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Aug. 18, 2020
This paid piece is sponsored by Sanford Health.
During the pandemic, it is an unfortunate reality that some parents have lost jobs, health insurance and confidence in the safety of seeking care in person.
None of these issues changes the importance of immunizations, however. To that end, the Vaccines for Children program offers a safe and free alternative for qualifying families.
“Families and children who were privately insured previously may not know this program is available,” said Andrea Polkinghorn, Sanford Health immunization strategy leader. “Children stand to benefit who might be uninsured now because parents lost their jobs during the pandemic.”
The program aids children in getting recommended vaccinations. It is available through Sanford Health family medicine and pediatric clinics.
As outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children who are 18 or younger and meet at least one of the following criteria are eligible:
Children are not eligible for VFC vaccines if their health insurance covers the cost of vaccinations.
“The VFC program is federally funded and includes all the routinely recommended vaccines to each state,” Polkinghorn said. “So every vaccine that is recommended — even those outside of school requirements — is available through the VFC program.”
There are more than 44,000 providers enrolled in the Vaccines for Children program nationwide. Locally, Polkinghorn recommends contacting a nearby Sanford Health family or pediatric clinic regarding vaccinations.
July and August typically are busy months for vaccines because school is coming up. However, pandemic concerns lowered normal vaccination rates nationally and within the Midwest this year in comparison to last year.
“We saw a steep decline in the number of vaccines being administered, as well as ordering patterns in comparison to last year,” Polkinghorn said. “But they’re slowly coming back, which is great.”
Lost your job or health coverage? Your kids can still get their vaccinations on schedule.