To the Editor:
Earlier this year, the Indiana State Department of Health provided local health departments with guidelines for the use of publicly funded vaccines, advising them to provide those vaccines only to underinsured and uninsured individuals beginning July 1, 2011.
The intent of this policy was to help assure that publicly funded vaccines remained available for our uninsured population throughout the year and to comply with the strict guidelines for the use of publicly funded vaccines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The State Health Department will delay implementing these guidelines from July 1-Jan. 1, 2012. With the delay, the summer "back-to-school" immunization push for children to meet school entry requirements will not be interrupted.
In many counties, local health departments are the primary provider of all immunizations regardless of an individual's insurance status.
This delay ensures that a process will be in place which allows ready access to immunizations for all individuals while assuring appropriate use of funding sources.
Beginning in November, ISDH will provide implementation instructions to local health departments to assist with appropriate use of publicly funded and privately purchased vaccine supplies.
The State Health Department is aggressively reviewing various solutions that will support the dedicated efforts of local health departments to deliver immunizations across the communities they support, including both uninsured and insured individuals.
Gregory N. Larkin, MD, FAAFP, FACOEM,
Indiana State Health Commissioner