Published: Fri, November 22, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

SHORTAGE: Ottawa Public Health runs out of high-dose flu vaccine

SHORTAGE: Ottawa Public Health runs out of high-dose flu vaccine

The University Health Center believes it is important for students, faculty and staff to know how to differentiate between common cold and flu symptoms, reduce their risk of contracting the flu virus and prevent spreading the flu virus.

The more people that get their shot, the less flu is likely to be passed around.

Here in Waterdown, you can get roll up your sleeve at five locations, which are listed on the map below.

Public Health says immunization offers the best protection for those six months of age and older.

About 23 to 25 per cent of the territory's population gets the flu shot each year, and that, along with some buffer room, went into the logic behind placing that order.

In Southern California, Cigna paid $47.53 for a flu shot from a primary care doctor with MemorialCare in Long Beach.

Although flu activity is high, deaths have been limited to this point.

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But the price a single insurer pays for the flu shot can vary significantly from provider to provider, according to Galewitz.

Cigna paid $32 to CVS for a flu shot in downtown Washington and $40 to CVS less than 10 miles away in Rockville, Md.

Typically, health insurers' reimbursements to private health providers are closely guarded secrets. In comparison, Medicaid pays providers significantly less for a flu shot, reimbursing $19 in CT and $15 in Washington, D.C.

"We see the same pattern for more expensive services like MRIs or knee replacements", she said.

The issue goes beyond flu shots, demonstrating a general issue with the USA health system: a lack of price transparency, according to Melnick.

"Prices are inconsistent and confusing for consumers", he said. A full list of locations offering flu shots can be found at the county's immunization website or by calling 211 for the county's health hotline. When everyone gets a flu shot, we are protecting the very young who don't get the shot as well as the elderly and others with complicated health problems for whom the shot doesn't work as well. Some hospital systems such as Baptist Health in South Florida have also started providing free flu shots for people without insurance.

While patients are insulated from the direct cost of the flu shot, after a while, higher prices, such as the $85 per shot, add up for insurers, leading them to push the expenses back onto members through higher premiums, Galewitz reports. The first human testing began on a small scale this year at the National Institutes of Health. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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