Friday, February 19, 2010

Vaccines

Last year, I wrote this blog post about the kids getting a chicken pox vaccine. I didn't understand why the vaccine was so important. I had chicken pox. I was uncomfortable for a week. I am fine. It seems they over vaccinate our kids these days.

Now, I can see how ignorant I was.

If Noah gets any serious disease right now, we will be air-evac'd to Phoenix again. We have a hospital up here, but they will be the first to tell you that they don't specialize in children's medicine, particularly preemies who are very ill. And to be quite honest, if my baby is sick, I'm going to the experts - not to a hospital that hasn't treated a case like his once in the past 2 years.

Emily came home with a note from school that stated there was a case of chicken pox in her classroom. My first thought was thank God she is vaccinated. Thank God Noah won't get it. Now, I know kids can get vaccinated and still get a milder version of the disease, but that's unusual. So, I was relieved that she was protected. She took the bullet for her preemie brother.

Then came the seasonal and swine flu shots. We don't normally get a flu shot. After weighing the pros and cons, we couldn't take the risk with Noah in the house. We all took the bullet for him.

Noah has started with all of the vaccines. I cringe watching vials of the magic elixir pouring into his little veins. It seems so much at a time. In December, our doctor recommended adding an RSV (synagis) vaccine. I knew that we cycle illness in our house every winter, and I didn't want to put Noah in harms way. We agreed to the vaccine.

The Doctors office has to order it from Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy and they overnight the vaccine. It's not common that they give it out. Actually, the nurse told me that she has only given 3 of these vaccines in the 5 years that she worked at 2 pediatricians office. Should I not be giving it to my son?

Then, I found out why.

We got a bill from Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy for $40. I called to figure out why. We paid our $15 co-pay at the doctors office for the nurse visit to get the vaccine. We shouldn't owe anything. They tell me the vaccine costs $1841. I said if it's only $18, why are we getting a $40 charge? No, no, no Gina...It's $1,841.00. I thought she meant $18.41.

One vaccine is $1,841.00.

I could not believe it. We were being charged a $40 co-pay for the vaccine because it was considered a prescription. Most insurance companies won't cover it. Ours does.

And apparently, babies should get the vaccine every month through the peak season. So, Noah had one in late December and he just got another one last week. He will get one more in mid March. The doctor said maybe in April too. And after reading this article from the newspaper in Phoenix, I'm thinking April will be necessary.

He'll get 4 RSV vaccines through this season for a total of $7,364. We will owe $160 of it. Now, I see why they don't give the vaccine out more often.

I thought for that amount of money, it might as well be liquid gold that they are shooting into Noah's leg.

If it keeps us out of the hospital, maybe it is.

1 comment:

Linda said...

Wow, that's amazing! But yes, good thing he's getting the vaccine. They didn't have an RSV vaccine back when Sarah was little and she had RSV at just under 2 months old. The hospital was filled with infants with RSV during that time period and several died from the infection. The doctor felt I could handle the nebulizer treatments at home with Sarah (plus there was no room there anyway), so I did, and she had colic (for almost 2 years!) so she screamed A LOT so you can imagine trying to hold the breathing treatment mask over her screaming little face. But it worked, she recovered and the rest is history. :)