The New COVID Vaccine Rollout Is Off to a 'Nightmare' Start


Confusion and unexpected costs are stalking the rollout of this fall’s COVID-19 vaccination program.

“Nightmare is the first word that comes to mind,” Glen Cote of Acton, Massachusetts, said, according to WBZ-TV.

Cote canceled his planned appointment for a COVID-19 shot when, moments before his arrival at his local CVS store, he learned by text that the shot — formerly free — would cost $190.99.

“I thought that we’re supposed to take care of each other in the richest country on earth, and I can’t even get a COVID booster to keep myself and my friends and family safe,” he said.

Cote was not alone. San Francisco Bay Area residents said the price tag might keep them from getting the vaccine, according to KNTV-TV.

House Republicans Respond to Hunter Biden's Impeachment Testimony Demand by Threatening to Hold Him in Contempt

“Being healthy is important but paying $200 for a vaccine shot is too much,” Ryan Dougherty of Lafayette said.

“Of course, that’s much too expensive,” fellow Lafayette resident Cinda Ely said.

Officials sought to frame the experience of Americans who have been at the front of the line for the shots as a bumpy transition into a new world of accounting for the costs of the shots.

During the national public health emergency that ended in May, the federal government bought the vaccines and distributed them. Now, drug companies, pharmacies and insurance companies have been working out the mechanics.

Will you be getting the new COVID vaccine?

Officials indicated that those with early appointments may be caught up in a period when computer systems are being updated, and suggested that rescheduling an appointment could resolve any cost issues.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra insisted the Biden administration’s intent is that consumers do not pay an out-of-pocket fee.

“Please make sure you’re talking to your insurance company because you should be covered, by law. If you are insured, you are covered for COVID. If you are on Medicare, you are covered. If you are on Medicaid, you are covered and if you don’t have insurance — through this Bridge Access program — you are covered,” Becerra said, according to The Hill.

He said emerging cost issues “will be addressed pretty quickly.”

However, initial comments suggested there still could be a cost to taxpayers through the costs of providing the shots to individuals on Medicaid through local government health departments.

Trump Celebrates Appellate Court's 'Very Good Ruling' from Inside NYC Courthouse

Lori Freeman, CEO of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, said local health departments may face a gap between what the vaccine costs and what they will be paid through reimbursements for vaccinating individuals on Medicaid.

“Some of the challenges we’re seeing specifically with the local health departments’ involvement are that there are some billing issues with the vaccine in that the reimbursement available to local health departments is less than the cost of the vaccine,” Freeman said.

She said that one reimbursement rate she has been told of is that the health department in question will be paid $65 for every vaccine that it buys at a cost of $120 per dose.

“This is a billion-plus dollar program. As I said, you don’t have to pay out of pocket for your vaccine but it is not … it’s not cost-free. There are costs to making a vaccine available,” he said.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Submit a Correction →