Flu Vaccine Delivery Underway. Part 3

Because pneumonia and other infections with pneumococcus bacteria are the most common complications of influenza, people in one of the high-risk groups are being urged to get vaccinated against pneumococcal infections. Medicare will also pay for those shots, but will require a signed consent and a check on the recipient’s age and health, and whether she or he has received a vaccination before. Normally, one pneumococcal immunization is good for a lifetime.

There have been television and newspaper stories of price gouging, with prices as high as $150 being charged in a few places. Although the American Medical Association believed problem was sufficiently serious to prompt it to issue a statement deploring it, federal and state health agencies agree that profiteering has not been widespread. Most public and private healthcare providers are reportedly charging only $10 to $15 a shot.

Scam artists are trying to profit from the vaccine delay. The CDC has been getting reports of telephone calls asking for donations to purchase vaccine for the elderly. The CDC said it “is unaware of and does not support organizations soliciting funds for the purchase of flu vaccine,” and warned that no one should give out credit card numbers over the telephone, unless they had made the call themselves and were sure they are dealing with a reputable agency.

Health Agencies Confident of Vaccine Supplies
The CDC, the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Public Health Service agree that they now have no doubt the full 75 million to 77 million doses needed will be in the hands of healthcare providers before the end of December. The CDC, however, is still urging that immunization campaigns not start until middle or late November.

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