In a world where the cost of health services is a hot topic, the Cape Fear Clinic in Wilmington is doing more than talking. At CFC, we’ve been working hard to get our population vaccinated, insured or not.
This year, with the help of the Wilmington Rotary Club, we are proud to share the news that we took $1,021.55 and provided more than 1,100 vaccinations to our local community, with that number growing daily. The total value of the service we have been able to provide to date is $92,030.
Ongoing vaccinations and immunization support for adults is critical to keeping our entire community healthy (and out of our hospitals). Using the Wilmington Rotary Club’s gracious grant, in September 2015 we started our efforts with the disbursement of nearly 500 MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) and hepatitis B vaccinations. After that, we added hepatitis A, pneumonia, shingles, and Tdap vaccines, and these now total more than 600 additional doses.
Believe it or not, these diseases are still very much a threat to adults in our community, and vaccinations remain critical to protecting our population from contracting them.
The United States experienced a record number of measles cases during 2014, with 667 cases from 27 states reported to CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD). This is the greatest number of cases since measles elimination was documented in the U.S. in 2000. Adults need one dose of the MMR vaccine to keep the disease at bay, unless they have evidence of measles, mumps and rubella immunity.
Hepatitis B is a serious disease that can result in long-term health problems, including liver damage, liver failure, liver cancer or even death. Approximately 2,000 to 4,000 people die every year from hepatitis B-related liver disease.
Patients with diabetes are particularly at risk. Anyone with diabetes younger than 60 should be vaccinated against hepatitis B as soon as feasible after diagnosis. Those with diabetes who are over 60 should be vaccinated only at the discretion of their doctor while under ongoing care.
MMR and hepatitis B are still concerns for the Cape Fear region, which is why I am proud that the Cape Fear Clinic has been so effective at leveraging resources to provide such a wide-sweeping service.
So how did we do it? How did we get nearly 500 MMR and hepatitis B vaccinations into our community?
With a combination of knowledge, creativity and hard work.
Both MMR and hepatitis B vaccines are available as product replacement programs through drug manufacturers. To access these vaccines, our staff submits an application to the manufacturer. Once the application is approved, the vaccine can be administered to the patient while the manufacturer replaces the vaccine that was given.
There is some cost to CFC to make this happen, of course. Even with a replacement process program, the clinic must purchase the initial supply of the vaccine. As of today, one package containing 10 vaccines of MMR costs $571.20, while one package with 10 vaccines of hepatitis B vaccine costs $450.35.
The good news is that once the replacement cycle has started, the medicines will be available through the replacement cycle indefinitely. Thus, an investment of only $1,021.55 can provide the MMR vaccine for all qualifying patients at CFC (totaling more than $26,000) and the hepatitis B vaccine for all qualifying patients at CFC (totaling more than $20,941).
This means that the $1,000 investment from Wilmington Rotary, which we had projected would provide 610 vaccinations, has provided 40 percent more than anticipated and continues to deliver thousands of vaccines. As of the end of 2015, CFC has valued this medical service at more than $92,000.
Looking to the future, it is our hope that the investment can provide almost unlimited vaccines, as long as the manufacturer replacement program continues. Also, we hope to find additional replacement process programs to bring more medical service here.
We look to a future where all Cape Fear Clinic patients that need the vaccines can receive them. We look to a future where the entire Cape Fear region benefits from a healthier, protected community.
Cape Fear Clinic, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, was founded in 1991 as Tileston Health Clinic, Inc. and provides health care to those in our community who would otherwise be unable to access care. The clinic serves charitable patients who do not have health insurance and have incomes of no more than 200 percent of federal poverty guidelines, and those with Medicaid. For more information please visit capefearclinic.org or contact us at (910) 343-8736.
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