MOHAVE COUNTY – At their board meeting on Tuesday, the Mohave County Board of Supervisors in a 3-2 decision, voted to not extend the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) contract that is linked to the CDC’s Bridge Access Program. According to Supervisor Buster Johnson, who voted in favor of extending the contract, the motion to deny the extension will mean an end to all immunizations once undertaken by the County’s health department. “I understand the majority of the Board voted this down due to the extension giving us additional funding to administer the COVID-19 vaccines to underinsured individuals; however, by doing so they rejected the contract for all immunizations for Mohave County,” Johnson stated.
The discussion surrounding the agenda item focused on the COVID-19 aspect, however; the item was simply being amended with additional funding due to the CDC now grouping the COVID-19 vaccine in with all other vaccines. “The COVID vaccine is now just another elected vaccine similar to that of the flu shot,” Johnson said. “By denying this, we not only will no longer be reimbursed by the State for the COVID vaccine, but also for the flu shot and other vaccinations such as polio and the measles,” Johnson continued. The denial also affects two major pharmacies in Mohave County, Walgreens and CVS. Both pharmacies partnered with the County to receive COVID vaccinations and reimbursement through this program. Without the County administering it, these pharmacies will no longer be reimbursed. Both pharmacies will still offer the vaccine; however, for those underinsured or uninsured, it will no longer be a reimbursable expense through the County.
According to figures from the County’s health department, between 5500-6500 children receive their immunizations from the County each year. Under Arizona revised statue, counties are mandated to provide school age children immunizations required by school districts upon a parent’s request. “Parents will still be able to come to the county and get their children’s required immunizations; however, instead of the State funding not only the cost of the immunizations but also that of the nursing staff to administer it, county taxpayers will have to foot the bill through the general fund,” Johnson explained.