Sequester could mean $65,000 cut for child vaccinations - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

Sequester could mean $65,000 cut for child vaccinations

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Thousands in cuts to Federal health funds means fewer basic vaccinations for South Dakota's kids.

The across-the-board Federal cuts have health officials in South Dakota nervous, but cautiously optimistic, especially when it comes to childhood vaccines.

Avera Health Chief Medical OFficer, and former Pediatrician, Dr. Mike Elliott is one of them.

"The country is at a point where we need to change our debt structure. We're spending more than we're bringing in, so we have to make a change," Dr. Mike Elliott said.

Changes of $65,000 in cuts could affect roughly 950 children per year by keeping them from getting the vaccines they need from measles to mumps, Tetanus and Hepatitis.

Dr. Elliott says it's hard to recognize the exact effects as it's still very early to tell.

"If that dollar figure is true, I would hope that as a state we could find a way to become more efficient when possible, mitigate the extent of the cuts to our ability and still provide the valuable vaccine program we have," Dr. Elliott said.

He says child vaccines, especially from birth to three years old, are some of the most crucial when it comes to disease prevention.

By decreasing funding, Dr. Elliott says, a number of things could happen like a shortage of any particular vaccine.

"We're hopeful though that that won't be the case. Through whatever mechanism possible, we'll be able to find a way to provide all the needy children, and all children in general, all the vaccines," Dr. Elliott said.

Dr. Elliott remains hopeful that South Dakota would absorb any possible cuts it sees  by becoming more efficient in buying vaccines, distributing them and keeping the impact down as much as possible.

Here's a look at the numbers from Washington, D.C.:

- $65,000 for vaccines for diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza, and Hepatitis, affecting about 950 children

- About $122,000 to help the state respond to public health threats such as infectious diseases, natural disasters, and biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological events.

- About $250,000 to help prevent and treat substance abuse, meaning about 100 fewer admissions to substance abuse programs.

- About $34,000 for health departments in the state, resulting in around 800 fewer HIV tests.

- About $16,000 for services to victims of domestic violence, affecting about 100 victims.

- About $214,000 to provide meals for seniors.

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