- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 9, 2016

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) - Sedgwick County’s health department may stop offering certain types of immunizations for international travel under the county’s recommended budget.

County manager Michael Scholes’ proposed budget calls for the end of providing vaccines for certain diseases and infections like yellow fever and typhoid fever, The Wichita Eagle (https://bit.ly/2ayhqSB ) reports.

Scholes says the decision to cut some immunizations will allow the health department to focus on other services. The proposed budget says the immunization program cost nearly $138,143, but generated about $137,660 in revenue.

“It seemed like low-hanging fruit,” Scholes said.

County chief financial officer Chris Chronis says the decision ties to Scholes’ goal to reduce government funding services that can be provided by non-governmental groups or through the private sector.

“We don’t think that we should be in the business of using our resources to compete with the private sector,” Chronis said.

Tom Moore, a physician with Infectious Disease Consultants of Kansas who specializes in travel-related diseases, said the decision was “short-sighted.”

“I just don’t understand that if it’s revenue-neutral,” Moore said. “It’s all about access.”

Moore said a traveler can get the oral typhoid vaccine by prescription, but it would take longer. He also said there is not enough demand for yellow fever vaccines for a private primary care physician to keep it stocked.

“Short of creating a separate travel clinic, we’ve relied on the county health department for supplying that vaccine,” Moore said.

The county’s final budget is set to be adopted Wednesday.


Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, https://www.kansas.com

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