We Paid For It: Flu Vaccines
OKLAHOMA CITY - So far in 2012, the state health department report 14 people have been hospitalized with influenza. That's a far cry from this time one year ago when almost 500 people had been admitted.
Still, the State Health Department says February is the peak month for people to get the flu. But who's paying for the vaccines given out by county health departments? We all are.
Last flu season the state spent almost $2.4 million dollar buying nearly 180,000 vaccines for Oklahomans. That's about $13 per shot.
Those are given out to county health departments that charge $25 dollars each. But, there are several groups who don't have to pay depending on income, age and ethnicity.
This season the state bought 90,000 vaccines, about half as many as last year.
The price tag - $ 1,084,875. But the state says it will recoup a lot of that cost.
The fee goes back to the State Health Department and it buys vaccines and supplies for the next season.
The bottom line was cut in half this year compared to last. And since the vaccine is more readily available these days, the state can buy less.
Our state's two largest counties, Oklahoma and Tulsa, purchase their own vaccines.... using *county* funds. We've listed Oklahoma County's numbers on News9.com. see below
Now there is a program for parents to get their children vaccinated for free. That's actually a federally funded program called Vaccines for Children and does not cost our state any money.
Fee schedule for local county health departments:
• No charge for families whose income is less than 185 percent of the federal poverty level.
• No charge for adults 65 years of age and older.
• No charge for children who have no health insurance, or are on SoonerCare or are Native American or Alaskan natives, or children whose insurance does not cover vaccines.
• No charge for persons enrolled in HealthChoice and the Oklahoma Public Employees Health and Welfare insurance plans who present their insurance cards.
• Children and adults with health insurance that covers vaccines and those with incomes above 185 percent of the poverty level will be charged a fee of $25.00 for flu vaccine to cover the cost of the vaccine and the cost of administering the vaccine.
• Cash, check and credit cards are accepted for payment.
The State Health Department wants us to include this list of ways to prevent the spread of germs:
* Cover your cough, using your sleeve, not your hand
* Wash your hands often.
* Stay home when you're sick.
* It's not too late to get a flu vaccine
Oklahoma County uses county funds to provide free or discounted flu shots to those who qualify.
Here's how the county's chief financial officer calculated the costs:
The total amount spent on flu vaccines was $35,466.28; the total amount collected YTD is $37,561.87; therefore, no local ad valorem taxpayer money was spent on the vaccine. Of course, this only includes the cost of the vaccine and doesn't include labor or miscellaneous supplies cost. We don't have an accurate way to measure this cost, but according to our cost analysis at the beginning of the year, the total cost for labor and supplies was estimated at $8.52 per shot. Therefore, an estimate of this cost for the 2,950 doses purchased is $25,134. Therefore, if we include these costs in the total, the total local taxpayer money involved is $23,038.41.