Are COVID-19 Vaccines Still Free? Yes
Questions and answers on vaccines, including where to get them.
As the pandemic stretches on and federal programs tied to it end, some have voiced concerns about whether the COVID-19 vaccine will remain free.
Shary Pérez, health research program coordinator with the United Community Center, said clients at vaccine clinics run by the center have consistently had questions about the price of the vaccine. They have also had concerns about whether they will need to show insurance or a form of identification to receive the vaccine.
Here’s what you need to know about vaccines — and their availability — in Wisconsin.
So, are vaccines still free?
Yes. The federal government requires that vaccinators provide the shot free of charge to patients regardless of their ability to pay or insurance. The state Department of Health Services has also committed to providing vaccines for free.
“Anyone in Wisconsin can get vaccinated for free – even if they do not have insurance or their insurance does not cover COVID-19 vaccination,” the guidance said. “Vaccine providers cannot bill patients for charges not covered by insurance and cannot require people to provide an ID or charge a co-payment. Organizations must administer the COVID-19 vaccine regardless of ability to pay COVID-19 vaccine administration fees or insurance coverage status.”
Why are some people worried?
Pérez said some patients were worried that the vaccine had been “available long enough” and that soon providers would start charging. Others had questions about their insurance coverage and changes to protective guidelines.
Changes at the federal level have also caused questions. The Health Resources and Services Administration recently announced that it was no longer accepting claims for its COVID-19 Uninsured Program, which reimbursed health care providers for giving COVID-19 vaccines to uninsured individuals, due to a lack of funding.
While the program will end, those providing vaccines will still need to follow CDC guidelines and provide the vaccines free of charge regardless of vaccination
Will they continue to be free?
They will for now, but that could change eventually.
Emily Tau, a spokesperson for the Milwaukee Health Department, said vaccines would be free for the foreseeable future. The city’s health department follows the same guidance as the state Department of Health Services, so it will continue providing vaccines for free as long as the state does.
Continuing changes at the federal level could impact how vaccines are distributed, including the potential end of the federal public health emergency. The state will continue to follow CDC guidelines regardless, Department of Health Services spokesperson Elizabeth Goodsitt said.
“We can’t say yet what guidelines the CDC will update as it continues to respond in real time to the pandemic, but we will continue to follow guidance from the CDC regarding the COVID-19 vaccination program,” Goodsitt said.
What should I do if someone tries to charge me for the vaccine?
Contact the Wisconsin Department of Health Services at 844-684-1064 or email DHSCovidVaccinePublic@wi.gov This number and email address allows consumers to file complaints and ask questions regarding vaccine pricing.
Where can I find the vaccine?
To find vaccines around the city, visit HealthyMKE.org. The site has an interactive map that allows you to browse pop-up clinics, federally qualified health centers and events that provide vaccines.
The Milwaukee Health Department provides vaccines at the following locations:
On Monday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 6 p.m.; and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Northwest Health Center, 7630 W. Mill Rd.
- Southside Health Center, 1639 S. 23rd St.
On Monday, Wednesday and Friday from noon to 6 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Menomonee Valley Testing Site, 2401 W. St. Paul Ave.
Vaccines can also be located on the federal government’s website, Vaccines.gov. You can also text your ZIP code to 438829 or call 800-232-0233 for assistance.
Are COVID-19 vaccines still free? The short answer is yes. was originally published by the Milwaukee Neighborhoods News Service.
More about the Coronavirus Pandemic
- Milwaukee County Announces New Policies Related to COVID-19 Pandemic - County Executive David Crowley - May 9th, 2023
- DHS Details End of Emergency COVID-19 Response - Wisconsin Department of Health Services - Apr 26th, 2023
- Milwaukee Health Department Announces Upcoming Changes to COVID-19 Services - City of Milwaukee Health Department - Mar 17th, 2023
- Fitzgerald Applauds Passage of COVID-19 Origin Act - U.S. Rep Scott Fitzgerald - Mar 10th, 2023
- DHS Expands Free COVID-19 Testing Program - Wisconsin Department of Health Services - Feb 10th, 2023
- MKE County: COVID-19 Hospitalizations Rising - Graham Kilmer - Jan 16th, 2023
- Not Enough Getting Bivalent Booster Shots, State Health Officials Warn - Gaby Vinick - Dec 26th, 2022
- Nearly All Wisconsinites Age 6 Months and Older Now Eligible for Updated COVID-19 Vaccine - Wisconsin Department of Health Services - Dec 15th, 2022
- City of Milwaukee Bi-Weekly COVID-19 Update - City of Milwaukee Health Department - Dec 9th, 2022
- MKE County: COVID-19 Disease Burden Remains Stable - Graham Kilmer - Nov 25th, 2022
Read more about Coronavirus Pandemic here
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