LOUISVILLE, KY (September 2, 2021) – U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra will be the keynote speaker during the Howard L. Bost Memorial Health Policy Forum on September 21. Secretary Becerra will discuss the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to increase vaccination rates and combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two-day virtual forum, hosted by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky and presented by Aetna Better Health of Kentucky, will explore growing vaccine hesitancy in America and in Kentucky. While the topic includes vaccines in general, it is especially relevant in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“From boardrooms to classrooms, vaccinations have become a hot topic,” said Ben Chandler, president and CEO, Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. “Vaccines prevent illness and death. Yet, Kentucky is in the bottom half of vaccine uptake compared to other states. This is an important issue to dive into, learn where we are currently, and discuss effective strategies for improvement.”

Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack will kick off the forum on September 20 with a “State of Vaccines in Kentucky” presentation.

Additional topics include:
• The influence of policy measures on vaccine rates
• Improving Kentucky’s vaccine registry
• Vaccine research, development and approval
• Vaccines in schools
• Vaccine hesitancy
• Messaging campaign successes
• Early childhood, youth and adult vaccines

2021 Howard L. Bost Memorial Health Policy Forum
Kentucky Vaccine Policy: Myths, Messengers and Messages
Presented by Aetna Better Health of Kentucky

September 20: 12:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. ET
September 21: 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. ET
Virtual – Register Here

In 2020, Kentucky ranked 37th in annual immunization uptake for all recommended vaccines, and 43rd in childhood immunizations, according to America’s Health Rankings. Data also shows the pandemic has reduced vaccination rates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported childhood vaccination rates dropped dramatically in the early months of the pandemic, and many children and teens are still behind in their shots. Meantime, GlaxoSmithKline and Avalere Health reported that teens and adults potentially missed more than 26-million doses of recommended vaccines in 2020.

The CDC reports, among children born between 1994 and 2013 – when vaccine coverage was around 90 percent for much of the period – vaccines prevented an estimated 322 million illnesses and 732,000 deaths in the U.S. And, during that same timeframe, vaccines eliminated $295 billion in direct costs and $1.38 trillion in total societal costs that those diseases would have caused.

The Howard L. Bost Memorial Health Policy Forum, presented by Aetna Better Health of Kentucky, is free of charge. For more information and to register, click here.