South Carolina’s public health agency says it hopes to begin offering the flu vaccine to those with insurance again.
In a press release Friday, the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced that flu vaccines for adults with health insurance are on their way to the state. The announcement followed a report from the Charleston Post & Courier that noted the agency would only be offering the vaccines for uninsured patients.
The paper quoted agency spokesman Mark Plowden as saying that flu shots would no longer be available at county-level health departments across the state for patients covered by Medicare, Medicaid or private health insurance. The newspaper said this was the first flu season for the new policy.
However, Friday’s announcement said there had not been enough vaccines to offer for everyone. A shipment ordered in March was delayed due to a back order from the manufacturer, according to DHEC director Catherine Templeton.
“It is important for people to understand DHEC is open for business as usual and will continue serving the public this flu season,” Templeton said in the statement. “As soon as we receive our shipment of vaccines for adults with insurance, we will begin offering flu shots to (individuals with health insurance) as well.” DHEC said it will begin offering flu vaccines to adults with insurance, including those with Medicare and Medicaid, as soon as the agency receives its supply.
Last month, the agency received its shipment of flu vaccinations for adults who are uninsured and began offering flu shots to this underserved population.
“DHEC is committed to helping all South Carolinians protect themselves from flu,” Templeton continued. “The best way to prevent flu is to get a flu shot every year. While we await our shipment of flu vaccine for insured adults, we encourage all adults with Medicare, Medicaid or another type of health insurance to visit their health care provider or local pharmacy to get a flu shot today to help them stay healthy during this flu season.”
Those who do have insurance coverage can get the vaccine at other locations, including pharmacies, doctors’ offices urgent care centers, federally qualified health centers, hospitals, and school or university-based clinics.