Rising cost in child vaccines has doctors absorbing costs

The cost to immunize a child has increased dramatically over the years. Vaccines now range from hundreds to thousands of dollars, meaning profits for pharmaceutical companies while local doctors take the hit.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccines work. Prior to the measles vaccine, nearly everyone in the U.S. got measles, and hundreds died from it each year. Today, most doctors have never seen a case of measles.

Edinburg Children's Clinic pediatrician Dr. Livania Zavala-Spinetti said in medicine, preventing illness is of the utmost priority. It's why she recommends her patients get vaccinated.

"In the history of mankind, vaccines have been the most important new intervention/invention that decreased the mortality in the whole population- mainly in the pediatric population," she explained.

Nurse practitioner Dr. Dora Zamora-Flores couldn't agree more. She said their effectiveness is one reason their importance is often overlooked.

"We don't see the diseases on a regular basis, but there was a time not too long ago, especially where children were being affected and having a lot of deaths from what we now call vaccine preventable diseases," said Dr. Zamora-Flores.

Dr. Zamora-Flores said if you don't vaccinate, we could see preventable diseases making a comeback.

"Because there has been a recent drop in vaccinations|there are clusters of vulnerable populations particularly children. There have been some deaths recently related to both measles and pertussis," she said.

While vaccines can save lives, they've become quite expensive over the years and clinics like this one are having to absorb the costs.

"Recently, that TMs what TMs been happening. The prices have been going up, some insurances are paying less for vaccines," said Dr. Zavala-Spinetti.

It TMs why the children's clinic is making adjustments like working with medical groups to get better pricing and ordering in small batches.

"[We] order the smallest amount that they have available, then go ahead and reorder as we use, said medical assistant Christina Reyes.

But Dr. Zavala-Spinetti puts her patients first and it TMs why she's willing to pay the price. She said these shots are worth their weight in gold.

"We need to provide vaccines to our patients. It TMs our mission. The most important thing is to prevent them from getting sick," said Dr. Zavala-Spinetti.

She said the cost of vaccines has also risen due to new research and technology. Newer vaccines are less invasive, which means patients respond better to the injection and have fewer side effects.

The Edinburg Children's Clinic also said that there has been a lot of misinformation that immunizations can cause developmental illnesses in children. They told Action4 News that there has been no clinical evidence to support that claim and vaccines are in fact extremely safe.