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Vaccinating During COVID-19
Ensuring the delivery of newborn and well-child care, including childhood immunization, requires different strategies. Healthcare providers in communities affected by COVID-19 are separating well visits from sick visits. Examples include:
- Scheduling well visits in the morning and sick visits in the afternoon
- Separating patients spatially, such as by placing patients with sick visits in different areas of the clinic or another location from patients with well visits.
- Collaborating with providers in the community to identify separate locations for holding well visits for children.
Vaccine Catch-Up Guidance
The CDC has developed catch-up guidance job aids to assist health care providers in interpreting Table 2 in the child and adolescent immunization schedule.
- Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) Catch-Up Guidance for Children 4 Months through 4 Years of Age
- Haemophilus influenzaetype b (Hib)-Containing Vaccines Catch-Up Guidance for Children 4 Months through 4 Years of Age
- Diphtheria-, Tetanus-, and Pertussis-Containing Vaccines Catch-Up Guidance for Children 4 Months through 6 Years of Age
- Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV)
- Tetanus-, Diphtheria-, and Pertussis-Containing Vaccines Catch-Up Guidance for Children 7 through 9 Years of Age
- Tetanus-, Diphtheria-, and Pertussis-Containing Vaccines Catch-Up Guidance for Children 10 through 18 Years of Age
What is VFC?
The Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program is considered one of our nation’s most successful public private partnerships for improving public health. VFC provides enrolled providers with federally purchased vaccine at no cost. Enrolled health care providers then administer these vaccines to eligible children at no out-of-pocket cost. The intent is to remove expense as a barrier from receiving timely immunizations.
VFC was created by an act of Congress in 1993. Through a partnership between the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and vaccine manufacturers, enrolled providers can provide all of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended vaccines for their eligible patients.
As of 2013, about 70% of the children in the city of Philadelphia were eligible for the VFC program. There are currently 145 VFC providers in the Philadelphia Immunization Program.
Looking for a specific VFC document? Click here for our document, files, and forms list.
Who is Eligible for VFC?
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:
- Medicaid-eligible Uninsured
- Under-insured (FQHC only) Native American or Alaska Native
Children who are part of CHIP, privately-insured, or over the 19 are not eligible for VFC. Providers must screen patients for VFC eligibility at every immunization visit.
Why Should My Clinic Enroll in VFC?
By removing financial barriers to immunization for both patients and providers, VFC:
- Facilitates timely and age-appropriate immunizations for children
- Reduces referrals to public clinics for immunizations
- Allows patients to choose where they go for comprehensive care
- Makes it easier to provide high quality care to patients
How Do I Enroll My Clinic in VFC?
Before your clinic can be enrolled in the VFC Program, you’ll need to ensure that your office meets these qualifications:
- Serve VFC-eligible children
- Have appropriate refrigeration and freezer units that can maintain appropriate temperatures for vaccine storage (no dorm style units) Find more information on vaccine storage requirements here
- Have access to the internet to order vaccines online
- Electronically report all administered vaccines to PhilaVax IIS
- Can meet the requirements of the VFC Provider Agreement
If your office meets these qualifications, you’ll complete the enrollment process:
- Complete the electronic enrollment form
- Attend the VFC site visit training
- Submit 7 days of vaccine storage temperature data, showing in range temperatures, before receiving VFC vaccine
All providers enrolled in VFC are required to complete the VFC enrollment form annually, due each June.
What is Required of Enrolled Providers?
Below is an overview of the requirements for enrolled providers. Detailed information about how to meet these requirements can be accessed through the links included below.
Comply with the ACIP Immunization Schedule
The U.S. Recommended Childhood & Adolescent Immunization Schedule indicates the recommended ages for routine administration of currently licensed childhood vaccines for children through age 18 years.
VFC providers must comply with current immunization schedules, dosages, and contraindications as established by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
Enrolled providers are required to maintain a supply of all the ACIP recommended vaccines for the patient population they serve.
Doses not given at the recommended age should be given at any future visit using the catch-up schedule as a guide.
Additional vaccines may be licensed and recommended during the year. Information about these changes will be communicated to enrolled providers on this website and via email.
Take Financial responsibility for the VFC vaccine at your clinic
Even though VFC vaccine is supplied free of charge to enrolled providers, the doses are not provided to the program at no cost. VFC vaccine is purchased from vaccine manufacturers under contract using federal taxpayer dollars. To ensure the continuation of the VFC Program, vaccine wasted through negligence must be replaced on a dose-per-dose basis.
Given the goal of the VFC program to remove financial barriers to vaccination for eligible patients, enrolled providers must adhere to the capped vaccine administration fees for eligible patients. By enrolling in the VFC Program your office agrees to not:
- Charge for VFC vaccine
- Impose a vaccine administration fee higher than the fee cap established by the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which is currently $23.14 per vaccine
- Deny access to federally purchased vaccines to an established patient whose parent is unable to pay the vaccine administration fee
- Charge a vaccine administration fee to non-Medicaid insured VFC-eligible children that exceeds the federal administration fee cap. For Medicaid VFC-eligible children, the provider must accept the reimbursement for vaccination set by the state Medicaid agency or the contracted Medicaid health plans.
Participate in Site Visits
The Philadelphia VFC Program conducts site visits with enrolled provider sites to ensure compliance with VFC Program requirements. Providers should expect a visit from VFC staff at least once per year, but these may occur more frequently. Depending on the type of visit, some preparation may be required of the provider/staff prior to the visit. More information about these visits can be found in the VFC Program Manual Guide (We are in the process of updating this resource. Please check back for an update).
Maintain a supply of vaccines on-hand
Providers enrolled in the VFC Program are responsible for ordering appropriate amounts of vaccine and maintaining proper vaccine inventory. Vaccine needed for a practice is based on the number of VFC-eligible children seen in a practice. The vaccine inventory is tracked by the completion of monthly reconciliations. Reconciliation means keeping track of your vaccine inventory in PhilaVax – documenting vaccine doses that have been administered, returned, or adjusted due to wastage.
Providers are required to order VFC vaccine and document their inventory in the PhilaVax online ordering system. Find more information on maintaining your inventory here.
Separate vaccines by funding source
Private, VFC, and VFAAR vaccine can’t be used interchangeably. Clearly label VFC vaccine to distinguish it from privately purchased vaccine.
When you receive vaccine shipments, label them as you unpack and store them. You can request VFC stickers at no cost from us on our Materials Page.
Store Vaccines & Monitor Temperatures
All VFC vaccines need to be stored in a precise temperature range – some need to be in the fridge and some need to be in the freezer. In addition, all VFC vaccine must be constantly monitored to ensure that correct temperature storage is maintained until it is administered to patients.
Learn more about storing vaccines and maintaining correct temperature ranges on our Storage and Handling Page.
VFC Program Success
Vaccination completed by 24 months of age. Recorded from PhilaVax IIS as of 2/1/19.
2019 Philadelphia Coverage Levels
|3 Hep B||90%|
Vaccination completed by the 13th birthday. Recorded from PhilaVax IIS as of 2/1/19.
|Vaccine||2019 Philadelphia Coverage Levels|
|3 Hep B||84%|
|2 Hep A||89%|
VFC Documents, Files, & Forms