New Hampshire bill would provide vaccine price savings for adults

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FILE – In this Wednesday, June 24, 2020 file photo, a volunteer receives an injection at the Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital in Soweto, Johannesburg, as part of Africa’s first participation in a COVID-19 vaccine trial developed at the University of Oxford in Britain in conjunction with the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. On Friday, Oct. 23, 2020, AstraZeneca Inc. announced that the Food and Drug Administration is letting it resume testing of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate in the U.S. (Siphiwe Sibeko/Pool via AP)

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire legislators are working on a bill to offer price protections for adult vaccines, such as those pending for COVID-19.

Rep. Jerry Knirk, a Democrat from Freedom, tells WMUR-TV that by expanding a New Hampshire nonprofit association that pools insurance company money to buy vaccine doses in bulk, the savings to the state and patients could be immense. The process is already done in New Hampshire for pediatric vaccines, he said. The bill would expand the New Hampshire Vaccine Association, which purchases vaccines for children under 19, to all adults.

“In the pediatric program, we purchase about $38 million worth of vaccines for about $28 million,” Knirk said. “The savings is roughly about 26%. For the adults, it is estimated it should be very similar in terms of the degree of savings.”

The state Health Department provides oversight to about 250 provider offices for the children’s program; an additional 350-400 would be enrolled to accommodate adults, according to a similar bill that passed the House this year, but didn’t go any further.

The federal government is expected to pay for a COVID-19 vaccination, but the bill could come in handy if gaps in funding arise next year or suddenly states find themselves in the position of trying to obtain more vaccine.

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