Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Health-insurance coveragemay not be a benefitwhen it comes tochildhood vaccinations.A study, reported in theJournal of the AmericanMedical Association (August8, 2007), found thatunderinsured children whose insurancedoes not cover the recommended vaccinesmay never receive them.

This finding is ironic, because uninsuredchildren or children who qualify for publicinsurance can receive vaccines at nocost. An estimated 14% of children areunderinsured. The options for these childrenare to pay for the vaccines or to getthe vaccines free at a federally qualifiedhealth center or rural health clinic.Whereas the children technically haveaccess, they may have to travel hundredsof miles to the closest center.

States can provide vaccines to privatephysicians who treat underinsured childrenand to public health clinics. Manystates lacking the finances are not purchasingnewer, more expensive vaccinesfor these children, however.

Officials at the Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention (CDC) are againstprioritizing vaccines. Instead, they supportbetter insurance coverage and increasedgovernment funding.