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CDC helps people get new COVID-19 shot free but some encounter obstacles


Millions of adults will continue to get their COVID-19 vaccines paid for as new shots targeting new strains are distributed.

However, they might experience some delays in getting an appointment.

The CDC's HHS Bridge Access Program for COVID-19 Vaccines is meant to maintain broad access to COVID-19 vaccines. The program launched a week ago and provides continued free coverage for an estimated 25-30 million adults who would have lost access to affordable COVID-19 vaccines, the CDC says.

The more than $1 billion program will create a public-private partnership to help maintain uninsured individuals' access to COVID-19 care at local pharmacies through existing public health departments, according to the CDC.

The program will allow more people to get the newly formulated vaccines just approved by federal regulators by ensuring the underinsured or uninsured have access to the shot.

The CDC has also extended its Increasing Community Access to Testing program with CVS, Walgreens, and eTrueNorth to offer vaccines in areas with low vaccine coverage and access. As a result, 20,000 retail pharmacy locations nationwide can provide the vaccine to people without insurance or whose insurance requires a co-pay.

According to ABC News, however, some people are having their appointments canceled because their insurance has not updated the billing codes to cover the vaccine or because of supply issues.

ABC 17 News has received similar tips that this has been happening in Mid-Missouri as well.

The federal government's website had the nearest vaccine to Columbia at Walgreens in Fulton. The next available appointments in Columbia were on Monday.

According to ABC News, "CVS Pharmacy spokesperson Matt Blanchette said some insurers are still in the process of updating their billing systems to cover the vaccines. For others, the shots were covered by insurance without issue, but appointments were canceled by their pharmacy due to supply delays."

A Walgreens spokesperson told ABC News they are aware of isolated incidents at a small number of locations.

Local pharmacies and health departments like Flows Pharmacy and the Columbia/Boone County Health and Human Services have yet to receive the new vaccine.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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Marina Diaz

Marina is a Multimedia Journalist for ABC 17 News, she is originally from Denver, Colorado. She went to Missouri Valley College where she played lacrosse and basketball, and anchored her school’s newscast.


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