Jefferson County health officials explain how the COVID-19 vaccine will be free

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - With the COVID-19 vaccine awaiting FDA approval, many people are debating on whether to get it if it becomes available.

Dr. David Hicks with the Jefferson County Department said the department is planning to get the vaccine sometime in December 2020. He said it will be free.

He said the vaccine can’t be billed because of how it is being approved. Vaccine manufacturers are asking for an emergency use authorization from the FDA. Hicks said when a vaccine is approved under an EUA, it is still considered in it’s investigational phase and physicians can’t charge for it.

“The vaccine manufacturers right now are asking for an emergency use authorization for this vaccine to get kind of preliminary approval,” Hicks said. “When you get an emergency use authorization, that is not a definitive approval, it is still considered in it’s investigational phase. A drug that is in that stage, you can not charge for it.”

Hicks also said the COVID-19 vaccine will be free because it has already been paid for through tax dollars.

“My understanding is, the taxpayers have already pre-paid for this vaccine,” Hicks said. “When The President talked about how the federal government has bought a certain number of millions and millions of doses from the company, that is with tax payer dollars. That vaccine will be pushed out through this network. I have not been told that there is going to be any out of pocket or additional cost.”

Hicks said he doesn’t think the vaccine will be widely available until April 2021.

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