategies, improving access to flu vaccines in rural areas is crucial. National Flu Vaccine Awareness Week can serve as a catalyst for organizing mobile vaccination clinics, partnering with local pharmacies, and collaborating with community organizations to ensure that vaccines are readily available. By making vaccination convenient and addressing logistical barriers, public health efforts can make significant strides in overcoming hesitancy and increasing flu vaccine coverage in rural communities.

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Tennessee Vaccines for Children Program (VFC)

Tennessee public school students are required to turn in the state department of health immunization certificate before returning to the classroom. The list of required vaccinations are here. VFC helps families of children who may not otherwise have access to vaccines by providing free vaccines to doctors who serve them. 

Who Is Eligible for the VFC Program?

Children ages 18 years or younger who meet at least one of the following requirements:

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Frequently Asked Questions: CMS Waivers, Flexibilities, and the End of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provides answers to general and program-specific inquiries including Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and private insurance in an informative publication available here.

In-Person TennCare Assistance Every Friday in May and June

Rural Health Association is ready to assist patients in keeping their TennCare Coverage! Trained assisters will be at Saint Louise Clinic in Murfreesboro each Friday in May and June from 9am - 1pm CT to help individuals determine if they are still eligible for TennCare and provide other helpful information. Can’t attend the event? Call 866-675-7092 or click here to schedule an appointment with a trained assister.

The address for Saint Louise Clinic is 1020 N Highland Ave A, Murfreesboro, TN 37130.

COVID-19 Webinar with TDH Epidemiologist

Conference and holiday season is upon us. If you have COVID-19 questions or want updates, then this webinar is for you!

Learning Objectives:
  • Describe the current disease landscape of COVID-19 in Tennessee
  • Deploy proactive strategies for mitigating COVID-19 risk
  • Use evidence-based tools to make informed health decisions for you, your family, and your patients

You don't want to miss this event, register here!

Free COVID-19 Therapeutics Now Available!

Free COVID-19 Therapeutics Now Available!

All CMS-certified RHCs may now enroll in the HRSA RHC COVID-19 Therapeutics Program to receive a direct supply of free COVID-19 Antivirals! For more information click here.

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Younger Pediatric COVID-19 Vaccination Update

The following statement is from STLT Policy & Public Health Partnerships in regards to under 5 year old vaccinations:

On Saturday, June 18th, CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., endorsed the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ (ACIP) recommendation to expand COVID-19 vaccination to children younger than 5 years of age. This decision now universally recommends COVID-19 vaccination for everyone 6 months and older, paving the way for about 20 million children in this age group to get vaccinated and allowing providers to begin vaccinating with either the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine as soon as possible.

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CDC releases "Rural Considerations for Vaccine Confidence and Uptake Strategies"

CDC releases "Rural Considerations for Vaccine Confidence and Uptake Strategies"

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released another COVID-related rural resource that may be of interest. A “Rural Considerations” addendum was recently added to its field guide for conducting a Rapid Community Assessment (RCA). An RCA is a process for quickly collecting community insights about a public health issue in order to inform program design. The assessment involves reviewing existing data and conducting community-based interviews, listening sessions, observations, social listening, and surveys. In addition to the rural considerations addendum, the

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Updated K-12 Quarantine and Isolation Guidance

The following information was an update made by the CDC on January 6, 2022: The CDC has updated guidance for K-12 schools to align with the updated quarantine and isolation guidance.

Quarantine is a strategy used to prevent transmission of COVID-19 by keeping people who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 apart from others. Isolation is used to separate people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 from those without COVID-19.

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New CDC guidance for Pfizer vaccinated

Today the CDC Director issued two COVID-19 related recommendations following actions by the FDA:

  • people who received the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine as their primary series are recommended to get a booster after 5 instead of 6 months
  • moderately or severely immunocompromised 5–11-year-olds should receive an additional primary dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine 28 days after their second shot. 

The media statement released this morning is below.  The FDA action authorizing booster shots for children ages 12-15 will be discussed at an ACIP meeting scheduled for Jan 5.  When available,  we will communicate CDC’s decision. Providers are reminded to wait for the CDC recommendation before administering booster shots to this age group.  

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