The VFC program is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children who might not otherwise be vaccinated because of inability to pay. VFC was created by the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 as a new entitlement program to be a required part of each state's Medicaid plan. The program was officially implemented in October 1994.
Funding for the VFC program is approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and allocated through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC purchases vaccines at a discount and distributes them to awardees—i.e., state health departments and certain local and territorial public health agencies—who in turn distribute the vaccine at no charge to those private physicians' offices and public health clinics registered as VFC providers.
Children who are eligible for VFC vaccines are entitled to receive pediatric vaccines that are recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
The CNMI Immunization Program is the awardee of the Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program and encompasses the three inhabited islands. The CNMI Immunization Program is a program under the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation, Division of Public Health Services, Communicable Disease Bureau. There are Immunization Program Clinics located on each of the three islands (Saipan, Tinian, and Rota).
VFC Eligibility Categories
Children through 18 years of age who meet at least one of the following criteria are eligible to receive VFC vaccine(s):
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 used interchangeably 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 (AI/AN): As defined by the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (25 U.S.C. 1603).
- A child who has health insurance, but the coverage does not include vaccines, or
- A child whose insurance does not cover all Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) - recommended vaccines. The child would be eligible to receive those vaccines not covered by the insurance.
Please note: Underinsured children are eligible to receive VFC vaccine only through a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) or Rural Health Clinic (RHC), or under an approved deputization agreement.