The Pennsylvania Department of Health's Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program provides vaccines to children who do not have health insurance. Children who are insured but whose insurance does not cover immunizations (underinsured) are also eligible to receive federally funded vaccines at public sites, including Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics. The goal of this federally funded program is to improve vaccine availability nationwide by providing vaccines at no cost to VFC-eligible children through public and private providers enrolled in the program. The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of 1993 created the VFC Program. Pennsylvania began its VFC Program in October 1994.
The VFC Program provides federally purchased vaccines at no cost to enrolled public and private health care providers for immunizing eligible children.
Children through 18 years of age who meet at least one of the following criteria are eligible to receive VFC vaccine:
- Medicaid eligible: a child who is eligible for the Medicaid program. (For the purposes of the VFC Program the terms Medicaid-eligible and Medicaid-enrolled are equivalent and refer to children who have health insurance covered by a state Medicaid program)
- Uninsured: a child who has no health insurance coverage
- American Indian or Alaska Native: as defined by the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (25 U.S.C. 1603)
- Underinsured: a child who has private health insurance that does not cover vaccines, a child whose health insurance only covers certain vaccines (VFC-eligible for non-covered vaccines only), or a child whose health insurance covers vaccines but has a fixed dollar limit or cap (once the fixed dollar/cap is reached, the child is VFC eligible).
Underinsured children are eligible to receive VFC vaccine only through a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) or Rural Health Clinic (RHC).
Please contact the Pennsylvania Department of Health at 1-877-PA HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) to find a VFC provider in your area.
The VFC Program removes vaccine cost as a barrier to immunization for eligible children, reduces referrals of children to public clinics for immunization, and facilitates their return to their private medical home for comprehensive care. The program provides a source of funding for a large percentage of our nation's children and promotes implementation of new vaccines recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The VFC Program saves parents and enrolled providers more than $1,051.06 per child in out-of-pocket vaccine expenses.
The VFC Program also saves state funds. Prior to VFC, private physicians in Pennsylvania purchased vaccines for Medicaid-eligible children at private market prices and passed these costs on to the state. Now, vaccines are purchased at the lower federal contract price and are distributed to private providers for administration to VFC-eligible children. The VFC Program represents an unprecedented approach to combine the efforts of public and health are providers to help accomplish and sustain vaccine coverage goals for both today and tomorrow. For more information about the VFC Program, visit CDC's VFC website.
To enroll as a provider in the PA VFC Program, contact 1-888-646-6864.
Philadelphia County only, visit the Philadelphia Immunization Program website for more information.