Number Of Health Care Providers Offering Child Vaccinations Down Due To Costs

Published: Thursday, January 8, 2015 - 3:31pm
Updated: Thursday, January 8, 2015 - 3:32pm

The cost of childhood vaccinations are leaving some Arizona physicians unable to offer immunizations for diseases such as whooping cough and measles.  

It’s not a new crisis, according to state health officials, it’s an issue that has been plaguing many providers for the past several years. Of the 5,100 pediatricians and family care physicians in the state, only around 1,100 provide vaccines. That’s because for some it’s cost prohibitive.

"It’s not just the cost of the actual dose of vaccine that needs to be recouped, but also the cost to staff, the people who do the inventory and ordering of vaccines to pay for the insurance that covers those vaccines, to pay for the electricity to power the refrigerators, to pay for the nurse that provides the vaccine information sheet to a parent or the person getting the vaccine, the supplies used to swab someone’s arm and give them the injection," said  Jessica Rigler with the Arizona Department of Health Services.

The National Vaccine Advisory Committee has recommended that providers be reimbursed at 125 percent of cost to break even. But private and federal insurers often pay much less than the vaccine costs. That puts some providers, especially those in more rural areas, in a difficult position. 

"It depends on your community too, so in some counties there’s great coverage in pediatric offices for vaccines and in other counties there may be one pediatrician or no pediatricians offering vaccines."

Her agency, along with stakeholders, recently released a report with recommendations they hope will lead to solutions when it comes to the cost of vaccines. 

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