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. The CDC buys vaccines at a discount and distributes them to public health agencies—which in turn distribute them at no charge to private physicians’ offices registered as VFC providers. Children who are eligible for VFC vaccines are entitled to receive those vaccines recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
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.
A 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
Children whose health insurance covers the cost of vaccinations are not eligible for VFC vaccines, even when a claim for the cost of the vaccine and its administration would be denied for payment by the insurance carrier because the plan’s deductible had not been met.
*Underinsured means the 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, a 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. To locate an FQHC or RHC, contact our VFC coordinator, Cari Hammond, by email or by phone at (509) 886-6400.