ADPH statement on ACIP panel vote to include COVID-19 vaccine as part of the Vaccines for Children program

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is aware of yesterday’s vote by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) that COVID-19 vaccine be part of the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. The ACIP’s vote to include COVID-19 in VFC is the mechanism to ensure that, when COVID-19 vaccine is no longer provided free by the federal government, uninsured and underinsured children can have access to the vaccine without charge. Including COVID-19 vaccine under VFC is not a mandate for children to take the vaccine.

VFC is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children who might not otherwise be vaccinated due to inability to pay. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) buys vaccine at a discounted rate for distribution to registered VFC providers. Many physicians in Alabama are VFC providers so that their patients can receive recommended vaccines. Children who are eligible for VFC vaccines are entitled to receive the same ACIP recommended vaccines as any other child.

Vaccines required for a Certificate of Immunization for K-12 in Alabama are diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella (chickenpox). Children attending preschool are also required to have Haemophilis influenzae type B (Hib) and pneumococcal vaccines. ADPH allows medical exemptions and religious exemptions in accordance with the Rules below. ADPH does not have vaccine requirements for college age or other groups.