Since its inception in 1994, Texas has participated in the Federal Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program. Our version is called the Texas Vaccines for Children Program, or TVFC. The Program was initiated by the passage of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993. This legislation guaranteed that vaccines would be available at no cost to providers, in order to immunize children who meet the eligibility requirements.
Today there are more than 6500 Texas providers enrolled in TVFC. Texas leads the nation in the number of uninsured and underinsured children. We also have over 3 million Texas children, 0-18 years, on Medicaid (FFY 2009). Many of these children are not receiving the complete series of immunizations required to protect them from vaccine-preventable diseases. Under the TFVC Program, the following groups of children should be receiving their vaccines for free:
- uninsured or underinsured children,
- children who are covered by CHIP,
- children who are of Native American or Native Alaskan heritage, and
- children on Medicaid.
In order to ensure the health and future of the children of Texas, we need your help. If you are not enrolled in the TVFC Program, please consider enrolling.
It is a simple process:
- fill out the Provider Enrollment and Provider Profile forms.
- agree to screen for eligibility, and
- agree to maintain screening records.
Vaccine is ordered through regional state offices. A TVFC provider may not charge for the vaccine itself, but is permitted to charge a reasonable administration fee.
There are innumerable benefits to being a TVFC provider, to the families in your practice, and to the people of Texas. One of the most important benefits is removing barriers to immunizations. For instance, you will no longer have to refer an uninsured child to a public health center for immunizations. TVFC removes the worry of the financial cost of vaccines, thereby removing the reason to refer clients. The child is then kept in their "medical home", which is a benefit to the provider and client.
There are cost savings of immunizing versus treatment for diseases to taxpayers. For example, for every dollar spent on DTaP, $23.40 is saved in direct and indirect costs. Also, because the vaccine contracts are negotiated at a federal level, the lowest possible price and a standardized cost are ensured. Of course, we also benefit by maintaining a high level of immunity in our communities. Families who are currently paying for vaccinations may be TVFC eligible. Vaccines are supplied to the provider at no cost.
The TVFC Program does not tell enrolled providers whom they must see, or dictates that they accept Medicaid clients. Providers continue to serve the same populations they have always served. Except now, through enrollment in the TVFC, more children will be receiving their complete series of immunizations. TVFC automatically covers all vaccines recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
A fully immunized society is necessary to reach optimum eradication of vaccine-preventable infectious disease. With your help, we can reach these goals leading to a healthier Texas.
Please feel free to contact the nearest public health regional office or a TVFC/AFIX Consultant at 512.458.7284, or toll-free at 800.252.9152.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Vaccines for Children Program