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No Child Left Behind: Vaccines for Children Program

Vaccines provide a stable, safe solution to dozens of diseases that ravage children across the world. Although the U.S. is fortunate in its access to such important drugs, nearly 24 million kids across the globe are unable to receive life-saving inoculations. In fact, there are even people here, in our own country, that can’t afford the cost, forcing parents to forgo the vaccinations of their children. To combat this trend, the CDC created the Vaccines For Children (VFC) program.

With over 40,000 health care providers through the nationwide network, the VFC guarantees that families with low incomes or no insurance can still get the vital vaccines administered to their children since they’re at the most risk. By ensuring kids get vaccinated on time, the program states its dedication to healthier children, families, and communities.

Eligibility depends on fulfilling at least one of the following: the child is American Indian or Alaska Native, Medicaid-eligible, uninsured, or underinsured. If a family is underinsured, it means they have healthcare but not that which covers vaccinations. Additionally, all children must be 18 years or younger.

The benefits of VFC surround its no-cost guarantee: if your child qualifies for the program, you pay nothing and they get the vaccinations they need — simple as that. However, there may be a caveat depending on the provider you visit; while there is no charge for the vaccine itself, some offices will charge for the act of giving a shot, the office visit itself, or other non-vaccine services (like an eye exam or blood test).

The VFC program protects children from 16 diseases; however, the efficacy of these vaccines depends solely on their storage. Certain vaccines need certain temperature controls, as they contain  live viruses — keeping frozen vaccines in a medical refrigerator freezer or laboratory freezer, and refrigerated vaccines in medical grade refrigerators or scientific refrigerators are vital to their ability to help protect children. Considering the fact that pharmacies frequently offer influenza vaccines, they need their own pharmaceutical refrigerators and pharmaceutical freezers. If the ideal temperature could be consistently maintained in all medical refrigerator freezers throughout the world, vaccine wastage would be minimal and many more people would have access to the life-saving inoculations.

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