Sunday, March 3, 2024

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Graham, NC 27253
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Health dept. debuts fees for Covid vaccinations

Anyone who visits the local health department next month for a Covid vaccine may get stuck with something more than a needle – namely a bill for the vaccine’s administration.

Beginning March 1, Alamance County’s health department will levy a service charge of $65 for COVID-19 vaccinations – the first such fee it has assessed since the vaccines became publicly available in January of 2021.

This charge, which was approved by Alamance County’s commissioners on Monday, is apparently part of the health department’s plan to step down the special emergency measures that have dictated its Covid response since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March of 2020.

In a memo to the board of commissioners, the county’s health director Tony Lo Giudice observed that the national state of emergency which the pandemic brought on is slated to sunset on May 11. Lo Giudice added that, in anticipation of this change, the health department’s clinic is shifting its focus away from free, mass immunization in order resume its regular, pre-Covid operations.

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“With this transition,” Lo Giudice notified the commissioners, “we need to add COVID-19 vaccine administration services and associated fees to the personal health fee schedule.. Currently, the state is providing COVID-19 vaccines to providers free of charge. Since there is still no cost for the vaccine, our agency cannot bill for the vaccine. We can bill for the cost to administer the vaccine once these fees are adopted.”

The commissioners ultimately approved Lo Giudice’s request as part of a “consent agenda” of putatively routine and noncontroversial items that they adopted en bloc at the beginning of their latest regularly scheduled meeting on Monday.

This list of expedited approvals also featured several budget amendments, including a change to the sheriff’s budget to reflect the renewal of a detention contract with the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Meanwhile, Monday’s consent agenda contained a half dozen appointments to the county’s advisory boards and commissions. In the past, the commissioners have reserved this rubber stamp treatment for positions without multiple applicants. In this case, however, the consent agenda included three openings on Alamance County’s Juvenile Crime Prevention Council that, together, had garnered five applications.

The commissioners ultimately doled out these seats to returning appointees Tyronna Hooker and Nicole Grant as well as newcomer Jimmie Burgess, rejecting applications from Larry Simpson and Krista Knight.

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