Linda Behm, the public health nurse manager for Waupaca County, reminds parents that county health department can no longer immunize people who have insurance that covers vaccines.
“If persons are unsure of vaccine coverage, they should contact the number on the back of their insurance cards,” Behm said.
Beginning Oct. 1, families with health insurance will need to schedule their children’s vaccination appointments with their health care provider rather than at local health departments.
A recent change in federal policy requires state-supplied vaccines to be targeted to children not covered by insurance.
Due to the state’s widespread pertussis (whooping cough) outbreak, state-supplied pertussis vaccines will still be provided to any child visiting a local health department, regardless of whether they have insurance coverage, and state-supplied seasonal influenza vaccine will also be available to all children during the 2012-2013 flu season.
“All families will still be able to access these essential services,” said Karen McKeown, Wisconsin Division of Public Health administrator. “Families with insurance that covers vaccinations should schedule appointments with their family physician, and those without insurance, or whose insurance does not cover immunizations, can still visit their local health departments to immunize their children.”
Children eligible for the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, which provides publicly-purchased vaccines to children enrolled in or eligible for Medicaid and BadgerCare, and Native Americans and Alaskans aged 18 and younger, can continue to receive immunizations from participating public and private health care providers.
McKeown noted that immunization is the best way to protect children from many diseases that are potentially harmful and sometimes deadly, and encouraged parents to make sure children are up-to-date on their immunizations.
For information on the Wisconsin Immunization Program, visit www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/immunization/index.htm