Sunday, January 27, 2013

Flu for Free - Northbay Healthcare

Two recent articles - one by the former publisher of the Vacaville Reporter and one by a reporter in the Los Angeles Times - made mention of the cost of flu shots. In each, flu shots at national chain pharmacies were tagged at about $30. That is not insignificant for people on fixed incomes.

In an amusing aside, the local writer questioned his timing. The healthcare system he normally used had a long line, so he went to the national pharmacy. Only after going through both the physical and fiscal pain of a flu shot did he learn NorthBay Healthcare that week was offering free drive-through flu shots to all comers, regardless of whether they were patients of NorthBay's medical group.

Timing is everything in life and in medicine.

The L.A. Times article said that in some ways it is surprising that flu shots do not cost more. It noted the complexity of making the vaccine every year and all the liability problems associated with its manufacture and distribution. A few years ago these problems resulted in a shortage of doses and many people who should have had the shots had to do without.

NorthBay customarily makes free shots available as a community service and as part of our obligation to the community. We usually order enough doses to make sure our medical group patients have access to the vaccine and to make the vaccine available to others who may not have been able to get the shots elsewhere.

The flu is nothing to fool with since it can be deadly, particularly for the very young and the elderly. Some have concerns about getting the shots, fearing complications could ensue. I believe those concerns are without substance, but this is a free country - which is why we offer flu shots for free at least once during the flu season.

Without such precautions you may well get the flu - for free.
Source: http://newsroom.northbay.org/blogs/CEO/2013/01/flu-for-free.html#more

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