Michigan Vaccines for Children Program Help Ease the Cost of Immunizing Children

Contact: James McCurtis (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

March 18, 2009

LANSING - With the recent news that Michigan's unemployment rate has hit 11.6 percent, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is reminding residents that the Vaccines for Children program can assist families who are in need of affordable immunizations for their children.

"Many families are having a difficult time and the Michigan Vaccines for Children program can help families receive needed vaccines for their children," said MDCH Director Janet Olszewski. "I want to encourage Michigan residents to find out more about this valuable program."

Parents are encouraged to ask their family physician about the VFC program or to contact their local health department for more information. If parents have medical insurance that does not cover vaccines for their children or adolescents, they may be able to receive vaccines through the VFC program.

Under the VFC program, physicians cannot charge parents for vaccines, but parents may be asked to pay a small fee to the doctor for giving the vaccines. Parents should talk with their doctor or nurse if they cannot afford the fee.

The VFC program provides vaccines to eligible children and adolescents. Doctors and clinics administer vaccines to children who qualify and the government pays for the immunization. Children from birth through 18 years of age can receive the VFC benefit if they are: 1) on Medicaid; 2) eligible for Medicaid; 3) American Indian or Alaskan Native; 4) are under-insured or do not have health insurance.

"It's very important for parents to make sure their children are up-to-date on their immunizations," said Dr. Greg Holzman, chief medical executive for MDCH. "Each year, hundreds of children in Michigan become ill from diseases that could have been prevented. Childhood immunizations are one of the best ways for parents to protect their child against vaccine-preventable diseases."

Parents of eligible children may be able to obtain VFC vaccine at their child's health care provider. If the provider does not have VFC vaccine, parents can go to their local health department, community or rural health center. For more information about the VFC program, parents can call their health care provider, their local health department or 1-888-76-SHOTS.

For additional information about places with low cost or free health care, or help with health insurance, please visit www.michigan.gov/healthcarehelp.