was the VFC program created?
can't afford to pay for vaccines on their
own. When large groups of children go without
vaccines, it leaves them unprotected and
disease outbreaks can happen. This program
allows everyone to stay healthy by getting
his or her vaccines on time.
- Do I
have to bring anything
to prove my child is eligible for free
do not have to show any proof that your
child is eligible for free vaccine. However,
your doctor is required to ask you and
document the following:
your child on Medicaid?
Does your child have any health insurance
Is your child of American Indian or Alaskan
doctors will already have this information
on your child in their chart or as part
of their normal business records, but if
your child’s insurance or Medicaid
status changes, you are obligated to inform
the doctor’s office of those changes.
vaccines are free,
but what if I can't pay for the doctor
the vaccines your child may receive are
absolutely free, the doctor still has the
right to charge a fee for an office visit.
Of course, if your child is on Medicaid,
that office visit fee is paid for by Medicaid.
But the doctor participating in the VFC
program also has the right to charge an
administrative fee for giving your child
a shot, and this may be in addition to
an office visit fee. This administrative
fee is similar to a patient’s insurance
co-pay, except in this instance the fee
helps the doctor to offset their cost of
doing business related to administering
vaccines. This administrative fee is different
in every State, and is capped at a high
level limit that cannot be exceeded. There
is no low level limit, so the doctor can
charge anything from no fee at all, up
to the high level cap. In 1994 these fees
were published in the Federal
Register and remain unchanged.
a doctor’s office participates in
the Vaccines for Children Program, the
doctor is required by law to administer
the vaccine to a child even if a child
cannot afford to pay the administrative
fee. This requirement only applies to the
administrative fee for vaccines, not for
office visit fees, or any other fees established
by a doctor's practice. Parents must make
appropriate payment arrangements with providers
relative to office visit charges.
child is behind on their shots. Can they
still get VFC vaccine?
It doesn’t matter how far behind
your child is in receiving their shots.
The VFC Program will provide your doctor
with all the recommended childhood shots
to get your child caught up. Call or visit
your provider to discuss how your child
can be brought back up to schedule. Consult
catch up schedule for details.
child is healthy. I'll just wait
until school age to get them vaccinated.
No. This is highly
discouraged. Many of the immunizations children need today,
are intended for very young children in their first months of
life, because that is when they are most at risk for contracting
vaccine-preventable diseases. Thus, waiting for when a child
starts school can be very dangerous to your child’s health
in their first five years of life. Additionally, the standard
of care today for all young children, is that they be examined
and evaluated by a doctor for other important purposes besides
immunization. Immunization is just one component of your child’s
overall well-being. So please take your child for regular and
periodic visits as soon as possible.
have specific questions about the shots my
child needs and when to get them. Where
can I get this information?
best place to start is with your State
(or Territory) VFC
Program Coordinator who can answer
any questions about vaccines and/or
there are many other resource links provided
on this website that can be of help, including
contacting the CDC Information
Contact Center at 1-800-CDC-INFO
(1-800-232-4636), or emailing your questions
consult these brochures:
VFC for parents
VFC for healthcare providers