By Stan Welch – Anderson County residents who are used to getting their annual flu shots at various events held by Health Department officials will have to make different arrangements this year, and even more so in the future.
Rachelle Shirley, SCDHEC public information officer for District One, confirmed that DHEC will no longer sponsor inoculation clinics at local churches or community centers. Anyone wishing to receive a flu shot will have to make an appointment at the Anderson County Health Department.
Even more importantly, after this year’s flu season, DHEC will be discontinuing their flu shot program almost entirely for anyone with any kind of private medical insurance. Ms. Shirley explained that it is essentially a matter of the marketplace.
“In past years, we have held clinics where we would inoculate up to 2000 people. Now we see a fourth of those folks at events. There are just too many places to get the shots nowadays from drug stores to grocery stores to all sorts of places.”
Shirley said that DHEC regrets the decline in the numbers of people using their program. “It was a profitable operation for us, and it was also very good public relations. People got to meet their health department workers and see how professional and friendly they are. But we simply can’t justify the expense and the time anymore.”
Those who will be able to still got shots at the DHEC offices will essentially be the homeless population; those with no other access to such vaccines. Also, Native Americans eligible for Medicaid and children immunized under the Vaccines for Children program will receive the shots for no cash expense.
Those with private insurance which does not cover immunizations can receive shots for thirteen dollars. All must make appointments however.
Shirley reminds those considering a flu shot to wait until the end of this month or sometime in October to get their shots.