September 29, 2020

Senators Hassan, Cassidy Introduce Bipartisan Bills to Increase Maternal Vaccination Rates

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) introduced two bipartisan bills to increase maternal vaccination rates and ensure that these vaccines are free of cost for Medicaid enrollees. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that pregnant patients receive a flu shot, as well as the tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) vaccine, which helps prevent whooping cough in newborns and infants.

 

“Far too many pregnant women and their babies become seriously ill, and even die, from preventable illnesses. We must do more to ensure that they receive the health care that they need,” said Senator Hassan. “This commonsense, bipartisan bill could significantly increase maternal vaccination rates by strengthening education efforts and helping ensure that cost doesn’t keep pregnant patients from getting vaccinated.”

 

“Vaccination preserves health and saves lives. Vaccinating expectant mothers improves her health and her unborn child’s. This bill makes all this more likely by removing barriers to immunization,” said Dr. Cassidy

 

Many women – especially those covered by Medicaid – do not receive their recommended vaccines. A CDC survey found that only about half of pregnant patients received the flu and Tdap vaccines in 2017-2018. Another study found that in 2017, only 31.4 percent of pregnant Medicaid enrollees received the Tdap vaccine, and only 17.5 percent of pregnant Medicaid enrollees received the flu vaccine.

 

The Maternal Immunization Coverage Act, introduced by Senator Cassidy and co-led by Senator Hassan, would require that state Medicaid programs cover ACIP-recommended vaccines for pregnant Medicaid enrollees without cost-sharing.

 

The Maternal Immunization Enhancement Act, introduced by Senator Hassan and co-led by Senator Cassidy, aims to increase rates of ACIP-recommended vaccines among pregnant Medicaid enrollees by directing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to issue guidance to states on how they can improve immunization rates among pregnant Medicaid enrollees and by improving data collection efforts on vaccination rates of pregnant Medicaid enrollees.

To read a letter of support from the Adult Vaccine Access Coalition on the Senators' bipartisan bills, click here and here.  

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