The Franklin County Health Department now accepts private insurance for school and employment immunizations.

This is on top of the fact that the health department last year started accepting private insurance for flu shots.

The health department has a contract with an Orlando, Fla.-company called VaxCare. It provides the vaccines and handles the billing to the private insurance companies.

The contract with VaxCare takes risk away from the health department, said Angie Hittson, health department director.

She said the county does not have to risk buying too much vaccine only for it to sit on the shelf and expire. The company orders the immunizations, she explained.

The health department offers most vaccines except for travel immunizations for conditions such as typhoid or yellow fever.

The VaxCare contract could bring more revenue to the health department, Hittson said, adding that the county does not have to pay the company.

VaxCare reimburses the health department $10 for immunizations provided. It also provides syringes, Band-Aids and other supplies the health department uses to administer shots.

The public stands to benefit from more convenient immunization service since the health department is now taking private insurance, Hittson noted.

The health department prefers people who want immunizations to make an appointment. But walk-ins will be accepted if there is availability.

VaxCare accepts 22 private insurances through the county health department. That includes large insurance companies such as UnitedHealthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Coventry and HealthLink.

Hittson said she is trying to get the word out to the community that the private insurance is now accepted.

There has been a good response since the health department started using VaxCare to accept private insurance for flu shots.

She noted that one company called the health department to find a place where its employees could get flu shots. Once it heard the health department could take the private insurance, the employees had the shots done there.

The health department recently moved into a new location at 414 E. Main St. in downtown Union. The county spent about $600,000 on the project to remodel the former prosecutor’s office for the health department.