I think we can all agree immunizations are important to protecting the health and well being of our children. However, a recently passed vaccine mandate effectively strips pediatricians of the power to choose where they obtain their vaccines.
It was in embedded in the 600 pages proposals that were sprung on legislators at the very last moment. Doctors are crying foul. There were no public hearings for lawmakers to evaluate the pediatrician’s thoughts, parental input and insurance company input. This has me concerned.
By January 1, 2013 all health care providers who administer vaccines to children must receive their vaccines solely from the Department of Public Health.
Currently, vaccines are provided to children through three methods including:
- Pediatricians purchase vaccines in the marketplace and insurance companies reimburse the cost.
- Children who are uninsured or underinsured or are covered by Medicaid can receive free vaccines through the federal Vaccines for Children program.
- Connecticut has a program funded by insurance suppliers to provide additional vaccines to children.
Last year, the Childhood Immunization Task Force was established and tasked with considering whether our state should continue universal childhood immunizations. It was also required to do the following:
- develop a plan to maintain children’s access to quality immunizations
- determine how to respond to new federal recommendations for immunizations not currently provided by the DPH
- allow doctors to select vaccines and have the DPH provide them
- determine how best to cover these associated costs
According to the task force’s report, there must be further study of the vaccine mandate.
It states that “given the complexity of the issues the task force addressed, as well as the importance of achieving the highest possible rate of childhood immunization in a cost-effective manner, a successor task force or similar body should continue to evaluate and monitor” several issues, including “the conditions and implications of requiring mandatory provider participation in the state childhood immunization program.”