(NewsUSA) - The federally funded program provides no-cost vaccines to eligible children
Vaccines are one of the most effective ways to help protect children from certain serious and potentially deadly diseases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Unfortunately, many children in the United States are not up-to-date on the vaccines for which they are eligible. This puts them – and the children around them – at increased risk of infection.
Many children may not be fully vaccinated because of cost or because they lack access to health care services. Vaccines for Children (VFC) is a federally funded program through the CDC that makes vaccines available at no cost to eligible children up to 18 years of age through a network of health care providers across the United States. The VFC program helps ensure that all children have a better chance of getting their recommended vaccinations on schedule.
“A vaccine works best when everyone in the community has the confidence to be vaccinated,” according to the conveners of the COVID-19 Vaccine Education and Equity Project, a coalition providing education and raising awareness about the importance of vaccines and promoting conversations to ensure equitable access to vaccines for all. “When you vaccinate, you’re protecting yourself as well as those in your family and your community.”
Children are eligible for the VFC program if they are 18 years old or younger and qualify for Medicaid, are uninsured or underinsured, or are American Indian or Alaska Native. Approved, available vaccines protect babies, young children, and adolescents from preventable diseases including measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, flu, pneumococcal disease, polio, hepatitis A and B, whooping cough, and, most recently, COVID-19.
Many doctors and nurses across the United States are enrolled in the VFC program and can provide vaccines, including COVID-19 vaccines, to children at no cost. If your child does not have a doctor, ask your local public health department about access to vaccines through the VFC program. Community health centers and rural health clinics may also be VFC providers.