Last month, a new state rule became effective requiring county health departments to offer free vaccines only to those children who are uninsured or on Medicaid. The rule was created to put the state in compliance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
The Indiana State Department of Health delayed the requirement last July to avoid any interruption of back-to-school immunization efforts of local health departments.
Families with insurance may still receive immunizations for a cost at their local health departments but will have to obtain reimbursement from their insurance companies. However, children may receive free vaccines from a health department if their insurance:
- Does not pay for vaccines
- Cap for vaccine coverage has been met for the year
- Covers specific vaccines
St. Joseph County Health Officer Thomas Felger, M.D., notified area families about the new rule in a press release. “The intention is NOT to leave children without the protection that vaccines provide, but rather to distribute vaccine cost to insurance policies that include vaccine coverage,” he explained.