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MADISON — Beginning October 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, state health officials confirmed this week. 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.”
Parents are encouraged to contact their insurance company if they are uncertain whether their insurance covers vaccinations.
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 healthcare 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. Families can visit the Wisconsin Immunization Registry to find out which immunizations their child needs: http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/immunization/publicaccess.htm
For information on the Wisconsin Immunization Program: http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/