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Wichita County Health District Implements New Immunization Rule

<font size=2> <P>Many Texomans turn to their county health departments for quick, affordable vaccinations for their children but if your insurance covers immunizations, Mechell Dixon explains why heading to the health department is not really an option anymore.</P></font>

A cut in funding has the Wichita County Health District implementing a new change that's expected to reduce the number of children nurses see each year.

Last year, an estimated 5,300 children received immunizations at the Wichita County Health District but this year that number is expected to decrease.

"It's because of a reduction in funding from the federal level down to the state and then that drizzles down to us locally....so, there's been a decrease in the amount of funds available for state provided vaccine," says Kay Sabine, Immunization Charge Nurse for the Health District.

That also means the health district will no longer provide immunizations for children whose private insurance covers the shots.

The rule started January 1st, but health officials say parents can get around that rule.

"Number one, they have to pay the total cost up front and then file. And number two, right now, we are not carrying all of the private pay vaccines for kids now in our inventory. We have to kind of wait and see how much demand we've got for the vaccines that they're needing... so we don't have stock of everything at this point," explains Sabine.

Health officials say this new requirement will force private physicians to be better prepared for their young patients.

"They're gonna need to carry more vaccine that they haven't in the past. It's gonna make them need to provide more immunization services than they're accustomed to doing cause they're usually sending their folks over to us," says Sabine.

The cost for immunizations at the health district ranges from $55 for tetanus to $120 for menengitis.

We do want to point out that the Wichita County Health District will provide immunizations for kids who are on Medicaid or CHIP, as well as for kids whose insurance does not cover vaccinations.

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