Flu Season FAQ

1. When can I make an appointment for my child to receive the vaccine?

We currently have limited availability of the flu vaccine for both private and state insurance. While we placed our normal order for the year back in February of this year, there has been a delay in the manufacturing of the flu vaccine causing a delay in our shipments. We have been informed that production is underway and we should be receiving more of the vaccine by the end of October. This situation has affected deliveries to all states from all manufacturers. Our office has no control over when the manufacturers ship to us.

2. What is the difference between flu vaccine for private insurance vs. state insurance?

The vaccine itself is the exact same vaccine, manufactured by the same companies. The only difference is that our office must order the flu vaccine directly from the manufacturer and pay for them as they are shipped for our patients with private insurance. We order flu vaccine for our patients with state-funded insurance through the New York State Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. The VFC program provides our office with vaccines at no cost to either us or to the patient. Since the state controls what vaccines they purchase and ship to doctors’ offices such as ourselves we are only able to request what we believe we will need for the year. The state chooses what and when they ship to us based on the needs of all of the physicians they support.

3. If I have state-funded insurance and the office does not have stock of VFC flu vaccine but DOES have private stock, can I just pay for the shot out of pocket?

Unfortunately, we are legally prohibited from selling a patient with state-funded insurance any vaccine, per our contract with the state. Please contact the VFC program directly for any questions regarding how the VFC program is designed to work. Or click this link to be taken directly to the CDC's web page on the VFC.

4. I want to make sure my child gets the flu vaccine because of health concerns. How can I do that?

The CDC recommends that all children under the age of 18 receive the flu vaccine. We are not expecting a shortage of the vaccine this year and are confident that any patient who wishes to receive the vaccine should be able to get it.

We do have a list of patients with health concerns our doctors have determined who should receive the flu shot yearly. Those patients are contacted separately at the beginning of the flu season in August/September to ensure that they have the first opportunity to receive their flu shots.

If you feel your child has health concerns that would put them on a higher priority to receive the flu vaccine, you should speak to your doctor and the doctor will help make the determination whether your child is at a higher risk. They will then be added to our flu priority list.

High-risk conditions include asthma, diabetes, immune problems, chronic aspirin therapy, chronic renal disease, neuromuscular and seizure disorders.

5. I don’t want the H1N1 vaccine for my child. Can I just get the regular flu and not the H1N1?

No. The manufacturers of the flu vaccine incorporate 4 different strains of the vaccine in one. There is no option to separate.

6. I am concerned about preservatives in vaccines. Do your flu shots contain any Thimerisol?

All of the flu vaccines we have ordered contains no preservatives.

7. Can’t I just walk into your office and get a flu shot for my child?

No. Our office schedules the flu vaccine like any other vaccine appointment. We schedule a nurse to give vaccines throughout the day. It is not just a simple 2-minute appointment. A vaccine appointment requires time for the nurse to draw the vaccine, speak to the patient, administer the vaccine and chart it appropriately.

8. If my child is sick can they still get the flu shot?

No. We do not give vaccines to children when they are sick. Please call the office to reschedule your appointment if your child is sick the day they are scheduled to receive the flu shot.