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Uninsured? You may have a harder time finding free COVID-19 vaccines in Nevada

Pharmacies, providers, hospitals, and clinics who provide vaccines could reduce in number
Published: Apr. 5, 2022 at 7:01 PM PDT
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - As of 8:59 p.m. pacific on Tuesday, April 5, the federal COVID-19 Uninsured Program will stop accepting claims for vaccinating uninsured patients. As the fund dries up, pharmacies, hospitals and clinics across the nation, including in Nevada, will lose their reimbursement source for the doses.

Industry experts said that we may start to see some southern Nevada pharmacies discontinue offering the COVID-19 vaccine. Henderson-based Dr. Christina Madison of the Public Health Pharmacist said the total number of local pharmacies, clinics, hospitals and other providers who offer free COVID-19 vaccines for the uninsured could reduce in size.

Because uninsured people could face a particularly tough time getting free vaccines, another local pharmacy expert said that underprivileged communities could be disproportionately affected by the next variant, as a result.

Independently-owned Vesper Pharmacy, said they are worried they are going to have to find another way to pay for those free vaccinations, or stop giving shots altogether.

Without the option to reimburse for free vaccines, and without the ability to charge patients, the vaccines will be cost-burdensome for pharmacies.

Also limiting patients’ options, some pharmacies are running out of vaccines and having supply issues.

Last week, adults 50 and older became eligible for the fourth shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Amid this new demand, some locations, like Walgreens on Lake Mead Parkway and Boulder Highway, ran out of Pfizer doses. They are telling patients that they have not had the Pfizer vaccine for about a week. They’ve had to turn people away who had appointments.

A Walgreens location on Eastern didn’t have Pfizer for a few days, but just got a new shipment Tuesday.

It’s smart to call ahead to check that your vaccine clinic has your desired vaccine type in stock.

Access to Moderna isn’t exactly widespread either. A search on CVS’s appointment portal shows only about six locations across the valley that currently carry the Moderna booster.

Over at Walgreens, a search on their appointment portal shows only five locations carrying the Moderna booster. Still, an employee from all five locations listed on their online portal did confirm they currently carry it.