Vaccines for Children Program
The Vaccines For Children (VFC) program is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children who might not otherwise be vaccinated because of inability to pay. Children who are eligible for VFC vaccines are entitled to receive all vaccines recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). The CDC buys vaccines at a discount and distributes them to their grantees (i.e., state health departments and certain local and territorial public health agencies), which in turn distribute them at no charge to those private physicians' offices and public health clinics registered as VFC providers.
Who is Eligible for VFC?
Children through 18 years of age who meet at least one of the following criteria are eligible to receive VFC vaccine:
- Medicaid eligible: A child who is eligible for the Medicaid program. (For the purposes of the VFC program, the terms "Medicaid-eligible" and "Medicaid-enrolled" are equivalent and refer to children who have health insurance covered by a state Medicaid program)
- Uninsured: A child who has no health insurance coverage
- American Indian or Alaska Native: As defined by the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (25 U.S.C. 1603)
- Underinsured (i.e., child has health insurance, but it doesn't cover vaccines, doesn't cover certain vaccines, or covers vaccines but has a fixed dollar limit or cap for vaccines. Once that fixed dollar amount is reached, a child is then eligible. Underinsured children must receive VFC vaccine at Federally Qualified Health Centers or Rural Health Clinics). With the implementation of the ACA, the number of underinsured children should be significantly reduced.
More than 40,000 doctors participate in the VFC program nationwide. Becoming a VFC provider is a simple process. Participating in VFC reduces the out of pocket costs to providers who don't have to buy vaccine for eligible patients. The VFC program directly pays the doctor an administrative fee to offset costs
For more information on the VFC Program, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
For more information on Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program, visit InsureKidsNow.gov.
May 2014 "Dear Colleague" letter from Henry A. Waxman, Ranking Member, Committee on Energy and Commerce regarding the Vaccines For Children program.
A message of gratitude from Mrs. Carter and Mrs. Bumpers to Congress.