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Immunization Policy

In the United States, the federal government plays a variety of roles in immunization programs.

Although vaccines are made by private companies and immunization policies are set individually by every state, various agencies of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have roles in regulating vaccine production, purchasing vaccines and making them available to states.

The federal government makes recommendations for states to consider in setting immunization policies, such as requirements for school and day care enrollment. The federal government also ensures the sufficiency of the nation?s vaccine supply.

This section includes information about how vaccines are licensed, financed and recommended among other immunization policy topics.

  • National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP)

    The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program compensates people who are determined to have been injured by vaccines. How does the VICP work?
  • Vaccine Supply and Shortages

    Safe and effective vaccines are central to the prevention and control of communicable diseases. As a consequence, any shortage of vaccine places children and adults at risk for vaccine-preventable diseases.
  • Vaccine Economics

    Public health officials often consider the expense and value of a healthcare intervention—such as a new vaccine—in terms of its value to society. That is, all costs and benefits, regardless as to who pays the costs and who obtains the benefit. This article explains how economic tools are applied to vaccines and immunizations.
  • Immunization Registries

    Immunization registries are confidential, computerized information systems that contain information about immunizations and children from a particular geographical area. They facilitate high immunization coverage rates and minimize children being over immunized.
  • Indications, Recommendations and Immunization Mandates

    The development of vaccine schedules and recommendations is a complex process. Here we answer some of the most common questions regarding indications, recommendations and laws for vaccine use.
  • Financing Immunizations

    Vaccine development and manufacture today entail high costs, making some vaccines expensive. How are the Federal and State governments in the US financing immunizations so they can be available to the public?
  • Exemptions from Immunization Laws

    Currently, all 50 US states have school immunization laws. However, in most states vaccination exemptions are allowed for medical, religious or philosophical reasons.
  • Orphan Vaccines

    When a vaccine is likely to be targeted to a limited number of individuals in the US—such as those suffering from a rare disease—it is called an “orphan vaccine”. Are there any orphan vaccines licensed in the US?
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