The Jefferson County Health Department is now able to bill private health insurance companies for immunizations.

The process has taken one year to implement and required federal grants to gain access to training and necessary software.

Since 2011, the health department has been unable to vaccinate anyone with health coverage because of state budget constraints. Free vaccines are only permitted for those with no insurance, those on Medicaid or anyone with insurance that does not cover immunizations.

The narrower market has caused a drop in immunization rates of almost 50 percent.

Now, the health department is credentialed to bill private health insurance companies and Medicaid for children's immunizations.

With the Affordable Healthcare Act, all immunizations that are recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and should be covered 100 percent with no deductibles or co-pays.

Meanwhile, children who do not have health insurance can receive free vaccinations at the health department.

Children's immunizations are offered Tuesdays from 8 to 10 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. on a walk-in basis.

Adults can receive certain vaccinations for a fee or the health department can bill their private health insurance.

For more information, call the health department (812) 273-1942.