Growing concern about vaccine costs

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 7, 2007

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Pediatricians are concerned that the soaring costs of vaccines combined with lower reimbursements by insurers will lead to the under-immunization of children and outbreaks of preventable diseases.

Childhood vaccines are vital to growing up healthy, said Jay E. Berkelhamer, MD, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. "However, the system for delivering vaccines is broken, and we're going to be in real trouble is it's not fixed soon."

Pediatricians spend tens of thousands of dollars on vaccines and often wait months for payment by Medicaid and private health plans, according to the AAP. Often payments are below the costs of these expensive vaccines. Gardasil, for example, the new cervical cancer vaccine, costs physicians $360 for the recommended series of three doses per person.

There also are costs for ordering and storage that payers don't reimburse. As a result, some pediatricians are not offering the newest vaccines, the AAP noted.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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