ATLANTA – An advisory panel of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will meet Wednesday to discuss and vote on the addition of COVID-19 services to the Vaccines for Children (VFC) Program, and later vote Thursday to add COVID-19 to the lists of recommended vaccinations for kids and adults, according to CDC meeting notes and Regulations.gov.
Tuesday on Twitter, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo stated that regardless of what the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) decides, “nothing changes in FL.”
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“Regardless of what @CDCgov votes tomorrow on whether COVID-19 vax are added to routine child immunizations - nothing changes in FL,” Ladapo wrote. “Thanks to @GovRonDeSantis, COVID mandates are NOT allowed in FL, NOT pushed into schools, & I continue to recommend against them for healthy kids.”
Ladapo described the VFC program as “routine child immunizations” in the post, stating “COVID mandates are not allowed in FL.”
VFC programs are not mandatory; they are instead characterized as entitlement programs in which one must be eligible and enrolled, and Florida has one, too.
According to FloridaHealth.gov, the state sees theirs as a “valuable program (that) allows providers to make routine immunizations available to eligible children without out-of-pocket expenses to the parent/guardian.”
Regardless of what @CDCgov votes tomorrow on whether COVID-19 vax are added to routine child immunizations - nothing changes in FL.— Joseph A. Ladapo, MD, PhD (@FLSurgeonGen) October 18, 2022
Thanks to @GovRonDeSantis, COVID mandates are NOT allowed in FL, NOT pushed into schools, & I continue to recommend against them for healthy kids.
The federal VFC program provides vaccines at no cost to children for whom lack of funding is an obstacle for routine immunizations, according to the CDC. The ACIP meets three times per year — in part to make recommendations on new vaccines to add to the federally-funded VFC program — and COVID-19 vaccines are up next for discussion.
The following benefits of the Florida VFC Program echo its federal umbrella, listed as follows on FloridaHealth.gov:
- Reduces vaccine cost as a barrier to vaccinating VFC Program-eligible children at the right time with the right vaccine.
- Provides children with necessary vaccines, regardless of their parents’ financial status.
- Eliminates the need to refer children to public clinics for vaccinations and risk loss of continuity of care.
- Continues or maintains the provider’s present system of purchasing vaccines for private-paying patients. Participation in the VFC Program does not impact private vaccine purchase.
Through state VFC programs, providers are allowed to “charge a vaccine administration fee up to the regional maximum established for each state,” and while providers enrolled in the COVID-19 Vaccination Program are required to sign their agreements and such with the CDC, those enrolled in a VFC program have to sign state and local immunization program documents.
See more of the noted similarities and differences between the VFC and the COVID-19 Vaccine Program on the CDC’s website.
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