(Lincoln)– A new national policy affects childhood immunizations here in Nebraska and across the nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fully-insured children can no longer receive government-purchased vaccines at public immunization clinics beginning Oct. 1.
"In the past, particularly in rural areas, if those with insurance couldn't find a provider for vaccine, they could go to a public clinic for immunizations," said Barbara Ludwig, immunization program manager for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
"Under the new CDC guidelines, children eligible for Vaccines for Children are the only ones who can receive government-purchased vaccine through Nebraska's public immunization clinics. Vaccines for Children is a federally funded program that provides free vaccines to eligible children including those who have no health insurance or are underinsured, those who are American Indian or Alaska Native or Medicaid-enrolled."
Government-purchased vaccines fill gaps in immunization programs by providing routine vaccinations for those who don't have the ability to pay. In order to ensure vaccines remain available for people who may not have other options, it's important that fully-insured children are immunized with vaccines purchased through their insurance said the CDC.
Some public clinics may choose to purchase additional vaccine through a private vendor so they can provide immunizations to fully-insured children. Check with the clinic for its status.
Parents can also check with their child's health care provider about an alternative location for immunizations.
You can find the locations of Nebraska's public immunization clinics here – http://dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Documents/2012_Clinic_Directory.pdf.
For more information about eligibility guidelines for the VFC program, go to: http://dhhs.ne.gov/publichealth/Pages/immunization_vfc.aspx.
Courtesy- Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services