COVID-19 vaccines are becoming more widely available across the country and millions are rolling up their sleeves to get the potentially lifesaving shot. But many others are not getting the vaccine due to a lack of access to a vaccination site, or lack of trust. By addressing drivers of health, one of a series of barriers creating obstacles to the vaccine, we are working to improve the health of our communities in the wake of the pandemic.

Vaccine Education in Underserved Communities

With communities of color disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, trusted voices are instrumental in sharing information, including vaccine safety and efficacy, and addressing disparities. Anthem has partnered with the American Lung Association, who worked with The Center for Black Health & Equity to develop the Better For It vaccine educational toolkit — a science-based, factual guide to help begin a conversation on how to make a well-informed decision about COVID-19 vaccination. The guide is meant to supplement an individual’s own research on the vaccines, and help them start a dialogue with others, share accurate information on social media, and get to know the years of research and discovery that is being applied to help address the pandemic.

Outreach to Older Adults with Vaccine Information and Mobilization

Older adults are one of the most at-risk populations when it comes to COVID-19 serious health outcomes, and older adults in underserved areas experience barriers and health disparities in their communities, often preventing them from access to COVID-19 vaccines. Anthem, along with members of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) and Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA)  have announced a pilot initiative called Vaccine Community Connectors, which aims to enable the vaccination of 2 million older adults in America’s underserved and under-resourced communities – specifically communities of color and rural areas. Health insurance providers are using expertise, data, and insights to identify people who live in areas where vaccination rates are most inequitable, and remove barriers to vaccines. This includes educating them on the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, helping them schedule appointments, and getting them connected to transportation to their appointments.

Transportation To and From Vaccination Sites

45% of Americans have no access to public transportation.1 Barriers to transportation can lead to missed medical appointments and delayed care 2 — and during the COVID-19 pandemic, it can create major challenges for people trying to get vaccinated. Anthem is committed to doing all we can to ensure those who want to receive the vaccine can get it by providing transportation benefits to our consumers.

In addition, to help address the transportation barrier, we’ve partnered with Lyft, Inc. in a nationwide initiative to help those who need transportation to and from COVID-19 vaccination sites. The goal of this initiative is to provide 60 million free rides for people earning lower incomes, uninsured, or living in under-resourced communities. The vaccine access program mobilizes the rideshare company’s resources, along with support from Anthem and other partners to bridge the gap between people and care. For eligible individuals who want a vaccine, but have transportation obstacles preventing them from accessing it, the Lyft rides can serve as a vital connection.