What is VFC?
The Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program allows enrolled health care providers to give free immunizations to eligible children. The intent is to remove cost as a barrier from receiving timely immunizations. VFC is considered one of our nation’s most successful public-private partnerships for improving public health.
VFC was created by an act of Congress in 1993. This legislation entitles all children to receive Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended vaccines. VFC allows the Philadelphia Department of Publich Health (PDPH) to offer the vaccines at no charge to enrolled VFC providers.
As of 2013, about 70% of the children in the city of Philadelphia were eligible for the VFC program. There are currently 201 VFC providers in the Philadelphia Immunization Program. PDPH employs 3 full-time nurses and 4 vaccine specialists who oversee the administration of the VFC program in Philadelphia.
Looking for a specific VFC document? Click here for our document, files, and forms list.
Why Should I 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
- Facilitates children’s return to a medical home for comprehensive care
- Generate reminder/recall reports for your practice
- Offers substantial cost saving to enrolled providers
Who is Eligibile 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:
- 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 at every immunization visit.
How Does VFC Work?
Before you submit the VFC Enrollment forms, please ensure that your office meets theses qualifications. All VFC providers are required to complete VFC enrollment forms annually, due each June.
- Serve VFC-eligible children
- Have appropriate refrigeration and freezer units (no dorm style units)
- Be able to record vaccine storage temperatures twice a day
- Submit 2 weeks of vaccine storage temperature records before receiving VFC vaccine
- Have access to the Internet to order vaccines online
- Electronically report all administered vaccines to KIDS Plus IIS
- Provider Enrollment Forms
Compliance with ACIP Immunization Schedules
VFC providers must comply with current immunization schedules, dosages and contraindications as established by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
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.
All ACIP recommended vaccines for a provider’s patient population must be kept in supply and made available to eligible patients.
Doses not given at the recommended age should be given at any future visit when indicated and feasible.
Additional vaccines may be licensed and recommended during the year.
Fees & Finance
Even though VFC vaccine is supplied free of charge to enrolled providers, it does not come without cost to the Philadelphia VFC Program. VFC vaccine is purchased from manufacturers under contract using federal taxpayer dollars, which is why the VFC Program must strictly enforce its policy of holding providers financially responsible for vaccine wasted through negligence.
- Do not charge for VFC vaccine
- Do not impose a vaccine administration free 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.
- Do not deny immunization services to any VFC eligible child even if the parent or guardian is unable to pay the administration fee (applies to non-Medicaid eligible).
The Philadelphia VFC Program conducts reular site visits of enrolled provider sites to ensure compliance with VFC Program requirements. Providers should expect a site visit 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.
How Do I Order VFC Vaccine?
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 as reported on the Medical Practice Profile and validated by PhilaVax.
Newly enrolled and trained providers must order VFC vaccine through the PhilaVax ordering system. Find more information on the systems here.
Providers who are unable to order online, use these paper order forms:
How Do I Manage My Vaccines?
When vaccines are shipped to your clinic, you must mark them received in PhilaVax, and you must immediately store them appropriately. All staff who accept packages should know the importance of immediately storing vaccine, and know who your offices Vaccine Coordinator is.
When you receive a shipment from McKesson or Merck, immediately check the 3M MonitorMark Time Temperature Indicator, TransTracker C FREEZEmarker Indicator and/or ColdMark Freeze Indicator. These will show if the vaccine has maintained proper temperature during shipment.
For additional instructions, see our Accepting Shipments Guide.
Private, VFC, and VFAAR vaccine can’t be used interchangeably – and we’ll verify this during our quality assurance visits to your site.
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.
Storing Vaccines & Monitoring 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 for correct temperature storage.
Learn more about storing vaccines and maintaining correct temperature ranges on our Temp Check page or within our Complete Storage and Handling Guide.
Managing Vaccine Inventory
Reconciliation means keeping track of your vaccine inventory in PhilaVax – documenting vaccine doses that have been administered, returned, or adjusted due to wastage. You must complete returns or adjustments before your reconciliation; and, you must complete a reconciliation before you can order more vaccine.
VFC Program Successes!
Vaccination completed by 24 months of age. Recorded from PhilaVax IIS as of 2/1/19.
|Vaccine||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%|