• Lonnie Granier

Health Affairs: To Improve COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution, Engage Behavioral Health Providers

States’ distribution plans for COVID-19 vaccines currently outline strategies to reach health care workers, long-term care facilities, and some priority populations, but most do not explicitly address populations with serious mental illness and chronic substance use disorders. Many such people are vulnerable to COVID-19 because they receive treatment in residential or inpatient facilities or live in shared housing or congregate care, places where the virus has been shown to spread quickly. They have high rates of comorbid physical health conditions that place them at risk for poor COVID-19 outcomes, and there is also compelling evidence of higher COVID-19 mortality among people who were recently diagnosed with a mental disorder. As states refine their plans to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, they should engage behavioral health providers to develop strategies to reach the populations they serve. Read more

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