August is National Immunization Awareness Month. Vaccines are a vital part of healthcare at all stages of life and offer the best protection available against many potentially devastating illnesses — especially COVID-19.

The ultimate goal of protecting the world’s population from the COVID-19 pandemic can likely only be achievable through the equitable distribution of vaccines. There are currently three vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19 for all adults and children as young as 12 years old​​.

Vaccines have been a crucial part in developing children’s health for decades. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages parents to follow an immunization schedule for babies and young children, protecting them from 14 life-affecting diseases. Pre-teens and teenagers should begin to inoculate against meningococcal diseases (meningitis or septicemia) and HPV

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Every day, people ask how they can help NeedyMeds. Usually they have used the website or called the helpline to find assistance with their medical costs, or maybe they used our information to lower their parent’s drug costs.

Here are four things you can do to help us help you and earn our everlasting gratitude.

  1. Spread the Word

Even though 10,000 to 15,000 people visit our website every workday, more need to know about NeedyMeds. Even though our toll-free helpline helps 4,000-6,000 callers every month, we want to help more!

The best recommendation we can get — the thing that convinces people to check out our website — is a personal recommendation from a family member or friend who used NeedyMeds. This can help to increase our number of people we can help.

If you have used the website or helpline, please tell your friends, family, doctor, or anyone else who might benefit from the information we have. 

  1. Help Us Add More Programs

At last count, we had around 30,000 programs listed on our website. I know that sounds like a lot of programs — and it is. However, we know there are many more programs we don’t know about. But maybe you

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This week is National Health Center Week. As healthcare has become more and more expensive, the need for low-cost healthcare has increased. Many people living in more rural parts of the country have a very limited number of options to see a doctor, and depending on their insurance status the number of available “in-network” doctors is even lower. Many people do not regularly see their doctor, only seeking healthcare when a more serious condition arises. It can be a stressful situation to be uninsured and have an unforeseen medical problem come up — especially during the ongoing pandemic. This week is meant to celebrate and raise awareness of local community owned and operated clinics providing high quality, cost effective, accessible care to more than 27 million Americans.

Community health centers have been vital to public health throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as the primary source of care for many low-income populations and vulnerable communities by providing free screenings

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It is the time of year when parents and students of all ages begin preparing to go back to school.  They will be exposed to new experiences and ideas, but also higher stress and risk of exposure to viruses — including the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and the proliferating variants. 

The ongoing pandemic has added challenges to every facet of life, including navigating classrooms. Returning to school has taken on new meaning and a new set of worries for students, parents, caregivers, and teachers. The decision on what classes and learning looks like is usually made on the local level by school boards and government officials. Overall, schools choose from one of three models:

  • Distance learning. All instruction is done remotely using technology and other tools.
  • In-person schooling. Similar to traditional schooling with enhanced health and safety precautions and procedures, but risks infection for students/teachers/their families.
  • Hybrid schooling. This model includes elements of both distance and in-person schooling.

Schools may adopt one or more models over the course of the school year and still-evolving pandemic. Being prepared for a variety of learning environments can empower you and/or your child/student and reduce any additional anxiety. In each case, there are steps you can take to reduce the risks of COVID-19, help your student feel safe, and make informed decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Get vaccinated. All adults and children over 12 years old currently eligible for COVID-19 vaccines should get fully immunized by the start of school year. People are considered fully vaccinated 2 weeks after their second dose in a 2-dose series such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or 2 weeks after a single-dose vaccine such as Johnson & Johnson’s.
  • Wear face masks. Everyone over 2 years old should wear face masks that cover the nose and mouth. This is a simple, proven tool to protect students and teachers indoors — even if they’ve been vaccinated.
  • Monitor health. Be aware of any symptoms you may have, stay home if you are sick, get tested, and notify the school if you are at risk of exposure/infection.

Regardless

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Minorities in America have unique mental health experiences. Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC), and other minority groups experience systemic barriers in daily life that are so unrelatable for white Americans that many refuse to believe they exist. Recognizing the disparities in access and experience of mental health can raise awareness and reduce stigma for vulnerable people.

By nearly any measure, Black people suffer disproportionately in America. Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes compared to white women. Black children are more than three times more likely to die after surgery than white children. BIPOC face countless challenges to good health, among them food, transportation, and income. Healthcare services are often more expensive, with over 30% of medical expenses faced by BIPOC being associated with health inequities. The stress of living life inescapably affected by racism has very real effects on a person’s physical and mental health

Black people are

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