Budget Crisis Puts Illinois Children At Risk Of Not Receiving Immunizations

(SPRINGFIELD, IL) — Thousands of children in Illinois are at risk of not getting their immunizations this year amid the ongoing state budget crisis, officials said. More than 100,000 kids on Medicaid in Illinois face potentially not getting their immunizations as the state nears its third year with no budget, according to local officials of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Under the current plans, vaccines for Medicaid Title 21 children are purchased by their doctors, who are supposed to be reimbursed by the state through Medicaid managed care organizations. MCO’s are state contractors. “This spring, things came to a halt in getting compensated,” said Dr. Timothy Wall, Medical Director and President of Pediatric Health Associates. “We have had to cut back the ages of children we can give vaccines to.” According to the AAP, the backlog is so burdensome for some doctors, they’ve had to stop providing immunizations altogether. “That’s a perfect recipe for an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease,” said Dr. Edward Pont, who serves as the governmental affairs chair for the Illinois chapter of AAP.