The Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program is a vaccine supply program that allows enrolled health care providers to give 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 policies, forms and resources are listed below, under Provider Responsibilities and in the VFC Program Manual.
Benefits of Enrolling 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
- Offers substantial cost savings to enrolled providers
Before you submit the VFC Enrollment forms, please ensure that your office meets these qualifications. You must:
- Serve VFC-eligible children
- Have appropriate refrigeration and freezer units (check here)
- 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
- Must have an EHR or EMR and the capacity to transmit data via HL7
- Complete all provider enrollment forms
All VFC providers are required to complete VFC enrollment forms annually, due each June.
VFC Eligible Children
VFC screening and documentation must occur at every immunization visit.
Eligible for VFC Vaccine
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:
- Underinsured (FQHC only)
- Native American or Alaska Native
Not Eligible for VFC Vaccine
- CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program)
- Privately-insured children
- Anyone 19 years of age and older
VFC Eligibility Screening Tools
ACIP Child & Adolescent 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.
ACIP Child & Adolescent Immunization Schedules
VFC Fees and 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.
Other VFC Financial Responsibilities
- Do not charge for VFC vaccine.
- Do not 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.
- 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).
Ordering 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 KIDS Plus IIS.
Newly enrolled and trained providers must order VFC vaccine through the KIDS Plus IIS vaccine ordering system.
For providers who are unable to order online, use these paper order forms:
VFC Site Visits
The Philadelphia VFC Program conducts regular 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.
VFC Quality Assurance Site Visits
- VFC/AFIX visits
- Storage and handling visits
- Chart review visits (VFC and Provider-based Outreach)
- Follow-up visits, as needed
More information about these visits can be found in the VFC Program Manual.
Reasons for VFC Suspension
Providers can be suspended from the VFC Program for a variety of program violations. The suspension is not a permanent termination of program privileges, so long as the violations are addressed in a timely manner. Upon suspension, no vaccine will be delivered to the provider until the suspension is lifted.
Reasons for VFC Program Suspension
- Negligence in vaccine storage and handling
- Inability to account for vaccine supplied by VFC
- Improper vaccine administration (not following ACIP recommendations, etc.)
- Transferring vaccine between sites
- Administering VFC vaccine to patients who are not VFC eligible
- Refusal to cooperate with required VFC site visits
- Failure to report administered vaccines to KIDS Plus IIS
Fraud and Abuse
As the cost of childhood vaccines increases and the complexity of immunization programs grows, the VFC Program becomes more vulnerable to fraud and abuse. Therefore, the VFC Program actively works to prevent, identify, investigate, and resolve all cases and suspected cases of fraud and abuse within the VFC Program.
Other VFC Policies
Background of the VFC Program
History of the Vaccines for Children Program
VFC was created by an act of Congress in 1993. This legislation entitles all children to receive ACIP-recommended vaccines. VFC allows the Philadelphia Department of Public Health (PDPH) to offer the vaccines at no charge to enrolled VFC providers. VFC-eligible children are entitled to receive pediatric vaccines that are recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
Philadelphia VFC Program Statistics
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.