Flu Vaccine Delivery Underway. Part 2

In Maryland, about 80 percent of the number of doses needed for the state’s child vaccination program had been received. The manager of the state’s immunization programs, Gregory Reed, says the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene had received so many inquiries that it sent out a “Dear Colleague” letter to 3,800 physicians, assuring them that the supply is going to be adequate, and urging that in the meantime they adhere to guidelines that would make sure people at higher risk get shots first. Reed says he had been told the CDC hoped to get at least 25 percent of every public or private healthcare provider’s order filled by Nov. 17.

As in Maryland, Louisiana, Florida and most states, the vaccine is primarily distributed through private channels — hospitals, clinics and individual physicians — so there is no way to track figures on how quickly their orders are being delivered.

Some of the vaccination programs that were being carried out in supermarket and drugstore chains are being delayed or discontinued, perhaps partly because they were widely criticized for giving shots to all comers, rather than adhering to the guidelines. In some cases, though, state officials report that they believe the primary reason was that the stores had run out of vaccine and were at least temporarily unable to get more.

Who Pays How Much for Flu Vaccines
The Health Care Financing Administration decided earlier this year to have Medicare pay for flu shots for all its beneficiaries who have Part B coverage, and will no longer require that the vaccine be administered by a physician or doctor of osteopathy (D.O.). State regulations, though, may still impose that requirement, and Medicare will not cover people with Part A only.

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