Medicaid flu shot shortage is a concern for Lincolnton grandmother

LINCOLNTON, NC (WBTV) - Flu season is a concern for health professionals across our area who strongly encourage vaccinations. But for one Lincolnton family, receiving those vaccinations proved difficult.

"[The doctor's office] had run out of their allotment for Medicaid recipients, and so I went sort of into this strange state not knowing what that meant," grandmother Linda Wolfe says.

Wolfe says that her three grandchildren were denied flu shots because of their Medicaid status.

"People are on Medicaid for a variety of reasons, our youngest grandson has multiple disabilities and is on the autism spectrum, so he's going to be on Medicaid for a long time and I don't think that's right," Wolfe says.

According to the Lincoln County Health Department, a doctor's office will make one large order of state-supplied flu shots for Medicaid patients, before each flu season. They will base that order on how many they expect to use all year. If they run out, the office would have to order more, on its own dime.

Wolfe says she was outraged, and that regardless of a person's status, they should be able to get the same treatment.

"Did that child not get a shot because he was on Medicaid, he was sick or didn't get an appointment in time at the allotment that is given early in the fall," Wolfe wonders. "A shot is a shot and I just feel like that's wrong,"

According to the NC Weekly Influenza Surveillance Summary ending on Jan. 28, there have been 95 flu deaths reported this season. Statistics like this only makes Wolfe more concerned.

"And seeing the deaths of young people, that just really tugged at my heart," she says.

Wolfe was able to pay for her grandchildren to get the vaccine but is concerned that everyone does not always have the same support system.

"The other kids out there, they don't have a Nana that can pay for their shots," she worries.

Wolfe says that situations like this are unfair and that a person's status should not prevent them from getting the proper treatment.

"[Kids] can't help their state," Wolfe says, "they have no control over that."

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