New rule may make seasonal Medicare flu vaccines easier to acquire

A new rule recently proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services may make it easier for Medicare beneficiaries seeking annual seasonal flu vaccines.

The proposed rule would expand the beneficiaries’ options of where they can have the flu vaccine administered during the flu season, according to

"The new requirements would make flu shots available in more of the healthcare facilities that Medicare beneficiaries are most likely to visit--including hospitals and rural health clinics," Donald Berwick, a CMS administrator, said, according to "Today's proposed rule will expand Medicare beneficiaries' options for where to receive a flu shot during flu season."

The proposed rule would also mean that many Medicare providers and suppliers would be required to offer all patients an annual influenza vaccination unless contraindicated.

The new requirement would be extended to Medicare-certified hospitals, rural health clinics, federally qualified health centers and end-stage renal diseases facilities that offer dialysis services.

Medicare providers and suppliers would be allowed to develop and implement policies and procedures for offering the seasonal vaccine, and pandemic vaccine when needed, reports. They would not be held accountable should the vaccine be unavailable or in limited supply.

CMS is accepting public comments on the proposed rule until July 5.