NACDS met with Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Acting Assistant Secretary of Health Dr. Karen DeSalvo on a conference call to discuss seasonal flu vaccination and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace open enrollment. The call was convened by Rear Admiral Pam Schweitzer, chief pharmacist officer of the U.S. Public Health Service.
HHS stated that while flu activity has been low so far in this year’s flu season, moving forward it may be more severe than normal and could disproportionately affect the elderly and patients with underlying health conditions because this year’s flu viruses are mutating and the existing vaccine is less effective in protecting against the most common strain of flu. HHS referenced National Flu Vaccination Week—December 7-13—and HealthMap as good resources for learning about and locating flu vaccinations nationwide.
In addition, HHS provided an overview of ACA marketplace enrollment to date. Currently, enrollment is split roughly 50-50 with new enrollees and re-enrollees from last year. HHS said it would like to expand outreach efforts and commended pharmacies for their ongoing partnership in educating the public on the ACA and open enrollment.