VFC Program: Vaccines for Uninsured Children
The Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program helps provide vaccines to children whose parents or guardians may not be able to afford them. This helps ensure that all children have a better chance of getting their recommended vaccinations on schedule. These vaccines protect babies, young children, and adolescents from 16 diseases (see the list).
Vaccines available through the VFC Program are those recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC, as the administrator of VFC, purchases and distributes the vaccines to private and public health care providers who are enrolled in the VFC Program.
Your child is eligible for the VFC Program if he or she is younger than 19 years of age and is one of the following:
- American Indian or Alaska Native
What Is Underinsured?
Underinsured means your child has health insurance, but it
- Doesn't cover vaccines, or
- 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, your child is then eligible.
Underinsured children are eligible to receive vaccines only at Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) or Rural Health Clinics (RHC). An FQHC is a type of provider that meets certain criteria under Medicare and Medicaid programs. If you need help locating an FQHC or RHC, contact your state VFC coordinator.
What Is the Cost?
There is no charge for any vaccines given by a VFC provider to eligible children. But there can be some other costs with a vaccination:
- Doctors can charge a set (or standard) fee to administer each shot. But if the family can't afford the fee per shot, the fee must be excused. A VFC-eligible child cannot be refused a vaccination due to the parent's or guardian's inability to pay for shot administration.
- There can be a fee for the office visit.
- There can be fees for non-vaccine services, like an eye exam or blood test.
Where Can My Child Get Vaccinated?
If your child is eligible (see above), check that your child's doctor is a VFC Program provider.
If your child's doctor isn't a VFC provider, you can take your child to one of the following places to get VFC vaccinations:
- Public health clinic (local health department)
- Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC)
- Rural Health Clinic (RHC)
The best place to take your child depends on where you live and what type of eligibility your child has under the VFC Program. Contact your state's VFC Coordinator to find out where to take your child for VFC vaccinations.
You can find your state's VFC coordinator online. Or call 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636) and ask for the phone number of your state's VFC Coordinator.
Federal Funding, State Management
The VFC Program is funded by the United States government. In general, state health departments manage the VFC Program, but in some locations it may be managed by a city or territorial health department. Nationwide, there are over 40,000 doctors enrolled in the VFC Program.
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