Pediatricians forced to deny flu shots to some

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Some Augusta physicians are grumbling about a shortage of seasonal flu shots, particularly in a program that could prevent children on Medicaid from receiving a shot, the Richmond County Board of Health learned Tuesday night.

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Pharmacist Kamini Patel gives Betty Luke a flu shot at Walgreens. A shortage of Vaccines for Children shots worries doctors.  Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Pharmacist Kamini Patel gives Betty Luke a flu shot at Walgreens. A shortage of Vaccines for Children shots worries doctors.

Board Chairman Terrence Cook, an Augusta allergist, said he is hearing from pediatricians who are upset that they have not received seasonal influenza vaccine via the Vaccines for Children program. The vaccine is intended for a certain population, including children on Medicaid, he said.

The vaccine can be given only to children in that program, so the physician cannot give that child a shot from another supply and make up for it later with vaccine from that program, Dr. Cook said.

"You cannot borrow against it," he said, because the state has the lot numbers and can audit a physician to check who was given those shots.

That puts pediatricians in the position of having to deny a Medicaid child a shot while giving one to a private-pay patient.

"That's creating difficulties, and they're really unhappy," Dr. Cook said. He has gotten only about 25 percent of the flu shots he ordered, with another 25 percent promised soon.

A lot of independent pharmacists in Georgia have not received their orders either, said board member Stewart Flanagin, the owner of Hill Drug Co. He has gotten one-third of his so far.

The East Central Health District did receive a "good supply" and is planning to begin its flu clinics Sept. 21, District Director Ketty Gonzalez said. The week after that, the Richmond County Health Department will try to do all 63 schools in one week.

The novel influenza A H1N1 vaccine's arrival is a "moving target," but it appears it will arrive by early November, Dr. Gonzalez said. The district has enlisted providers and pharmacists to help distribute the shot, which will be free, although private providers can charge an administration fee, she said.

In other business, the board elected Dr. Elijah Lightfoot Jr. as chairman to replace Dr. Cook, who is leaving in December after 17 years on the board, 12 as chairman. Dr. Lightfoot will take over in October. Cathy Green was elected vice chairwoman.

FLU SHOT CLINICS

Available the week of Sept. 21-25 at county health departments unless otherwise noted:

BURKE: Monday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

COLUMBIA-EVANS: Monday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

COLUMBIA-GROVETOWN: Monday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

COLUMBIA-APPLING: Monday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

EVANS LIBRARY: Wednesday, 1-4:30 p.m.; Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

EMANUEL-SWAINSBORO: Monday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesday, 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Wednesday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:40 p.m.

EMANUEL-ADRIAN: Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

EMANUEL-TWIN CITY: Monday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Tuesday, 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Wednesday-Thursday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

GLASCOCK: Monday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday, 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Wednesday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

JEFFERSON: Monday, 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

JENKINS: Monday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

LINCOLN: Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; closed daily noon to 12:30 p.m.

MCDUFFIE: Monday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Wednesday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

RICHMOND-SOUTH AUGUSTA: Monday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

RICHMOND-LANEY-WALKER: Monday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

SCREVEN: Monday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

TALIAFERRO: Monday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

WARREN: Monday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

WILKES: Monday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Comments (17) Add comment
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Asitisinaug
3
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Asitisinaug 09/09/09 - 02:48 am
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So lets see here...Doctors

So lets see here...Doctors have the flu shots for people who have private insurance, well that a good thing. But, if you are on medicare, somehow the government hasn't been able to get its act together and get the flu shots to the Doctors. Not only that but due to all of the additional red tape and regulations, Doctors can't even use shots from those who are paying and then replace them when the shots come from medicare. Thank God we are not on national health care or no one would be able to get their shots...just a very small preview here of government controlled health care....Pathetic.

NANF
4
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NANF 09/09/09 - 05:49 am
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Hey you Obama fans. Take a

Hey you Obama fans. Take a good look at this article. Medicine for only some folks and only at a certain time. You voted for him. Now when your little child or grandparents get sick with the flu and dies because medicine was denied, you can thank your president. Good luck.

freespeech
0
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freespeech 09/09/09 - 07:46 am
0
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Stands to reason. Suppliers

Stands to reason. Suppliers will ship to those paying the most and we all know the government pays the least.

zzzzzzt
2
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zzzzzzt 09/09/09 - 09:57 am
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0
Freespeech - more likely they

Freespeech - more likely they have also shipped to the government, they just haven't made it through the red tape to be distributed to the physicians. Government efficiency at its finest.

bettyboop
7
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bettyboop 09/09/09 - 09:58 am
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LOL..yes we can!.....stupid

LOL..yes we can!.....stupid sheeple

carolinafrog
14
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carolinafrog 09/09/09 - 11:03 am
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hey dame, sheeple is my word,

hey dame, sheeple is my word, but i love to see it put to good use, way to go.

ZZZZZZT, the gov't always lags behind, I have worked in the capacity of Pharmacist for the VA, am a retired military dependant and am on Medicare myself. There are all 3 Gov't run health plans and all 3 suck, I've just worked too hard all my life to be on Medicaid. No one paid for my school, I did by working multiple jobs at once. I am thankful to have private insurance other than Medicare and Tricare. Between the 3 I pay only premiums, no copays or residual bills. It helps to think ahead and choose a job with benefits and find the way to work for school that will put you in a good job.

treerock
0
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treerock 09/09/09 - 12:06 pm
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bypass the "vaccine" debacle

bypass the "vaccine" debacle by taking care of yourself. if your immune system is working properly, you won't get the flu.

Fiat_Lux
15424
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Fiat_Lux 09/09/09 - 12:32 pm
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THIS is how government run

THIS is how government run health care works. You may be outraged that the private pays can get the shots, and that really is unjust when all children should have equal access, but this is reality. Things don't work well when the government runs them, except the military, which even while doing its job very well, is an exercise in frustration from top to bottom. TODAY is the day to scream at your damocrat representatives.

Little Lamb
46021
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Little Lamb 09/09/09 - 12:50 pm
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Hey folks, these doctors are

Hey folks, these doctors are bilking you if they are giving you the seasonal flu shot in September. You need to wait until November at the earliest to get the vaccine. If you get the vaccine now you will need another shot in December. Oh wait, that's why the doctors want to give you the shot now!

corgimom
32418
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corgimom 09/09/09 - 02:15 pm
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This vaccine problem has been

This vaccine problem has been around for over 15 years, it doesn't matter who is President. The President has no control over production of flu vaccine. Why would anyone think that he does? I have private insurance and Medicare and my physician won't have it till mid-October. Who would expect that millions of units of flu vaccine, which have a short shelf life, be available all at once?

Rose
17
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Rose 09/09/09 - 04:08 pm
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I got my flu shot yesterday.

I got my flu shot yesterday. My dr has flu shots.

youbetcha
0
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youbetcha 09/09/09 - 08:01 pm
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Can't Medicaid patients just

Can't Medicaid patients just pay for a shot? They can go to the health dept of even Walgreens or Kroger? For about $25.00.
It would be worth it, to those that are worried about it.

soldout
1280
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soldout 09/09/09 - 09:14 pm
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Amen treerock; less than

Amen treerock; less than 1600 flu deaths a year per CDC is nothing to be concerned about. Those who think flu shots are a good thing need to check out drtenpenny.com. Asprins kill more than the flu and I don't see people trying to get an anti-asprin shot.

Rose
17
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Rose 09/09/09 - 09:51 pm
0
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There are those who are in

There are those who are in the high risk group that really need the shot. I am in that group. I do not need the flu.

UncleBill
6
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UncleBill 09/09/09 - 11:56 pm
0
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Let's get a few facts

Let's get a few facts straight. The Vaccines for Children program has been going on for some many years, and providers do not usually get the influenza vaccine until the Fall, in October. Providers can order their own supply (private stock) directly from distributors whenever the vaccines are available for sale. This is not new. The Vaccines for Children program is for any child whose insurance does not cover the vaccine. This includes children who have private insurance. So by definition the MEDICAID children get VFC shots. They get all their shots, not just flu, through VFC. Other children get shots depending on what their insruance pays for. If their insurance pays for shots they get it from "private stock" which the provider buys and then gets reimbursed for by the insurance company. If the insurance company does not pay then they child is "underinsured" and they get the shot from VFC stock. This means an extra step in the process for giving shots as someone has to call the insurance company to determine coverage. There is a record keeping requirement that goes with VFC so that the VFC stock goes to the proper children and not to those for which private insurance pays.

Mudfish
0
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Mudfish 09/10/09 - 12:36 am
0
0
If anyone wants the shot with

If anyone wants the shot with my name on it, you are welcome to it!

Little Lamb
46021
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Little Lamb 09/10/09 - 08:40 am
0
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Once again, they should not

Once again, they should not be giving seasonal flu vaccine to children in September. Mid-November is much more effective. You see, the protective effects of the flu vaccine wear off in about three months. If you get the shot now, you are not protected when seasonal flu season kicks in around January.

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