Adults may no longer get free shots from Public Health

NORWICH – Chenango County’s $250,000 annual vaccination program is under the microscope, as officials described tentative plans this week to discontinue offering free shots to adults.

Inoculations would still be free for children under 19 through the county’s Public Health Department clinics, but adults would be charged the cost of each dose. Prices range from $47 per hepatitis or meningitis vaccine to $160 per shot for shingles.

An official estimated about 30 to 40 percent of the free vaccines given per year are administered to adults.

Changes in New York’s immunization reporting rules have driven the pending change. Public Health Director Marcus Flindt said the state previously “didn’t care” if vaccines were given to children or to adults. A new state health department software program requires counties to account for free vaccines and recipients’ ages.

“They are tightening their budget,” Flindt said. “We’ve really come to the point where we need to charge the general public, county agencies, fire department and emergency management services for their vaccinations.”

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