Texas has participated in the Federal Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program since its beginning in 1994. The Texan version of VFC was named as Texas Vaccines for Children Program, or TVFC. The program started in Texas with the passage of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, a legislation that assured that vaccines would be available at no cost to providers, so that children who meet the eligibility requirements could be immunized.
Currently, more than 6,500 Texas providers are enrolled in the Texas Vaccines for Children Program. The state leads the U.S. in the number of uninsured and underinsured children, and there are also over 3 million Texan children on Medicaid (FFY 2009). Many of these children are not receiving the immunizations required to protect them from vaccine-preventable diseases.
It is also important to note that families who are currently paying for vaccinations may be eligible for the Texas Vaccines for Children Program.
Which children are eligible for TVFC?
Under the TFVC Program, the following groups of children are eligible to receive their vaccines for free through the Texas Vaccines for Children program if they meet at least one of the following criteria:
- uninsured or underinsured children,
- children who are covered by CHIP,
- children who are of Native American or Native Alaskan heritage, and
- children on Medicaid.
Children whose health insurance covers the cost of vaccinations are not eligible for VFC vaccines, even when a claim for the cost of the vaccine and its administration would be denied for payment by the insurance carrier because the plan’s deductible had not been met.
How does TVFC work?
The process is quite simple: applicants must fill out the Provider Enrollment and Provider Profile forms (you can download them below), agree to screen for eligibility, and agree to maintain screening records. The vaccine is ordered through regional state offices. A TVFC provider is allowed to charge a reasonable administration fee, but it may not charge for the vaccine itself, after all vaccines are supplied to the provider at no cost.
Download the Texas Vaccines For Children Program Provider Enrollment and Provider Profile forms here:
One of the most important benefits of being a TVFC provider is removing barriers to immunizations. For instance, there is no longer the need to refer an uninsured child to a public health center for immunizations. 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 vaccine, $23.40 is saved in direct and indirect costs. Also, since the vaccine contracts are negotiated at a federal level, the lowest possible price and a standardized cost are ensured.
Which diseases are prevented by Texas Vaccines for Children?
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).
Diseases preventable by recommended childhood vaccines include: Diphtheria, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Human Papillomavirus (HPV), Influenza (flu), Measles, Meningococcal, Mumps, Pertussis (whooping cough), Pneumococcal, Polio, Rotavirus, Rubella (German Measles), Tetanus (lockjaw), and Varicella (chickenpox).
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