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North Carolina Immunization Branch

North Carolina Immunization Program (NCIP)

The North Carolina Immunization Program (NCIP) works in conjunction with the federal vaccine supply program, called the Vaccines for Children external link (VFC) program.  The VFC program is a federal initiative created to help families of children who may not otherwise have access to vaccines by providing free vaccines to doctors who serve them.

The VFC program:

  • Provides federally purchased vaccine, for eligible children, at no charge to public and private providers;
  • Automatically covers vaccines recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), established by resolution and approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC);
  • Saves parents and enrolled providers out-of-pocket expenses for vaccine purchases; and
  • Reduces or eliminates vaccine cost as a barrier to vaccination of eligible children.

Children through 18 years of age that meet at least one of the following criteria are eligible for VFC vaccine:

  • Medicaid enrolled - a child who is eligible or enrolled in the Medicaid program.
  • Uninsured - a child who has no medical insurance coverage.
  • American Indian or Alaskan Native
  • Underinsured - (Vaccines are available at FQHCs, RHCs, LHDs and through some private providers)
    • children who have commercial (private) health insurance but the coverage does not include vaccines,
    • children whose insurance covers only selected vaccines (VFC-eligible for non-covered vaccines only), or
    • children whose insurance caps vaccine coverage at a certain amount - once that coverage amount is reached, these children are categorized as underinsured.

Funds for the VFC program are transferred every year from the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) to the CDC and awarded to the North Carolina Immunization Program. About 90 percent of these funds are used for the purchase of childhood vaccines. The remaining funds are used by the NCIP for program operational activities such as provider enrollment, program evaluation, and vaccine accountability activities.

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