Vaccine costs outpacing rates county charges

Health department seeks price hike for immunizations

The Cole County Health Department is proposing rate increases for vaccines due to increased costs of immunizations for the Health Department.

“We’re only trying to (make the rate increase) equal to the costs we’re paying (for the vaccines),” said Marie Peoples, director of the Cole County Health Department, to the County Commission on Monday.

Peoples said even people with private insurance are coming to the Health Department for vaccinations.

“Because the costs of vaccines have risen drastically, many physicians’ offices have stopped stocking them,” Peoples said. “Another reason is that many people can’t pay their copays.”

“We charge below cost, so it’s cheaper for them.”

With the rates the Health Department currently charges for vaccines, it’s losing money, Peoples said.

Also, there aren’t grants to offset those costs for adults, she said.

Western District Commissioner Kris Scheperle and Presiding Commissioner Marc Ellinger said they are in favor of the rate increases so that the department can break even on vaccination costs.

Ellinger said he thinks the Health Department should establish the prices for adults and absorb some of the vaccine costs for kids.

“If we have poor kids who need shots, we should be bending over backwards to get them (vaccinations) for them (the kids).”

The commission also discussed rate increases for the health department’s restaurant inspections. No action was taken at the meeting.

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