August is National Immunization Awareness Month, and the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services is offering free vaccines for all eligible Alaskans.
Deanna Mocan is a public health nurse in Nome, and she said vaccines will be available all month for adults and children at the Nome Public Health Center.
“We protect against 14 different childhood diseases,” said Mocan. “For adults, we provide tetanus, pneumococcal, flu and zoster.”
Children under 35 months of age are eligible to receive vaccines at all state public health centers, in addition to children 35 months to 18 years old who are enrolled in Denali KidCare or Medicaid, or who are uninsured or underinsured. Mocan explained that being ‘underinsured’ means not meeting your insurance deductible for the year or not being sure if your private insurance covers vaccines. Uninsured and underinsured adults are also eligible to receive vaccination this month.
Mocan encourages that the full recommendation of all vaccines be administered on time, especially for children.
“Probably the biggest emphasis is just making sure that your child is up to date with the vaccine,” said Mocan.
Individual vaccine costs will be covered by state and federal grants, and Nome’s Public Health Center is waiving the administrative fee and not charging for the office visit. That means August vaccinations in Nome have no cost for those who are eligible.
“It’s totally free,” said Mocan. “And it’s back to school. No better time to be up-to-date for immunizations.”
Coinciding with National Immunization Awareness Month this year is Well-Child Exam Week at Nome’s Public Health Center, where children under five who are enrolled in Denali KidCare or Medicaid can receive free exams from August 11-14.