CHARLESTON, S.C. — South Carolinians who have health insurance are not currently eligible to get vaccinated against the flu at county health departments, according to a newspaper report.
Flu shots are not currently available at county-level health departments across the state for patients covered by Medicare, Medicaid or private health insurance, Department of Health and Environmental Control spokesman Mark Plowden told the Post and Courier of Charleston on Thursday.
But officials said Friday that should change when more shipments of the vaccine are received.
This is the first flu season that the department is testing this new policy, which DHEC has been advertising since last year, according to Plowden. On its Web site, the agency says “DHEC will focus its limited resources on people who are uninsured and underinsured” and urges people with some sort of health coverage to seek the vaccine from a provider “who can bill their insurance.”
Cases of the flu have already been confirmed in South Carolina this season.
The sticker price for a flu shot through the department is $25 for adults and $13 for children. That fee had previously been waived for patients at county clinics covered by Medicare or Medicaid because DHEC billed the government for the cost of those patients’ shots.
Insured patients should soon be able to get the flu vaccine at county health departments, agency officials said Friday. Once a backordered shipment that was ordered in March arrives, DHEC says, it will begin offering the flu vaccine to adults with insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid.
“It is important for people to understand DHEC is open for business as usual and will continue serving the public this flu season,” director Catherine Templeton said.
“As soon as we receive our shipment of vaccines for adults with insurance, we will begin offering flu shots to these individuals as well.”