Vaccine for the highly contagious H1N1 virus (commonly called “swine flu”) is now being released to the public as supplies become available. The information below will help you decide if you should obtain the vaccine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends that certain priority groups should receive the H1N1 flu vaccine. These groups are:
- pregnant women;
- caregivers for children younger than six months of age;
- health care and emergency medical services personnel;
- children and young adults from six months through 24 years old;
- persons aged 25 through 64 years who have underlying health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, conditions that suppress the immune system, heart disease and kidney disease) that might increase their risk for flu-related complications.
In an effort to minimize the occurrence of H1N1 flu among railroad plan participants and their dependents covered under group health insurance plans GA-23111 (for former railroad employees and their dependents), the cooperating rail labor organizations and UnitedHealthcare have taken a number of steps to reduce the cost of immunization.
To that end, effective immediately, group health insurance plans provided under GA-23111 will cover the administration of the H1N1 vaccine through the end of December 2009 for covered plan participants and dependents, with no co-pays, deductibles or coinsurance payments.
Where to get the vaccine
Employees and their dependents have a broad range of options from which to choose where to get the H1N1 flu vaccine:
- Public health clinics: The H1N1 vaccine should be available at most local public health clinics at no cost. Please call the health clinic first to make sure it has the vaccine.
- Retail pharmacies and other clinics: Please call the pharmacy or other clinic first to make sure it has the H1N1 vaccine available.
- Doctor’s office: Contact your primary care physician or network provider to find out if the H1N1 vaccine is available and if you should be immunized. Please note office visit co-pays will not apply if you see your doctor solely to obtain the H1N1 flu vaccine.