INDIANAPOLIS, June 27 WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE: WLP)announced today that, effective immediately, it will cover the rotavirusvaccine, Rotarix(R), designed to prevent a virus which causes vomiting anddiarrhea in infants and children.
This decision to cover Rotarix(R), manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, isbased on formal recommendations announced this week by the U.S. Centers forDisease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Advisory Committee on ImmunizationPractices (ACIP).
ACIP recommended that Rotarix(R) be added to the list of recommendedinoculations offered to infants. Rotarix(R) is a liquid given in a two-doseseries to infants 6-24 weeks old.
According to the CDC, rotavirus infection is the leading cause of diarrheain infants and young children, both in the United States and worldwide.Rotavirus disease causes about 410,000 physician office visits;205,000-272,000 emergency department visits; 55,000-70,000 hospitalizations;and 20-60 deaths among children less than 5 years of age in the U.S. eachyear.
WellPoint's immunization policy decisions are based on recommendationsissued by ACIP and other nationally recognized organizations. ACIP is composedof 15 experts in fields associated with immunization who provide advice andguidance to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and CDC on themost effective means to prevent vaccine-preventable diseases.
The vaccine will be covered for infants whose benefit plans providecoverage for vaccines. Policyholders should confirm their specific benefits bycalling the toll-free telephone number listed on their insurance card.
About WellPoint, Inc.
WellPoint, Inc. is the largest health benefits company in terms of medicalmembership in the United States. WellPoint is an independent licensee of theBlue Cross Blue Shield Association and serves its members as the Blue Crosslicensee for California; the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee for Colorado,Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding 30counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (as theBlue Cross Blue Shield licensee in 10 New York City metropolitan andsurrounding counties and as the Blue Cross or Blue Cross Blue Shield licenseein selected upstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the northernVirginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.), Wisconsin; and through UniCare.Additional information about WellPoint is available at www.wellpoint.com .
SOURCE WellPoint, Inc.