VFC Answers to Parents' Questions
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- Why was the VFC program created?
- Do I have to bring anything to prove my child is eligible for free vaccines?
- The vaccines are free, but what if I can't pay for the doctor visit or the vaccine administration fee?
- My child is behind on their shots. Can they still get VFC vaccine?
- My child is healthy. I'll just wait until school age to get them vaccinated.
- I have specific questions about the shots my child needs and when to get them. Where can I get this information?
Health care providers can find detailed answers to the most common questions parents ask about the VFC program on this page. You can also print the abbreviated Q&A flyer in either format to assist with communicating this information.
Q&A for parents: English flyer [1 page]
Programa Vacunas para Niños (VFC): Spanish flyer [1 page]
A: Many parents 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.
A: No. You 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:
- Is your child on Medicaid?
- Does your child have any health insurance coverage? Does the insurance cover vaccines?
- Is your child of American Indian or Alaskan Native heritage?
Many 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.
Q: The vaccines are free, but what if I can't pay for the doctor visit or the vaccine administration fee?
A: Although the VFC vaccines your child may receive are absolutely free of cost, the doctor still has the right to charge a fee for an office visit.
- If your child is on Medicaid, that office visit is paid for by Medicaid.
- If your child is not on Medicaid, you are responsible for making appropriate payment arrangements with your doctor in relation to office visit charges.
Doctors participating in the VFC Program also have the right to charge an administrative fee for giving your child a shot. However, they are required by law to administer the vaccine even if a child cannot afford to pay the administrative fee. This means that the administrative fee, unlike the office visit fee, must be eliminated if you are unable to pay.
A: Yes, absolutely. 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 the recommended catch up schedule for details.
A: 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.
Q: I have specific questions about the shots my child needs and when to get them. Where can I get this information?
A: The best place to start is with your State (or Territory) VFC Program Coordinator who can answer any questions about vaccines and/or recommendations.
Additionally, 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 to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Page last reviewed: December 17, 2014
- Page last updated: August 31, 2012
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