Funding Changes To Impact School Shots Rush at Public Health Departments

Preparing for back to school involves more than getting clothes, shoes and supplies.

For some students, it also requires shots.

In the past, many parents would take their kids to the county health department and get the shots for a low cost.

But this year, parents, who's children are covered by private health insurance, can expect to pay a whole lot more for vaccines.

Preparing for school can be a pain for students.

This year, state law requires kids entering kindergarten through third and seventh through 10th grades be immunized.

In the past, many parents accomplished that task at their county health departments, but earlier this year, that changed.

"If your children are covered by private health insurance, your best bet is to go back to your private doctor for your shots," says Kay Sabine, immunization charge nurse with the Wichita County Public Health District.

It's all because of a change in the funding at county health departments.

Patients on Medicaid or Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIPS, can get shots here at not cost while uninsured patients pay based on their family size and income.

But the supply of vaccines for patients with private health insurance is no longer plentiful.

"We do carry limited amounts of private pay vaccine here. But if you come here and use that private pay vaccine, you're going to have to pay for that immunization completely up front with your own money, then we will give you the information you need to file your private health insurance and get reimbursed on your own," Sabine explains.

Here's what the Wichita County Health District charges private pay patients for vaccinations.

A polio shot is $44, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) shot is $57 and a chickenpox shot is $110.

Again, kids covered by Medicaid and CHIPS pay nothing and uninsured students pay a reduced amount.

Also, since school starts in 8 days, the Wichita County Health District is holding several late immunization clinics this month.

Dates are August 21st, 23rd and 28th.

Hours on those days are from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., at the health district

And officials say you must be signed in by 6:30 p.m. to get vaccinated.

For more information call (940) 761-6841.

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