This year marks the 20th Anniversary of passage of the legislation that created the Vaccines for Children Program (VFC), one of the nation’s most successful public-private partnerships for improving public health. This national program helps provide vaccines to children whose parents or guardians may not be able to afford them, and helps many more children have a better chance of getting their vaccines according to the recommended immunization schedule, protecting babies, children and adolescents from 16 serious diseases including measles, mumps, whooping cough, chickenpox, flu and diphtheria.
In 1989 - 1991, a measles epidemic in the United States resulted in tens of thousands of cases of measles and hundreds of deaths. Upon investigation, CDC found that more than half of the children who had measles had not been immunized, even though many of them had seen a health care provider. In partial response to that epidemic, Congress included the creation of the Vaccines for Children Program in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of 1993, which passed on August 10, 1993.
VFC became operational October 1, 1994. Funding for the VFC program is approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and allocated through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC buys vaccines at a discount and distributes them to enrolled VFC providers at no charge. Nationwide, there are more than 44,000 doctors enrolled in the VFC Program. Each state's VFC Coordinator can provide a list of doctors enrolled in the VFC Program.
Other places that provide vaccinations are:
The VFC program has contributed directly to a substantial increase in childhood immunization coverage levels and has made a significant contribution to the elimination of disparities in vaccination coverage among young children. These improvements in childhood immunization coverage have, in turn, led to the lowest vaccine-preventable disease incidence ever recorded.
Today, nearly 20 years later, the VFC program continues to play a vital role in protecting our nation’s health by sustaining high childhood immunization coverage levels to ensure vaccine-preventable disease incidence remains low.
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