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Distribution of COVID-19 vaccines is one of the most ambitious immunization campaigns ever conducted in the United States. Vaccine maker Moderna appears poised to win authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine just days after Pfizer-BioNTech did the same. The information overload on the vaccine trials and roll out can be overwhelming. We have you covered with one overview on what you need to know. Simply click “read more” below …

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Today, on Giving Tuesday, Nurture KC is asking for the community’s help to rally around our Giving Tuesday 2020 effort and, in turn, the vulnerable families we support through our Healthy Start program. These families have been hit disproportionally hard by COVID-19, as many lost their jobs in the hospitality industry as waiters, cooks, hotel maintenance workers and more.

“Every dollar we raise today stays in KC to help our local families. Every single donation matters and directly helps our moms and babies, who are struggling right now,” says Tracy Russell, Executive Director of Nurture KC. “We have been supporting our families with services throughout the pandemic, such as providing some food and diapers, but it’s just not enough.”

Anyone can give at www.nurturekc.org/givingtuesday2020 and donations are tax-deductible.

Giving Tuesday is a global generosity movement, unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. Giving Tuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: A day that encourages people to do good. Over the past eight years, this idea has grown into a year-round global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.

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With several school districts heading back to in-person learning this week, the time is right to remind the public to get their flu shots. Nurture KC is offering 10 free drive-through flu clinics throughout Kansas City in partnership with Walgreen’s, which has provided the vaccines. The next clinic is Wednesday, Oct. 7, at St. James United Methodist in Kansas City, Mo. See the entire clinic schedule here.

“Each October the Mid America Immunization Coalition (MAIC), which is an entity of Nurture KC, coordinates free flu clinics for underserved populations within the KC metro,” says Tracy Russell, Executive Director of Nurture KC. “This effort has never been more important than this flu season with COVID-19 cases on the rise across Kansas City. It’s a scary scenario. We want to help people prepare and want everyone to have the chance to be vaccinated if they choose. Quite simply, vaccines save lives.”

Nurture KC shows how immunizations save lives through a new immunization story bank on its web site featuring these local stories:

Andy Marso – “I almost died from Meningitis”
Jenny Dioszeghy – “My infant got Measles”
Curtisha Anderson – “Lupus weakens my immune system and puts me at risk”

“The bacterial infection had released toxins which were burning through my blood vessels. Blood could not get to my extremities. Three weeks later, when I woke up (from a coma), my limbs were in bad shape – essentially rotting away while still being attached to my body,” says Marso. “I’ll never forget when my bandages were removed and I saw what was left of my hands and feet for the first time. Awful doesn’t begin to describe it … Nothing could prepare me for the experience.”

Nurture KC promotes family health through community planning, education, advocacy and collaboration with organizations addressing infant and maternal mortality, immunization and child safety. Nurture KC is committed to health equity for all families – regardless of race, place or circumstance.

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Two of Nurture KC’s trusted partners – Children’s Mercy and Truman Medical Centers – are hosting a virtual conference on the emotional well-being of mothers during pregnancy and in the first years after childbirth. This event will take place Oct. 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and is for pediatricians, social workers, psychologists, OB/Gyns, nurse practitioners, child-care providers and anyone working with parents and young children.

Registration is free and can be completed at: http://bit.ly/PerinatalConf2020.

Learn more about this event.

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Infant mortality rates have declined, but racial disparities still exist. Tracy Russell, of Nurture KC, and Dr. Traci Johnson, of Truman Medical Centers, share how to bridge that gap in this in-depth story by KCTV-5. Data from the National Academy of Sciences and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show Black babies are 2 to 3 times more likely to survive when cared for by Black doctors. It’s not necessarily intentional racism at work; rather cultural and racial similarities can help doctors recognize subtle cues that can lead to lives saved.

Russell says expanding Medicaid in Missouri also will allow better access to healthcare. “States that have expanded Medicaid have a 50% greater reduction in infant mortality than in states that fail to act,” she said.

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Good news to make immunizations more accessible, keep children on track and empower the public with options to protect their health. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced state-licensed pharmacists can now order and administer FDA-approved vaccines to those ages 3 to 18 (subject to certain requirements) during the coronavirus pandemic.

This change was made possible through a third amendment to the Declaration under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act (PREP Act) to: “increase access to lifesaving childhood vaccines and decrease the risk of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks as children across the United States return to daycare, preschool and school,” according to HHS.

Alex Azar, HHS Secretary, said this action “means easier access to lifesaving vaccines for our children, as we seek to ensure immunization rates remain high during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

For more information visit: https://bit.ly/2FULTuz

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Exciting news: We’re pleased Medicaid Expansion has passed in Missouri! Now more families, such as the ones we serve, will have access to health care. The Kansas City Star reports: “The state’s urban areas voted overwhelmingly in favor of expanded Medicaid. The rural areas voted against it by wide margins. It was in the suburbs where the amendment ultimately prevailed.” Read the full article here .

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A letter from Nurture KC’s Executive Director …

As I was listening to our annual meeting presenters make the case for the drivers of maternal mortality from personal experience to professional expertise, my emotions vacillated between appreciation for their insight and knowledge to frustration that maternal mortality is still such a problem nationally and locally.  Since our annual meeting, I would add another reaction to this list:  hope.

The reason for my optimism is the opportunity to bring real change to the health of both moms and babies through Medicaid Expansion.  Amendment 2 is on the ballot in Missouri on August 4.  If approved, 230,000 Missourians would gain access to health care, becoming the 37th state to do so.  Many of these are workers who do not have employer-sponsored coverage and lack the income to purchase health insurance.  Currently, Missouri ranks among the lowest of states when it comes to income eligibility for Medicaid at a limit of $373 per month for a family of three.  Under expansion, the income threshold would rise to $30,000 a year for a family of three, making coverage available for many working families. (Click below to read more.)

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Kansas City, Mo., July 13, 2020 – Nurture KC helps moms and babies across the KC metro area get off to a Healthy Start (our flagship program) in life. Our annual meeting on “Addressing Maternal Mortality: Driving Data into Action” is on July 17 from 8:30 a.m. to noon via Zoom. This event is free, open to the public and also will be attended by healthcare professionals.

Our headline presenter is Saleemah McNeil – Black maternal mortality advocate and national speaker. She helps families of color heal from traumatic birth experiences and transition into parenthood. Her work allows families to thrive, not just survive, using an anti-racism and trauma-sensitive framework. (Click below to read more.)

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