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Inspector General's Report on Vaccines for Children

On June 5, 2012 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a report on "Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program: Vulnerabilities in Vaccine Management." CDC's VFC program provides free vaccines to eligible children through a national network that includes all states and US territories. This program plays a significant role in improving access to vaccination for millions of children.

The OIG report assessed if doctor offices that provide VFC vaccine in five states were meeting their vaccine management requirements, such as storing vaccine at proper temperatures and monitoring expiration dates. The OIG report did not assess vaccine potency or effectiveness.

CDC is not recommending that parents revaccinate their children. While it is possible that some children have received less potent vaccines due to exposure to improper temperatures, our data do not suggest that this is a common or widespread problem. There is every indication that vaccines are doing their job at providing protection against disease.

Our national monitoring suggests vaccines are performing as expected and are doing their job at providing protection against disease since most diseases are at record low levels in the US. Our vaccine safety monitoring also indicates that we continue to have the safest vaccine supply in our history. While the safety and health of our nation’s children has not been compromised by the issues identified by the OIG, the findings are still sobering. The vaccines that protect children against serious and even deadly diseases must always be stored properly. CDC and our partners are working with a sense of urgency to address these issues.

A priority for CDC and its partners is to ensure the proper storage, handling, and oversight of vaccines. This report underscores that we must do better at ensuring that vaccines are stored properly, including removing expired vaccine from units where viable vaccines are stored.

CDC continues to encourage parents to vaccinate according to the US recommended immunization schedule to provide the best protection for children from 16 serious and deadly diseases. If you have questions about the vaccination of your child, talk with your child’s doctor.

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