Over three years of pandemic overload and the end of the emergency phase after this: this is too much for people to handle. While the virus is no more a headache than it was in 2020-2021, people are curious about what they should expect as the emergency has expired. Some feel bothered about free access to tests and vaccines. The insured and uninsured segments are anxious to know what this declaration brings. Let's cover the uninsured people because they are more concerned about affordability. The good thing is these people can still get free COVID shots until the stockpiles are available. It's relevant for both insured and uninsured American populations.
In July 2022, the federal government procured 171 million booster doses for omicron. Of them, the public has used 56 million shots, as per CDC. Hence, over 100 million vaccines are still accessible for free. If you want to leverage this, you can secure your vaccine before the fall because the stock may empty soon, as the behavioral and human resource experts inform. After the stockpile ends, the private market will take up the distribution. That means healthcare providers will receive Moderna and Pfizer vaccines directly from private companies, and the doses may cost around USD $130, more than five times higher.
Specific corporate and government programs will likely become effective in protecting the interest of uninsured individuals.
The vaccines will be available in the commercial market at an increased price. Households that cannot afford vaccine shots for kids can benefit from CDC's children's program to access them free of cost. Anyone 19 or younger without insurance coverage or Medicaid eligibility can benefit from the permanent VFC initiative. Under the same program, people already receive free chickenpox and measles shots. This critical step ensures children's accessibility to the COVID-19 vaccine for free. Health and human services agencies state that about five million children are on the verge of losing Medicaid or other health insurance plans due to the end of the emergency.
Permanent program for uninsured
The federal government intends to start a VFC-like program for the uninsured population, who avoid COVID-19 and other vaccinations due to cost factors. While it may take time to implement it, the administration has initiated the HHS Bridge Access Program. This temporary provision allows the uninsured American population to receive free shots until the stock lasts. Under this plan, the CDC will source Coronavirus vaccines at a lower rate for distribution to different local and state health departments. The experts clarify that HHS will likely cover the vaccine administration and treatment cost. At the same time, manufacturing companies may supply pharmacies with free doses and medications under their assistance programs for patients. However, it’s too early to expect anything on this front.
Nevertheless, COVID-19 is still a reality despite losing its strength. Keeping your immunity strong and taking vaccines is necessary. It can be the perfect time to opt for a dose to immunize yourself. You can protect yourself from infection without paying from your pocket.